4 Stars

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Kate Sander

Force is the second installment of Kate Sander’s science fiction series, The Zoya Chronicles. Senka is on another mission for the Zoya Task Force, but she’s still haunted by her tragic past. Nearby, fifteen-year-olds Isaac and Kelly have been kidnapped, doomed to be sold like livestock into unspeakable horror. In The Other Place, a new mad king has usurped the throne, but the dissent of his people is breeding revolution. Tory is on a quest to find her estranged father, but what she discovers will change everything she thought she knew. Meanwhile, all of these people are intertwined in ways they don’t yet realize, and Dr. Charlie Penner’s scientific breakthrough has catastrophic implications for all of them.

Although entertaining, Force does not function well as a standalone novel. It regularly refers to events from the first book in the series, Pulse, which could lead to confusion for new readers. Although, this book may lead to confusion regardless of whether the first book has been read or not. The inclusion of alternate dimensions or timelines can be difficult to follow, and the frequent dropping of storylines to focus on others for large portions of the book is frustrating. There’s a lot going on in this book – perhaps too much.

Despite its moments of confusion, Force is incredibly captivating. Its characters and plot are intriguing and complex, with plenty of fascinating twists and turns along the way. Force is a page-turner from the very beginning, full of action and suspense, with a cliffhanger ending guaranteed to leave readers wanting more. Kate Sander has masterfully crafted a creative, exciting, mesmerizing world in The Zoya Chronicles; Force not only contributes to this fantastic series, but raises the bar higher than ever for its pending sequels.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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