Friday, September 4, 2015

Redeemed by Margaret Peterson Haddix, 2015

Have you read the first seven books in the Missing series? No? Then go away! There are some really major spoilers in this review - and I mean spoilers from not only book 1, but from book 7 as well. Don't read the synopsis, don't scroll down to check out the last paragraph, don't do anything except hit the back arrow and leave this page until you're ready to get excited for the last book in the Missing series.

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Jonah’s new twin must time travel and face off against his siblings’ worst enemy in order to save the future—and his family—in the eighth and final book of the New York Times bestselling The Missing series, which Kirkus Reviews calls “plenty of fun and great for history teachers as well.”
After traveling through history multiple times and finding out his original identity, Jonah thought he’d fixed everything. But some of his actions left unexpected consequences. His parents—and many other adults—are still stuck as teenagers. And now Jonah has a new sibling, an identical twin brother named Jordan.
As odd as all this is for Jonah, it’s beyond confusing for Jordan. How does everyone in his family have memories of Jonah when he doesn’t? How can his annoying kid sister Katherine speak so expertly about time travel—and have people from the future treating her with respect? A few rash moves by Jordan send them all into the future—and into danger. What if he’s also the only one who can get them back to safety, once and for all?

(416 pages; Release date September 8, 2015)

It's over. It's actually over. No more waiting for Missing books, no more begging my parents into driving me to Barnes & Noble on release day, no more bugging my sister/roomie with chants of "Only three more days now! Three more days!" as I count down to a new book. No more adventures with Jonah and Katherine, no more huge identity reveals that I never saw coming. I still have Margaret Peterson Haddix books to look forward to, but no more Missing books. And since I've been reading the Missing series for as long as I've been reading Haddix's books, that is really, really weird to me.

But enough about me, how was the book itself? Well, I'll start with the negatives. And they all boil down to one main factor: Jordan. Not that I have anything against the poor boy (in fact, I had been biting my nails to learn more about him since he showed up at the end of Redeemed!), but he just isn't Jonah. I spent seven books getting attached to Jonah - seven books! That's a lot of pages. Those were a lot of years. The experiences I share with Jonah simply aren't there with Jordan, and so no matter how interested in his story I am I'm still more interested in Jonah's. And sadly, we don't get as much of Jonah as I would have liked. He's there, of course, and there's definitely some tension going on between him and Jordan, but he and Katherine get separated from Jordan about two-thirds of the way into the book and then that's it. No more Jonah and Katherine. Ick.

Also, I would have liked a bit more exploration of the whole twin issue. Jonah and Jordan are practically identical (because nature and nurture were both working to keep them that way), but it did slightly grate on my when people said they were practically "the same person." I mean, Margaret Peterson Haddix of all people should be able to write about genetically identical kids raised in near-identical situations - Jordan isn't just a reboot of Jonah, a "what-if" version that would have happened if Jonah had never discovered time travel. He's a real, unique, individual person. And I couldn't tell if Haddix was ignoring this, or if she simply didn't have time to deal with it when so many things were already going on in the story.

So there's the negative. What about the positive? Again, it mostly boils down to Jordan. You know, Jonah's brother, the one who got time travel (and an identical twin) dropped into his lap. How could Jordan not be awesome?! Jonah-shortage aside, there were a lot of advantages to being inside Jordan's head this time around. He acts like a time-traveling idiot for most of the book, but somehow that never really bothered me. I actually really liked the fact that he was so naive, because it's realistic. If the Jonah from Found had been dropped into Revealed, he would have been just as terrible at time traveling as Jordan is. Speaking of our dear time-traveling pro, I also dearly love the glimpses we get of Jonah throughout Redeemed, as he tries not-very-hard to hide his disgust at having an identical twin brother dropped into his life. That's probably why I got so frustrated about not being inside his head while all of that was going on.

I also loved reading about everything through a newbie's eyes. I learned the ropes of time travel alongside Jonah (actually, inside Jonah!), and I love him to pieces but it's true that my knowledge-base is exactly the same as his. With Jordan, I'm the old hat and he's the clueless newcomer to the table. Being in his head, and watching him try to get a handle on Jonah when I already know him so well, is neat. And through Jordan we get to see how much everyone respects Jonah. Very, very cool! I also love the scene about halfway through, when they go through a re-hash of some of the most dangerous moments in the past seven books. I literally squealed when Jonah said "Richard III" and I realized what was happening! Somehow it was even cooler reliving it through Jordan's eyes, because he spent the whole time freaking out about all the crazy things that happen.

Anyway, this is shaping up to be the longest review I've written in a very long time. I guess I'll stop now, but I could go on and on. I have been waiting for this book for literally five years, and I am so, so thrilled to have finally read it. A few (fairly necessary) disappointments aside, Redeemed was everything I had hoped it would be, and I absolutely loved it.

Though part of me does still wish Jonah had narrated the epilogue.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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