Book: Every Second Counts
Author: Sophie McKenzie
I was really excited to read this book as I loved Split Second and I really wanted to see what happened next. The last part of the book was so exciting, I read it all in one night and could not put it down. The book picks up a few weeks after Split Second finished with Charlie and Nat on the run from Riley and his cronies. There is action right from the start, you don’t have to wait for it to get exciting and the pace is fast all the way through, with every chapter ending on a cliffhanger. The only problem with that was that it was quite frustrating as since the character POV’s kept switching you had to wait through one of Nat’s POV’s before you finally got to see what was happening with Charlie or vice versa. I did like the switching POV’s as you could get inside both character’s heads and see what they were thinking and as they were apart for a significant portion of time during the story this was needed, but I think it may have worked better had she done two chapters in each character’s POV before switching, although that way it might not have been quite so exciting. The alternating POVs flowed very well, they didn’t feel stop starty like this technique can sometimes be and it did allow us to see that both characters knew things the other didn’t and neither knew who they could trust so it worked well in that way. Here is a short synopsis of the book:
The heart-stopping sequel to Split Second. Nat and Charlie are on the run, and in more danger than ever …Nowhere is safe for Charlie and Nat. They have each other, but Roman Riley’s networks could reach them at any time. Charlie believes the only option is to go undercover in Riley’s team, and sneaks away from Nat to pursue her plan alone. Nat is desperate to find Charlie, but his family are in danger and Riley is coming ever closer. Even if Nat and Charlie can find each other again, could being together be even more dangerous than being apart …?
I found that as with the last book, I liked Charlie better than Nat. She is just such a strong , smart, feisty female character and I just found that I enjoyed her chapters a little more. I liked the way that their relationship developed through the book and that they seemed more secure as a couple at the end, but also that their romance didn’t take away from the action of the book, it’s more of an underlying theme throughout the book, always there but never taking your attention away from the action.
The use of the page recapping what had happened in the last book was very helpful as often I find that I can’t remember what happened at the end of a book in a series particularly if it’s been a long time since I read the previous book and I often have to go back to the previous book and read the end again before I start the sequel. This meant that I didn’t have to do that which I really liked.
There are so many great twists in this book which makes it all the more exciting and I never saw any of them coming which was great, I hate it when I can work out what the twist is going to be before it happens. I also liked that despite the fact these teenagers are in a horrifying situation they still make mistakes and are easily mislead by adults because often in these sorts of books the teenagers start to act like adults and don’t seem very realistic but Charlie and Nat both act in a way that is realistic for their age even if they do make some of the same mistakes that they made in the first book. I did find it a little unrealistic that in some places where the two characters should get seriously injured they just end up with cuts and bruises, I mean I know getting seriously injured wouldn’t work for the way they have to run around everywhere trying to save the world but a little more realism in that respect would have been nice.
I liked that we got to see Charlie and her meeting her dad in this book as it was nice to see her relationship with a parent, we didn’t get to see much of her relationship with her mum in the first book because she was killed so quickly and the only other family she has is her aunt Karen and her Aunt Gail, Uncle Brian and Rosa. I thought this was done well, the fact that her dad is supporting Riley rather than against Riley creates some tension and their relationship seems quite strained through the book which I think is natural considering that they barely know each other, had they been all close right away it would have seemed rushed and unnatural. As a character I hated her dad, his ideas for government seemed strange to me and I hated the fact that he acted like bombing people was perfectly natural.
I liked that Nat’s brother Lucas was included more in this book as in the first book he was in a coma for the entirety of the book so we didn’t really get to see them interact whereas in this book we do and it was nice to see the sibling rivalry but also the cute brotherly relationship between the two.
We were introduced to some new characters in this book, Spider and his mother, Roman Riley’s girlfriend Martina and Uchi, Charlie’s dad (who I won’t talk about as I already have). Spider’s mother (Roman Riley’s ex-Spider is Riley’s son) and Riley’s girlfriend aren’t particularly important, so I’ll just talk about Spider. I didn’t really like him at first, I thought he was a little creepy and it seemed like he had been brainwashed into believing his father’s crazy ideas. I also thought his crush on Charlie was unnecessary, it was clear that Charlie was going to end up with Nat so i didn’t see why McKenzie needed to create a love triangle just for the sake of making one. However Spider was redeemed in my eyes when he switched to Charlie’s side so I ended the book not hating him but not really loving him either.
The main plot twist was exciting but I have to admit it seemed a little convoluted and unrealistic (I’m not going to say what it is but it is strange). Still it lead to some great exciting action scenes so to be honest I can forgive it that it probably couldn’t happen in real life because if everything we read in books could happen in real life then there would be no point in reading books!
I liked the scenes between Aaron and Nat as we got to see Nat in the protective big brother role as he doesn’t think Aaron is good enough to date Jas and it creates some great awkward moments between him, Jas and Aaron when they are trapped in the attic at the EFA headquarters. I wasn’t that keen on Jas herself, she seemed like a bit of a drip to me (although as far as I can remember she was like that in the first book too) and her part in the story as being used as bait to trap Nat seemed unnecessary, I’m sure someone as clever as Riley could have come up with another way to trap him. I liked that Nat confronted his parents about their neglect of him and Jas over comatose Lucas because it felt like something that should have been included in the last book so I’m glad it was included here. I wish there could have been a scene with Charlie and her aunt and uncle confronting them over their treatment of her when they thought she was a terrorist, that would have been nice.
Overall this was a great book (Split Second maybe has a slight edge but not much) and there is one line in it that I think really sums up the message of both books. Mayor Latimer, Aaron’s dad says that “democracy is the least worst option we have” and I think there’s something quite important in that as we all complain about the politicians in this country but reading a book like this shows you that things could be a lot worse and democracy may not always be the best option, but it’s the best of all bad options and that is maybe something we should remember. If you want a book with action but that also carries an important message for our life today then this book is definitely a great read (as is it’s predecessor).
My rating: 4/5
The next book I will be reviewing is the prequel to the Maze Runner, The Kill Order by James Dashner.