This is the hardest type of review for me to write, one for a subsequent book in a series and one that I did enjoy but have a few issues with. Fair warning - this review may contain spoilers for "The Delphi Effect".
Overall I enjoyed this book, it kept my interest and I never found the pacing to lag. I really like the main character - Anna, and her group of friends, as well as her other allies. In general they are believable characters.
In this story we learn more about the Delphi project and those behind it. The major plot has Anna and her friends on the run and in hiding, while at the same time working toward rescuing other children and young people who have been kidnapped and are being held by this nefarious group. As a middle book of a trilogy it's a solid read, advancing the plot, ending with a resolution of the immediate, but not yet wrapping up the larger issue. Obviously there's more to come. It also ends with an enigmatic bit of information that leaves the reader wondering and intrigued, but not to the point of being a cliff hanger.
There were a couple things though that had me rolling my eyes. One of those things has to do with the head of security, Miller, hired by the woman bank-rolling Anna and her friends, Magda.
Magda has been presented as someone with apparently inexhaustible funds, but also someone who micromanages and does background checks so detailed it's nearly laughable. However the man in charge of security she hired treats those he's hired to protect as if they are enemy combatants, and the ones he needs to guard as such, not as those he's been hired to protect from outside threat.
Granted, these people do have abilities that are potentially dangerous, however they are also children, children who are there to be protected from others who mean them harm. While it's believable that there are those who would feel animosity simply because these children have abilities than can be dangerous, it's not believable to me that Magda would hire someone who was this incompetent as their security. This guy is ex-military. Seems to me Magda would have hired someone who could be aware of the children's potential as dangerous while at the same time being calm and professional in handling his actual job of protecting them. It just didn't seem believable to me that Madga would not have vetted him better.
As an example, one child sleepwalks and is in imminent danger of falling down a flight of stairs. What does Miller do? The ex-military guy hired to keep these kids safe? He freaks out because the kid is up, and nearly causes the kid to fall down the stairs after being startled.
'"Hey, it's all right,' Aaron says, taking a few cautious steps toward the boy. 'Your dad is downstairs. I think you were sleepwalking. Why don't we move away from the stairs and--'
'What the hell is he doing out here?' Miller roars from the doorway. His body is a dark outline against the light from inside the house, his face illuminated only by the red dot of light at the base of his taser.
The boy flinches and screams as he loses his balance. His arms pinwheel in a futile attempt to stay upright. Aaron reaches out just in time and snags the collar of his T-shirt, yanking him back to safety. Had Aaron been a split second slower or a few inches farther away, the poor kid would have hurtled head over heels down the stairs to the lower deck."
It's not that I can't believe there'd be people who act like this, but the way Madga has been presented I find it hard to believe she'd hire one.
Another minor quibble - Anna and her friends have a puppy.
"We're judging these kids in the same way that Pruitt and Miller judge all adepts, and I really don't think any of them would hurt the puppy on purpose. But he's still relatively helpless, so the rule stands: they can't play with him unless one of us is nearby. Just in case."
That's just being a responsible pet owner. Kids and dogs playing together *should* always be supervised, especially if either is very young.
They wisely decide to leave this puppy behind when they go off...somewhere (avoiding spoilers). So far so good. However while there are others where the puppy is being left, including a couple responsible adults, everyone who's previously been mentioned as helping to care for the puppy is leaving. There's no mention of ensuring someone is going to be looking after the dog while they're gone. Sure, it can be assumed someone will, but it's a missed detail, and Ms. Walker usually doesn't miss details. And yes, I'll admit when it comes to pets in stories I am hyper-aware of their well-being. So, a minor quibble.
This book also makes use of the tired trope of throwing in someone who believes in God only when a convenient bigoted character is needed, as a lazy way to explain their bigotry. And it does so not just once, but several times. I'm weary of such tactics. We all know there are people like this, but there are also many people who believe in God who are not bigots, even to the point of finding reasons and justifications to not be bigots within that belief. But here we are yet again only throwing in a character who believes in God when we need a bigot. It's beyond tiresome at this point.
So, overall, a good and enjoyable story, with a few things I think could have been better but are relatively minor. I look forward to the final installment, and do plan to read it.
For those of you who'll want to know - the puppy is never in any danger and makes it to the end completely safe and unharmed.
*I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley. I purchased the Audible version with my own money.*