Twell takes on a whole new succession of challenges in this second instalment in the Army of Powers series. This book follows directly on from the end of the first which allows us to see her reaction to being matched with Avin, the silver-eyed boy with an incredible charm ability.
Though I was hesitant to like Avin since he stood between Twell and Jonaz, but he won me over. He was so sincere and eager to develop a relationship with Twell. Despite her consistent resistance to any interaction with him, he goes above and beyond to get to know her, even trying to look out for her. Twell is suspicious that Avin will use his powers against her and many chapters are spent trying to figure out if he is or isn’t.
Twell and the other powered teenagers are officially enlisted in the Army of Powers as cadets. Taken to a training facility, they are put through rigorous training and are divided into groups based on their powers. It’s interesting there are so many of each individual power group, making our original gang both less unique whilst giving them a place amongst others like them. Twell is given a dorm room with three roommates who share the same ability: Lavi, Kina and Shanna. Each of the girls has a different personality but Shanna’s especially… strong.
Shanna openly denounces the Governing Body and their strict rules to absolutely everyone. Repeatedly. Though she has a legitimate point, her arrogance and preachiness were maddening. She never talked about anything else and believed anyone who went along with the G. B. was naïve and beyound idiotic. Shanna is grating to Twell, judging her for even speaking to Avin. But Twell can’t help her own personal views which get her involved in Shanna’s budding revolt. It’s frustrating to see Twell allowing Shanna to boss her around. Shanna drove me crazy, characters who only focus on their political viewpoint and continually preach it to everyone at the most inopportune times are frustrating to read. Seriously, can she just take a breath for a minute!
The training camp is run by Maza (yet another ‘m’ name). She’s your stereotypical no-nonsense commander and it’s entertaining to watch her go to head to head with our rebellious Twell Anar. You can’t deny the power Maza has over Twell, and boy does she demonstrate it right from the start. Luckily for Twell, good old Brazin is there to try and protect her, which is by no means easy. I’m glad to see the author includes a good character from the first book and he developed further in this instalment.
Even though we lost one of our love triangle players in the first book, we have a new player in the triangle. Unlike the previous triangle, this romantic struggle has an understandable reason with Twell being forced to partner with a man she does not love while she plots to be with another. The possibility of Avin’s power influencing Twell complicates things even further. Love triangles are everywhere in YA, but I found this one surprisingly tolerable, even enjoyable at times. The tension between Jonaz and Avin was incredible and the pining angst emanating from both Twell and Jonaz had my heart aching for them. From the very beginning, I was dying to see the boys throwdown!
There was a great amount of action at the training camp but we didn’t get to see much on the Abwarzian front. We hear that they attack a Comian base and the cadets go to examine the destruction, that’s it really. It was frustrating, I wanted to see Twell and her friends take on the Abwarzians, especially since their powers have evolved. Yet, with all the other action and tension I didn’t feel like nothing was happening (which is rare for me) which alone made me impressed with this work. You can clearly see the author’s skill developing from her first book which gives me high hopes for the third. Paired with a good cliff-hanger, this book left me eager to get my hands on the next instalment of Twell’s adventures.
I give it 4/5.