Published by HarperTeen on February 24, 2015
Unleashed, the romantic, high-stakes sequel to New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan's Uninvited, is perfect for fans of James Patterson's Confessions of a Murder Suspect.
Davy has spent the last few months trying to come to terms with the fact that she tested positive for the kill gene HTS (also known as Homicidal Tendency Syndrome). She swore she would not let it change her, and that her DNA did not define her . . . but then she killed a man.
Now on the run, Davy must decide whether she'll be ruled by the kill gene or if she'll follow her heart and fight for her right to live free. But with her own potential for violence lying right beneath the surface, Davy doesn't even know if she can trust herself.
Shortly before I started reading Unleashed, the second book in Sophie Jordan’s duology, I read a review on Goodreads in which the reviewer wrote that while she enjoyed this book, she missed the absence of the romance from the first book. Well, that sounded great to me, because I thought the romance between Davy and Sean was the weakest part of the story. In my review of Uninvited, I wrote this about the romance: “The worst part of this was that Davy, who had started to show the first signs of blossoming from her sheltered life, suddenly became a helpless damsel in distress. She was victimized by numerous awful men in numerous awful situations, and every time, Sean swooped in out of nowhere like Batman to rescue her.” So, I was excited at the idea that we might get to know Davy on her own, without a guy having to save her every couple of pages, but guess what? That didn’t happen. The reviewer was correct that Sean was missing from most of this book, but what I didn’t realize is that a new guy would show up to fill that same role, and Davy was as weak as ever.
It started off promisingly enough. Davy, Sean, and their friends hatch a plan to escape to Mexico, where they will be safe from U.S. government officials trying to imprison them due to a defect in their genes that makes them prone to violence. During the escape attempt, Davy is shot, and she gets separated from her friends. She’s near death and close to capture, and that was the cue for a brand new guy to jump in to save the day. He’s Caden, he’s hot, and he’s part of a resistance movement helping to shelter Americans with the gene defect and to get them to Mexico.
Davy quickly runs afoul of the resistance members. Some of them believe she’s a spy (for no discernible reason,) and at least one of the other girls hates Davy because Caden pays attention to her. After the gunshot that brings Caden into her life, a variety of men choke her, beat her, stab her, and threaten to rape her, and each time, no matter where she is, Caden magically shows up to save her and demolish her attacker(s). After reading these two books from Sophie Jordan, I can’t understand her fascination with constantly subjecting her MC to abuse, while preventing her from having any opportunity to save herself. It’s especially laughable because, umm, isn’t Davy supposed to have this gene that makes her ultra-violent?
In between all of the attacks on Davy, I wanted more exploration on the topic of the ethics of genetic testing. We do get to see a little bit of what’s happening outside the resistance compound in the form of brief snippets of conversation between various government and military officials. It becomes clear that not everyone is on board with the idea of wiping out with the “cleansing program,” but it’s such a swift turnaround that it almost seemed like someone realized, “Hey, this series is only two books, not three. We need to change society’s murderous, discriminatory beliefs, and we need to do it NOW.”
I’m saving the worst part for last. Near the end of the story, it becomes clear that there is a traitor within the resistance movement. Not the most original or surprising idea, but I was looking for something to distract from the continuous, brutal attacks on Davy. But I ended up feeling almost offended by the reveal of the traitor, because it played into a horrible cliche about a large segment of the population.
As for Davy, Sean, and Caden, this love triangle gets resolved with little fuss, and no hard feelings, which was surprising since these two guys spent much of the two books pounding the crap out of other guys. I think Davy would have been better off without either one of them, but there was no chance of that happening.