You have no idea how excited I was to get my hands on this book. I loved Variant, and the cliffhanger ending killed me. It was one of my favorite reads of 2011. It really surprised me how much I enjoyed it. I’m happy to say that I enjoyed Feedback just as much. Lately, it seems that the sequels to some of my favorite books last year have really fallen flat. This one did not fall into that trap.
Warning: This review contains a few spoilers from the first book, so if you plan to read it, I wouldn’t read further.
Benson and Becky have escaped the evil Maxfield Academy, but they are no more safe than they were within the walls of the robot-run school. At the end of Variant, Bens found himself in a small village, face to face with a girl he thought was a robot — a robot who was killed at the school. Bens knows he and Becky need to run, but Becky is injured and suffering from a life-threatening infection. He has no choice but to bring her to the village until she is well enough to move on. What Bens discovers at the village is even more disturbing than what he found at the school. The village is filled with real teens, all of whom had a robot counterpart that attended the academy. They are connected to their robots through a chip, and have been placed in the village for a reason. While Becky heals, Bens tries to blend in with the rest of the teens, narrowly avoiding discovery whenever the murderous robots from the academy drop in. Ever the rebel, Bens is determined to find a way to escape, and free the other teens in the village. What he doesn’t expect is that in order to pull this off, he may have to return to the school in order to set them all free.
Feedback was just as exciting a read as Variant. The chapters are short and action-packed, and Mr. Wells has created a world that is both fascinating and terrifying. I loved meeting the “real” students and how Benson interacted with them. I also found the connection between the robots and the teens very well thought out. While the stakes were high in Variant, they were even more so in this installment. The sense of urgency and the need to escape crawled across my skin the entire time I was reading. I tore through this one in less than a day. I really enjoy this world and the characters. None of them are perfect, especially Benson. He has a serious hero complex, but not in an annoying way. It’s both maddening and endearing.
The only thing that fell short with me was the ending when the big reveal took place. Bens discovers (kind of) who (what) is running the school, but it wasn’t really clear to me. I had to go back and read the passage again and I still wasn’t sure what it was. It definitely left me feeling very confused. I’m not sure if there’s another book planned or not. I can see where there is room for one. I kind of hope there is, because I’m still not sure who, or what, the mastermind is.
If you are looking for a high-octane, original thriller, I highly recommend reading this series. Girls and boys alike will enjoy it as it has enough romance to appease the girls and plenty of action and a male lead that will appeal to boys.