Review: Sneak

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: SneakSneak by Evan Angler
Series: Swipe #2
Published by Thomas Nelson on September 4, 2012
Genres: Adventure, Dystopian, Science Fiction
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
three-stars

In a future United States under the power of a charismatic leader, everyone gets the Mark at age thirteen. The Mark lets citizen shop, go to school, and even get medical care—but without it, you are on your own. Few refuse to get the Mark. Those who do . . . disappear.

Logan Langly went in to get his Mark, but he backed out at the last minute.  Now he’s on the run from government agents who will stop at nothing to capture him. But Logan is on a mission to find and save his sister, Lily, who disappeared five years ago on her thirteenth birthday, the day she was supposed to receive her Mark.

Logan and his friends, a group of dissenters called the Dust, discover a vast network of the Unmarked, who help them travel safely to the capital city where Lily is imprisoned. Along the way, the Dust receives some startling information from the Markless community, opening their eyes to the message of Christianity and warning that humanity is now entering the End of Days.

When the Dust finally arrives in the capital, it seems that all their careful planning is useless against a government that will do anything to bend its citizens to its will. Can the gentle words Logan has found in a tattered, banned Bible really stand against the most powerful military the world has ever known? Can Logan even sacrifice his own freedom, choosing to act through faith alone?

First Sentence: “There was a clock in the corner that counted the seconds, an old-fashioned analog-type with long hands and a slender needle that tapped a maddening beat.”

Review:
There are two basic methods by which dystopias nee utopias are formed: through force or through people agreeing to give up their rights in exchange for an easier life. Angler’s Swipe series falls into this latter category, along with Anthem. There’s something so entirely horrifying about people giving up rights in exchange for peace. Don’t get me wrong: I like peace, but I like being able to be myself more.

Despite my worries, I read Swipe last year, and was pleasantly surprised. With actual dystopias somewhat thin on the ground as a broader definition takes over, in an effort to make the most of the genre’s popularity, Swipe comes as a nice refreshing dose of old school dystopian. Also setting Swipe apart is the youth of the heroes. Though still a YA and not an MG, the main characters are but 13.

They are, however, a rather mature 13 for the most part. Most incongruously for their age is Erin’s hacking skills. This is something that happens all of the time in fiction: young people who can outhack anyone. I just have a little trouble accepting that child of privelege Erin has picked up these skills. Where did she learn them? However, their youth does shine through when it comes to their romances. This one has less romance than Swipe because the kids are busy with other things, but they react so childishly to romantic things, which is about the only time they read as their age.

My favorite aspect of this series is how powerful the two main female characters, Erin and Hailey, are, particularly in comparison to the main male characters. Though Logan has become the figurehead of the Markless movement, he really is not good for much. Mostly he causes trouble and makes unwise decisions. The girls, though, have the talent and the cleverness to really accomplish the group’s goals. You all know how much I love books where the female characters are not portrayed as weaker than the men or in need of saving.

My favorite character by far is Erin. I love her for her acerbic, antisocial nature and her brutal honesty most of the time. When Logan and Dane are missing at the beginning of school and everyone wants to know where they are, she’s the kind of girl who will tell it like it is and say they aren’t coming back, who wants to yell at everyone to stop pretending like they care Logan and Dane are gone when they didn’t care about them when they were in school. Plus, I love that Erin isn’t all good. She totally buys into the Mark and Cylis and everything. She’s more complex for her imperfections and her darkness.

There are two really wonderful new elements in Sneak that were not in Swipe. First, there’s the River. Following the same concept as the Underground Railroad, the Markless have formed the River. This is not an actual river, but a road along which assistance can be found for the Markless if you know how to read the signs. For example, a boat means that there’s a person there to help guide you, a captain. There’s another sign indicating that a person therein will give you food or a place to sleep. I loved the way he brought history back and thought it was totally authentic. There was, however, some seriously obvious plotting here, because there’s a symbol that’s a hook, which means, basically, “It’s a TRAP!” As soon as I saw that, I knew the kids would miss seeing it and get hooked. They, of course, did. Chekhov rule.

Second, there’s a literary reference which is unbelievably cool and mad props to Angler for this. He brings in Dante’s Inferno. In Sneak, their whole goal is to get to this prison, Acheron, where Logan’s sister is supposedly being incarcerated. Well, Acheron is modeled after Dante’s vision of Hell, which  was just awesome. Acheron won’t be less creepy if you haven’t read Dante, but, if you’re familiar with the Inferno, it adds another level (or 9) of awesomeness.

Lastly, I have to talk about religion. As you may or may not know, Thomas Nelson is a Christian publisher. That was what initially gave me pause, but I found little to no religious reference in Swipe. In Sneak, I can now see why a Christian publisher would have chosen this work, but the religion remains very light. I was never annoyed by it, and I’m touchy about such things. In fact, at one point someone sneezes, and the response was ‘Gesundheit’ and not ‘Bless you,’ which seems like a little thing but indicates to me that he has no intention of shoving his views down anyone’s throat.

If you enjoyed Swipe, Sneak will not let you down in the slightest. If anything, I would say Sneak is actually a bit stronger than its predecessor.

Favorite Quote:

“‘Just . . . make sure to take care of her, will ya?’
Logan laughed. ‘She doesn’t need taking care of, and you know it. She needs less taking care of than anyone else we know.’
Dane smiled. ‘You’re probably right. In that case, I guess . . . makes sure she takes care of you.'”

19 responses to “Review: Sneak”

  1. Lilian says:

    I haven’t read Swipe yet, so I skimmed this review! For some reason, I sometimes get messed up between Swipe and Unwind (coverwise). All dystopians are just blurring together!

    The Christian aspect made me pause. I hate being preached to. Chris Colfer didn’t even preach a religion and I was already annoyed with him in The Wishing Spell.
    ‘In fact, at one point someone sneezes, and the response was ‘Gesundheit’ and not ‘Bless you,’
    I have never heard anyone say Gesundheit in my life. Am I living under a rock or something? And I am not Christian, but I say Bless You anyway. The Gesendheit thing might actually feel like he is trying too hard to cover up the Christian inferences, even if he sacrifices the believability in dialogue in the process. Though I suppose I would have to read Swipe/Sneak to know.

    Lilian @ A Novel Toybox

    • Christina says:

      Yeah, I can sort of see the cover thing, even though they really don’t look alike…the art style’s similar though.

      They don’t preach in here. Not so far anyway. They talked about the bible a little bit in here, but really nothing annoying.

      Oh, I hear it fairly commonly. Maybe it’s not a Hawaiian thing. You may have had less German immigrants in that part of the country. Well, I don’t think so. Gesundheit is SO believable. That’s what I say! Also, this society tried to get rid of religion. He’s young enough he might not even know Bless You as a phrase now that I think about it.

    • Lilian says:

      “You may have had less German immigrants in that part of the country. “
      That may be it. If someone told me Gesundheit, I’ll give them a blank stare and be like “what he you just call me?? YOU WANNA FIGHT?”

  2. I need to get this series. Thanks for the rec 🙂

  3. I’ve heard of this series, and the possible religion thing is what gave me pause in perhaps trying it out. But I really like your detailed review here so I think I may now. It certainly sounds interesting. I’m on a major Dystopia kick–it’s probably one of my favorite genres at the moment so I’m always looking for new reads in this area. 🙂

    Great review!

    <3
    Pixie

    • Christina says:

      Obviously I can’t say what will happen later in the series, but I have yet to be offended by any preachiness. They’ve BARELY discussed religion. Mostly, the discussion about it has been that people should have the freedom to worship, along with a lot of other rights they currently lack.

  4. M.A.D. says:

    This series actually sounds pretty good, another one that managed to slip under my haphazard book-dar 😉

    Glad to see the author didn’t get all preachy, and I do like idea of the historical road/river/assistance tidbits. Did you know, there was also a similar set up during the Great (?) Depression – hobos, homeless, destitute, etc left subtle *indicators* to warn others as to whether a home’s owners were generous & sympathetic, or not so much.

    Anyhoo – Swipe/Sneak is going on my *must read* list, thank you for the wonderful review <3

  5. Leah says:

    Haven’t read both books but I like the premise of Sneak! Reminds me of the movie The Book of Paul and that was bad ass. 😛

  6. aLilLacey says:

    I haven’t heard of swipe or sneak but I’m interested now. And what is it about the word sneak? It’s so…sneaky. I love it. Ha ha. I like that he’s going to save his sister. Lately everything has just been about a boy and a girl. Smoochey smoochey. Thanks for the review.

  7. Adriana says:

    I wouldn’t have expected this to be a sequel based on the summary. I like how it’s about him finding his sister and not mainly about love. I do love a good romance but sometimes it’s too much. Erin sounds… like a witch. She tells it how it is but is she saying that he will never see his sister again? That’s messed up. Unless I read wrong…

    • Christina says:

      No, no. She’s telling the kids at school who are being all dramatic about Dane and Logan being gone to stop pretending they cared, basically. She doesn’t know if he’ll see his sister again.

      She is kind of a witch, though. I love that. Haha.

  8. Yay! I’m happy you enjoyed this one too. I just kind of skimmed your review because I am reading it this week for the tour but I’m quite excited. I’m with you that Swipe was a very good surprise and I have been excited for this one for a while. And that cover, how creepy, right?

  9. Steena says:

    You said the magic word: Dante. I did not originally have Swipe on my to-read list but any series that carries allusions to The Divine Comedy is an immediate add.

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