Review: The Liberty Box and The Eden Conspiracy by C.A. Gray

Today I’ll be reviewing the first two books in the Liberty Box trilogy. I’m also hosting a giveaway of some wonderful goodies with the author and some other bookstagrammers. Check it out –  My username is spinatale!

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Overall Score: 7/10

Page Length: 334

Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction

Publisher: Wanderlust Publishing

Source: Received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review

Book summary

Kate Brandeis has it all: a famous reporter at the age of twenty-four, she’s the face of the Republic of the Americas. She has a loving fiancé and all the success she could wish for. But when she learns of the death of a long-forgotten friend, her investigations unravel her perfect memories, forcing her to face the fact that she’s been living a lie.

Jackson MacNamera, trained from a young age in the art of mind control, returns to the Republic for his mother’s funeral. Within a few hours of his arrival, authorities collect Jackson and take him by force to a room ironically called The Liberty Box, where he must choose between surrendering his thoughts to the new Republic, or fleeing for his freedom.

Kate, bereaved and confused, finds her way to a cave community of refugees, where Jackson seems to offer her an escape from her grief. The two forge an uneasy bond, and in the process Jackson learns that Kate has some insight which may help the hunters in their attempt to free other citizens from the tyranny of the Potentate. Against the expressed wishes of the Council, the hunters plot a series of daring raids, attempting to prove that not only is freedom possible, but that the citizens are not too far gone to desire it. But with the odds so stacked against them, can the refugees succeed in their rescue missions right under the Potentate’s nose?

Review

The book starts off with the collapse of the American economy and the subsequent descent into chaos. Voltolini is an interesting character, smart and evil in equal measures. I enjoyed seeing the contrast between the prologue and the true start of the story. There’s some very fast world-building here but it does serve to orient the reader.

I’ll start with the things I didn’t like and then move to those that I did (which then sets it up for my review of the second book). One of the main negatives about this book for me was the lack of character development at the start. I would have preferred to have read more about Kate, Will, and their everyday lives before jumping into the action. As it is, there wasn’t a lot of contrast besides that stated by the characters between Kate’s life in the republic and her life as a refugee. If this book is ever turned into a movie or tv show (which I honestly think it should be), this opening would be perfect though.

The writing style is very matter of fact. As the book goes on, you can tell that C.A. Grey figured out a happy medium between telling the reader and showing them. It’s definitely not my usual preferred style but once I adapted to it, I thought that it fit the story well.

Onto all of the good things! I absolutely loved this plot and the world. It isn’t too fantastical as to seem unrealistic, but it is an excellent dystopian novel. I enjoyed the science aspects. Everything was well-reasoned and entirely consistent throughout the novel. Seeing Jackson and Kate starting the shed the shells of their former lives was interesting. Jackson started out as kind of a mix between Yoda and Jason Bourne (or just limitless) and it was nice to see the contrast (and conflict) between him and Kate. Regarding the romance, I did enjoy how that played out. While there was definitely insta-attraction, it was messy and complicated (maybe due to the dead fiancé…?).

I would recommend this book to any dystopian/science fiction fans. It’s an incredibly fast read and you really do get sucked into the story. While it wasn’t my favorite book, it was good and the series definitely got much better in the second book.

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Overall Score: 8.5/10

Page Length: 253

Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction

Publisher: Wanderlust Publishing

Source: Received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review

Book summary

Can the truth set you free?

The refugee caves have been destroyed, and most of the refugees are dead. The Potentate now knows of their existence and will stop at nothing to wipe them out completely. He suspects that terrorist Jackson MacNamera is among them, as well as reporter Kate Brandeis’s fiancé, hacker Will Anderson—and probably therefore Kate herself. Now that the Potentate is aware of security threats, most of the strategies the rebels used to get back onto the grid before now no longer work. The Potentate knows the rebels are on foot, and he knows they were at the caves not long ago—they can’t get far.

The remaining rebels, among them Jackson and Kate, have Kate’s fiancé Will to thank for their survival: he arrived back from the dead and in the nick of time, bearing classified information about the Potentate’s plans to expand his influence internationally. But the remaining rebels and the Council cannot agree on whether their top priority should be spreading truth far and wide and freeing as many citizens from government control as possible, knowing that they will likely die in the process—or escaping to New Estonia, in hopes that they might live out the rest of their days in peace.

Kate, meanwhile, finds herself torn: between Jackson and the fiancé she thought she lost, and between the damsel-in-distress she once was, and the rebel she believes she has always been underneath. Whether the other hunters will support her or no, she knows she must use her influence over the people of the Republic to tell them the truth, no matter the cost. But is she strong enough to withstand the government’s lies?

Review

This book was a lot better than the first one in my opinion. The background was established and the plot well on its way. This book absolutely does not suffer from middle book syndrome. Rather than serve as a bridge between the first and third, this one could stand on its own. From here on down, there will be some spoilers from the first book so consider this your warning.

Will is back! And he’s pretty much a horrible person. I get that’s he is a computer genius and has done a lot of incredible/helpful things but that seriously is no way to treat a woman. I wanted to punch him in the face for some of the things he said to Kate (which really is a testament to the writing because I very rarely detest characters). The love triangle between Kate, Jackson, and Will had some similarities to the one found in ACOMAF. Jackson started to show that he was truly human (about time!) even though he does remain semi-superpowered. Of all the characters in this book, I liked Kate and her family the most. Kate’s development was truly fun to watch as she started to find herself. Seeing her with her family and how they all interacted with each other was one of my favorite parts of the novel. Despite the fast-pace and high tension, C.A. Grey created distinct characters and allowed them to interact with each other differently.

Regarding the plot – holy guacamole did a lot happen in this book. I essentially marathoned the first and second book in this series and it was definitely worth it. I can’t wait to read the third book and find out what happens to everyone. The world is starting to become very complex and I love that all the groups have different motives. And that everyone within the groups has their own motives for being there. I’m repeating myself but if this was a movie/tv show, I would absolutely watch it.

Overall, the writing was much better in this one and I found myself tearing through the pages, desperate to figure out what happens next. I’m excited for the third book to come out.

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