Pandora Jones Admission and Deception: mini-reviews

pandora jones admissionTitle: Pandora Jones: Admission

Author: Barry Jonsberg

Genre: YA dystopian

Length: 312 pages

Published by: Allen and Unwin

Source: library


Pandora Jones wakes in an infirmary – her body weak, her memory providing only flashes of horrific scenes of death. She soon discovers that her family has succumbed to a plague pandemic which almost wiped out humanity. Pan is one of the survivors who have been admitted to The School – a quarantined, heavily guarded survival-skills facility – to recover their strength, hone their skills and prepare for whatever comes next. Pandora’s skill is intuition, but how useful will it be outside the secure walls of The School? And what if it leads her to question where the truth lies…

Plague. Pandemic. Intuition. Secrets. Truth. Courage. Action. Survival.

Unfortunately, I wanted more with this one.

The concept was intriguing enough. I was interested about The School, and the disease that had wiped out most of the population. And some of the activities were fun to read about.

I liked Nate as well, but he was pretty much the only character I liked. Pandora Jones, our protagonist, felt a bit bland to me, and none of the other characters were very likeable.

It also fell into what I call the Dystopian Trap. As in, not enough answers, and vague explanations for the world that we’re reading about. The pacing was also quite slow, and I found myself skimming a lot of it. It didn’t seem to be GOING anywhere – the survival training of The School wasn’t particularly interesting to read about.

The dialogue was also a little bit unrealistic – nobody talks in the formal way these characters did.

A shame because I really liked Life as An Alphabet by the same author.

The good thing about this one was that I DID want to read on, if only to get some answers.


Rating: 2.5/5 Wonderkitties


pandora jones deceptionTitle: Pandora Jones: Deception

Author: Barry Jonsberg

Genre: YA dystopian

Length: 288 pages

Published by: Allen and Unwin

Source: received for review (thanks, Allen and Unwin!)

Blurb: *WARNING* spoilers for book one

Pandora and her team are already two members down. The survival of humanity in the post-plague world depends on them. But who can she trust?

It was difficult to know when nightmares ended and the waking world began.

Pan is still struggling to distinguish between her dreams and reality. When she wakes in the Infirmary her mind replays the sight of Nate running along the shoreline and the way his body froze and then flopped after he was shot. But her memories hold more questions than answers and she doesn’t know who to trust.

When she forms an unlikely alliance with Jen to try to make sense of everyone’s haunting similar memories and the conflicting information about The School, she finds herself with unexpected enemies.

Pan and Jen are determined to seek the truth – no matter what rules they must break or how terrible the danger they face. But can they even trust each other?

Intuition. Secrets. Truth. Courage. Action. Survival.

This one was better.

Not by a LOT, but I enjoyed it more.

There was a really awesome relationship between Pandora and Jen, for a start. After their rivalry in the first book, this was nice to see. Jen’s sarcasm basically made this book for me.

There was also more of a plot. It still dragged in the middle, but they were looking for answers at least.

I had a problem with the ending – after basically no answers for most of the book, they’re all dumped at the end without any explanation, and without making much sense. So that was a little annoying.

I’ve never been the biggest fan of dystopians. There’s always something lacking for me – with some exceptions, of course. And I feel like this is one of those series. All that said, however, I do want to read the third book to find out what happens with The School, Pandora and Jen – and find out what really happened to Nate.

Overall it’s a clever series with diverse characters. It’ll have you rushing through to find out what’s really happening at The School.

Rating: 3/5 Wonderkitties


Is anyone else annoyed by the whole “not explaining” thing that’s so common dystopian?

13 thoughts on “Pandora Jones Admission and Deception: mini-reviews

  1. To be honest I’m not sure I’ll be reading this one. I don’t mind some dystopian, but a) it’s not my favourite genre, and b) I so understand what you mean by the Dystopian Trap, and oh my gosh, it annoys me to no end. I NEED ANSWERS. AND GOOD WORLDBUILDING. Glad you liked the second one better, though… even if it was only just a bit of an improvement. 😀 But yeah, these aren’t high on my TBR list that’s for sure.

  2. Yeah, the not explaining thing is getting to be an issue :\ I received a similar series for review (The 100 by Kass Morgan and Day 21 by Kass Morgan), and they had similar issues. I can understand why the publisher sends out both books at the same time; the first book read like a teaser for the second, there was a surprising lack of plot and depth, there was no explanation, and the characters made me want to scratch my eyes out. Underneath that (if you DUG AND DUG AND DUG AND DUG AND DUG), there was this fantastic premise… that quickly fell into what you’re calling the Dystopian Trap.

    I do happen to like some dystopians, but most of them are a hit-and-miss for me. :\

      • I know, right? I just read The Program, which I think does fit into dystopian, and there is very, very little world-building. The character gives “I don’t know” as an excuse, but, seriously? The world could have been built better. The rest of the book was awesome, though! 😀 I NEED to read the Maze Runner. Everyone is always telling me how utterly fantastic it is… *longing bookworm sigh*

  3. I actually ended up really enjoying the first one, whereas the second one like you said dragged a lot in the middle for me. There have definitely been a few twists and turns (and finally some information on what’s really going on with The School) but I too am still waiting to see how it all will *pan* out (*cough bad pun *cough*)

    ANYWAY, great reviews, love the gifs 🙂

  4. I think it really depends on the book. Some books explain things well enough, while others just give vague references to the backstory. And that can be pretty annoying :/

  5. Your reviews really intrigue me although there is a pain point of vague explanation of the world. This is a pet peeve of mine, especially with dystopians because HOW DID THE WORLD GET LIKE THAT? Glad the second book seemed to be an improvement over the first though. Great review lovely!

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