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Book Review – Cardinal (Citizen #2) by Nicola Claire

Have you been a model Citizen today?

Lena Carr is a Citizen who does not exist. Being invisible can have its advantages, but not when the Chief Overseer knows what your alias is. She can no longer use the gift her father left her.

But she also can’t walk the streets as the Elite she was born to be…

The Cardinals are closing in, and one in particular has Selena in his sights. With revolution on the Citizens’ minds and hope in the form of a rebellious Elite exhibiting non-model behaviour, the Overseers crack down on dissension. Causing chaos on the streets and blood to flow.

For his “Zebra” Trent Masters would do anything. Risk his life. Face the increasingly sentient drones head on. Kill. But there’s one thing he will never do – jeopardise the rebellion. Funny thing about love though, sometimes it can make liars of us all.

But that’s not his only dilemma. Selena’s up to something, and if Trent knows his Elite, he’s sure it’s going to be reckless. Throw in a manipulative benefactor and a decimated revolutionary base and Trent can’t tell which way holds more danger. But the Cardinal, hell bent on his destruction, sure looks like he’s in the lead.

Citizen versus Cardinal. The battle has begun.

As we’re thrown back into the building rebellion in this unsettling dystopian world, it’s becoming clearer and clearer than man is no longer pulling all of the strings in this place, it’s a terrifying thought. Trent and Lena KNOW they need to fight on for change, their numbers are down and they are the most wanted citizens of Wanmei. But they need to keep going. There is a shift coming, more and more they see how there are many who in growing dissidence are willing to make a stand. Black and white hair-dos here, a zebra painted there…

I enjoyed this book even more than I did the first, I think a big draw for me in this one, was that I was beginning to see more of the relationship growing between Trent and Lena. I love these two together, their chemistry was always there sizzling away under whatever situation they were in, they were prickly as a couple of homicidal hedgehogs half the time, but slowly they are beginning to open up to one another… I loved watching this relationship unfold amongst the heart racing action they were constantly thrown (and throwing themselves) into.

Lena still kicks total butt in my opinion. That girl can do no wrong, she is awe inspiring even to the most hardened guys in their team. She knows what she needs to do, so she goes and tackles it head on, ok so sometimes she should take that advice for her personal problems… and once in a while she should probably stop and clue someone in on her plans, but that is what makes her so fantastic in my opinion. She is SO ridiculously clever. I’m all about female characters being self-sufficient and able to do anything anyone else can and she totally nails that and then some… I really loved how we still are learning more and more about her past and her secrets, the more I learn the more I’ve been able to flesh out a complete picture of her in my mind.

I have to make special mention of Trent here because I LOVE him. When he gets so frustrated with Lena you can feel it vibrating off him. When he follows her into every life threatening situation and backs her up completely you 100% believe his resolve… And in amongst all of the rebellion leader stuff you see the glimpses of the man Lena is falling for. He proved himself to her more than once, and trust me when I say you’ll almost have a heart attack at the end of the book over these two.

Nicola Claire definitely has a knack for keeping the story rolling at a steady pace, while managing to include all of the conversations and private moments that make this so much more than just characters being bounced around in a world of action. The storyline pulled me in, but the two main characters have kept me absorbed. I enjoyed the first book, I’ve loved this second book… I can’t wait to get my hands on the third instalment, I bet Lena and Trent still have a ton of tricks up their sleeves…

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