Book Review: Saven: Deception by @SiobhanDavis


Title: Saven: Deception

Series: Book One of the Saven Novels

Author: Siobhan Davis

Published Date: December 23rd, 2015

Audience: YA

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian


Blurb from Good Reads:

THE TRUTH DOESN'T ALWAYS SET YOU FREE

I’ve fallen hard for an alien, but he’s harboring secrets.
Massive secrets that threaten the very essence of humanity.
How can I give him my heart when his race plans on taking my future?

Sadie Owens has been slowly dying inside. Bit by bit, piece by piece, day by day. Trapped in a life she hates, she relies on only one person—herself.

Despised by her family and betrayed by an unscrupulous government, Sadie dreams of a different life. When she is chosen to participate in the government’s new social experiment, she is ecstatic at the prospect of spending six months in Thalassic City, the shiny new city under the sea.

Immediately drawn to Logan Chandler, Sadie is captivated by the beautiful boy with the ocean-blue eyes. Logan seems to embody everything that has been forbidden, but he isn’t all he appears to be.

Confused over Logan’s true intentions and concerned when best friend Jenna starts transforming in front of her eyes, Sadie partners with newcomer Jarod in a bid to uncover the government’s real agenda. The truth is more shocking than anything she could ever have imagined.

When Sadie finally understands why the Saven walk among us, will it be too late to save her heart and the human race?


My Review:

Saven: Deception has the makings of a great Sci-Fi novel – corrupt government, aliens, abductions, mystery, but all of that is overshadowed by the romance (I know, I can’t believe I just said that either). A romance, I might add that was just too weird, but I’ll get on that more later.

I’m going to start with the world building – fantastic. A good dystopian pulls issues from modern society and exaggerates them to their extremes. In the case of Saven: Deception, Davis takes our modern social-class issues and amplifies them to where the inner circle/ bullion's (upper class) have freedoms and luxuries while the outer circle/ stars (lower class) are oppressed in the most extreme measures bordering on slavery. The underwater city was so creative, but I felt that the story could have been better if Sadie were more keen to discover its secrets before the romance began.

“There are so many things about this new life I don’t understand, except for the acknowledgement that fear goes hand in hand with ignorance.” – Saven: Deception, Siobhan Davis

Davis’ pacing was excellent and I enjoyed how we – the reader – are given nuggets of information throughout the story, leaving you begging to know what’s happening beyond the romantic drama between Sadie and Logan.

Throughout the first 1/3 of the book, I was wondering when the aliens who were featured in the prologue going to come into play - I would have known if I had re-read the blurb before reading, but I'm going to consider my mistake a perk. The beginning, was mostly world building and character building for the main character, Sadie. It took a while for the real reason the aliens were among us to come to light (other than hooking up and making the main character fall in love you them). But, when they did show up, it was fare more interesting than I imagined. From what little is known, the Saven are an fascinating race and their reasons/ actions are equally horrendous and logical (for them not us). I’m not sure about certain things and I hope the following books will explain more.

If you read the book, you'll see what I did here. :D

If you read the book, you'll see what I did here. :D

Sadie, like her romance arc, is a product of two extremes. In the beginning of the story she’s totally reserved and a bit of a doormat, which I totally believe due to her environment and family dynamics. I also believe that a girl like Sadie would jump at any chance to leave her home and experience life and while on this new adventurous path, decide to become a better version of herself. What I didn’t believe about this was the way Sadie’s character arc progressed once she was settle in her new environment, the change was instantaneous. There was no naturally progression of Sadie’s personality evolution (except maybe one or two internal dialogue moments).

I think it was that dramatic change that turned me off to Sadie. Not that I hated who she was before or after the big personality switch-a-roo, but it just didn’t seem real to me. That change coupled with her tendency to be a little dramatic when it came to Logan…

“I was right all along. No one like him would ever be interested in someone like me despite the relaxation of the laws. It was more than naïve to allow myself to wallow in the dream: it was destructive on a massive scale.” – Saven: Deception, Siobhan Davis

… and this little nugget that I just couldn’t swallow…

“I’ve never vomited before.” I’m not sure why I felt the need to explain that. “It’s an experience I’d rather not repeat.” – Saven: Deception, Siobhan Davis

… added together just made her hard for me to really connect with. I mean, who has NEVER thrown up before? NEVER? In all your 17 years of life? Beyond her faults, Sadie is a strong female heroine who is loyal to her friends. She has strength of mind and character which pushes her to better herself beyond the lot she’s given in life. When she’s not blinded by love/lust, she’s intelligent and clever. I hope those traits are highlighted as her story continues.

Then there is Logan. Let me start off by saying that I feel like he was a very real character to me, especially after his history was revealed and I liked him as a main character – although, I don’t like him as a love interest for Sadie. He started off sweet and a little sappy and then drama happens and he’s a jerk. More drama and he’s sweet. More drama and he’s a jerk again. Then surprise, surprise he’s sweet again.

“I’ve never let any guy in. You’re the first one I even dared to like. But you play with my feelings like they aren’t real.” – Saven: Deception, Siobhan Davis

I get his reasons. They’re good ones, I suppose, but he just comes off as domineering and disrespectful to Sadie. IE: boxing her in, grabbing her and forcing her to talk to him. That’s taking the alpha male romantic trope too far and tip-toeing into creepsville, but it’s all cool in Sadie’s mind because he smells good and their connection is too irresistible.

Which brings me to the romance… I adore first loves. ADORE THEM. Especially the ones with major chemistry - they are always wild, unpredictable, and all-encompassing. One never forgets them. That is why I totally believe Sadie’s emotional roller-coaster when it comes to Logan. Honestly, everything about how she reacts to Logan is spot on until they’re in close proximity. That is when she completely loses her mind, becoming a slave to an aggressive physical and emotional attraction that takes away her free-will and I find it a little appalling.

**** SPOILERS AHEAD ****

Davis explains this attraction as them being Eterno or soulmates and although I’m a firm believer in soul mates myself – I don’t approve of the notion that having one automatically makes you so attractive and irresistible that you can ignore negative personality traits or for the attraction to be so over powerful that you feel compelled to do whatever the other says. That is my BIG issue with the romance in Saven: Deception.

**** SPOILERS ENDED ****

Anyway...

The side characters are great from what little is learned about them. The only one I felt any real connection to was Jarod who - as a result - was my favorite, but I think he would have been even if the others were more developed. He had a complex story that was far more interesting than any of the others. I hope in the coming books, there will be more backstory and depth to the others.

Going back and re-reading my review, it kind of sounds like I hated it, but I really didn’t. The story has a great concept with great writing and pacing. There were plenty of twists to keep me interested beyond the love story and a cliffhanger ending that made me say “What the crap?” in a good way. I will have to read the next one because I don’t like when there are BIG loose ends to a story – especially when the poo hits the fan.

Net Galley provided a copy of The Spaceship Next Door in exchange for an honest review.