Deception - C.J. Redwine This was not a book about Rachel. Yes, I know she’s on the cover and I know the blurb goes on and on about her. But this was not Rachel’s book. This was Logan’s book. Rachel spent the majority of the book going on about being broken and basically hollowing herself of all emotions and being a shell of a character that just floated through the plot. She was utterly unremarkable. Logan, on the other hand, had all the angst and all the drama and all the action and all the backstory and all the character growth. It was his book, his story, and Rachel just tagged along and said “I am nothing” a lot.Which really irritated me, considering they’ve been through pretty much the same thing. The people who died last book were Logan’s family, too. And yet instead of falling into a black hole of non-character, Logan gets to have some really interesting angst as he stumbles forward and does his best to operate anyway. Only the female character gets crushed into a non-entity by her tragedy, I guess.Deception was at once better and worse than Defiance. It had a more compelling story line and better emotional issues, and things were more cohesive as a whole. Watching Logan deal with the stress of being a ‘leader’ and try to keep it together while everything is falling apart, that was just fascinating. The storytelling part of the book was perfectly executed, excellent pacing and tension that kept me reading long after I meant to stop. The fact that we dealt with a small group of people instead of a whole nonsense culture helped, too. There was very little worldbuilding, but there didn’t need to be, because it was just 150-ish people in the woods, and that worked. The narrower focus allowed the characters to just be characters, instead of making them be cogs in a city that makes no sense.On the other hand, this book took a serious nose-dive in the logic department. I think every page had some basic factual fail that had me rolling my eyes. Like how the book doesn’t seem to understand that all the dirt from digging a tunnel has to go somewhere, or using a battering ram against a pile of rubble. Yeah, they did that. Pretty much every time Logan opened his mouth to talk about science, I had to stop and watch reruns of Bill Nye to feel clean again.But all that was just eye-roll-worthy, and I can deal with it. The cringe-worthy stuff came about with the introduction of the bad-guy army. They’re basically mooks that came out of nowhere to give the good guys someone to kill. They try and justify it by saying that those mooks ‘chose their leader’ and therefore…it’s okay to kill them? One feature that was harped on through both books was that Baalboden people don’t know anything about the other city states besides a few broad basics, so how do they know that every single person in that army is cool with following the bad guy? Also, one of Rachel’s running issues is that she killed someone who didn’t deserve it last book, but this book…yeah, no second thought about stabbing army guys. Nevermind the fact that the person she killed last book was also just following orders, nope, doesn’t even make her hesitate. Every single man in that other army uniformly decided to become evil, and therefore no emotional hang-ups need arise from murdering the fuck out of as many of them as possible. Just arbitrarily declare that they brought this on themselves, despite the fact that you have no way of knowing that, and then get to stabbing.So creepy.