*SPOILERS* ARC REVIEW: 'ENIGMA' BY TONYA KUPER




Enigma is the second and final book from the Schrodinger's Consortium series. **Note: I received this ARC of Enigma from Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours in exchange for an honest review.**

I initially was supposed to read and review this back in July 2017, when the book came out. But I didn't have time to finish it, and I'm so disappointed that I didn't back then. I feel like I would have been fully invested in it then. However, I read it during this year's 24 in 48 Readathon and I felt more relaxed within my reading.

Like I'd said in my Spotlight post, this second book Enigma almost didn't happen; it was a long time coming. It initially was supposed to release in Fall 2016, but then got pushed back to July 2017. However, I'm so glad that it's finally out for more people to enjoy and hold on to. 

Summary

The highly anticipated sequel to Anomaly will be released the summer of 2017!

Worst. Road Trip. Ever.

Escaping with Reid Wentworth should have been fun, but how can I enjoy it when I just (accidentally) killed someone, my mom and brother are in danger, and the Consortium is trying to enslave humanity? (Yeah, they aren’t fooling around.) So feeling something for Reid Wentworth was not part of the plan. Trying to help unite the Resistance against the Consortium means I can’t be distracted by hot boys.

The Resistance secret hideout isn’t exactly the rebel base of my dreams. A traitor there wants me dead, but we have no idea who it is. And with both the Resistance and the Consortium trying to control me, the only one I can trust is Reid. If we’re going to have any chance of protecting my family, controlling my unstable powers, and surviving the clash between the Oculi factions, I’m going to have to catch this traitor. By using myself as bait.
 

Full Review

In A Nutshell
This book was really good, but not 100% the best like the first book, Anomaly, was. I'd read the first book back in 2014, so my early memories of it are a little fuzzy. But I did really enjoy the story as a whole. In Enigma, I did enjoy it overall, but I also wanted more from the world outside of protecting Josie and Reid. 


What I Loved
I loved the progression of the relationship between Reid and Josie. I was pissed when he'd initially had broken things off with her to protect their status as a whole, but then he realized that he cares about her too much to break up. So instead, they chose to stay together in secret. Even though they had to hide their dating in secret, they still found moments to be together.
They were friends back when Josie's brother Nick was still alive, but after he died, Reid and Josie fell off after she found out Reid killed Nick in the first book. They have this banter that can go from arguing to making out in two seconds, and I just love it so much! I love how Reid respects Josie so much and knows that she can take care of herself as much as he can. He additionally didn't dumb her down when she discovered her defensive shield --- the same one she'd used to kill Santos in book one! Reid training Josie and helping her expand her abilities only made him fall for her even more, and I loved it!


"What do you think?"
"I don't know, I kind of feel like I'm in a Marvel movie."
"You mean, like this could be Batman's second home?"
Josie laughed. "Batman is DC, not Marvel."
"Whatever."
"No, not whatever."
"You're such a nerd."
"Yes, I am. Thank you." Her face broke into a giant grin.

There was this one moment where Reid took Josie to an underground quartz formation place, which was one of Reid's childhood hiding places. They apologized to each other --- her to him for killing his former best friend Santos, and he to her for killing Nick --- all the while making their relationship official. Reid had spent all this time living in regret for basically destroying Josie's family, but Josie realized that the only way to move on was to forgive, so she did. That whole interaction was adorable.


Nick dying was the start of the end of our family. I missed him, my best friend for so long, but I understood he wasn't Nick anymore. And I'd realized as I'd eaten and played games with Mom and Eli tonight that our family wasn't ending --- it was just restarting.

Reid had also set up a live chat for Josie to talk with her best friend Hannah, which I thought was really nice. Hannah wasn't supposed to know about Josie being an Anomaly, or the Oculi world at all, because she's human (what they call Plancks). But since Hannah is an important person in Josie's life, he showed her everything. Hannah was okay with everything, even asking good questions about Oculi government and politics.

While they were researching people on who to trust in the Hub, which is their official Oculi headquarters located in a deserted mountain, Reid's father Harrison comes back to life!! Well, he was never really dead, just went into hiding for several years. His relationship with Reid was cute to watch, especially their secret hand gestures so they can know when to talk in private.

Additionally, Josie's connection with her mother and younger brother was nice. In book one, she and her mother didn't have much to talk about after Nick died, even less when Josie found out she was an Anomaly. Her parents were the one of the Founding Families of the Resistance, so that allowed Josie to get along more with her mother. Her brother Eli was the cutest little smolbean, and I just wanted to protect him protected at all costs!


I also loved how much we got to know about Josie's experiences with anxiety. She's been having screaming nightmares right around the time of Santos' death, and she'd had a hard time moving on and forgiving herself throughout almost the entire book. There was also a point of when she'd thought she found the mole posing as Reid in the Hub, but she lied to the real Reid so he wouldn't worry about her even more. I'm most glad that Josie chose to talk to her boyfriend about that particular moment instead of pushing him away; I'm so sick of seeing our YA heroines thinking they can do everything themselves, even give themselves up for bait to protect everyone else. However, she told Reid about her anxiety at the end of the story, even started seeing a therapist at the Hub, which I thought was very helpful.

I also have moments with anxiety, and even though I'm undiagnosed, reading Josie's moments with mental illness was most relatable to mine. I've had moments where I couldn't sleep at night because of bad dreams, feeling like the walls are closing in and I can't do anything about it. Talking to loved ones helps, even if they don't understand, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with getting professional help.

At the end of the last chapter, Tonya left an author's note leaving official hotline numbers:

Suicide Prevention Hotline - 1800-273-8255
Anxiety and Depression Association of America
Boys Town National Hotline - 1800-448-3000

As someone who holds much influence and inspiration to other young readers and writers in the world, I was certainly touched by Tonya's efforts to include mental health awareness in this book.

Also, I don't want to brag, but Tonya also listed me in her acknowledgments page!! I've never been in any author's Many Thanks page, so it was very nice to see my name amongst many of her close friends and colleagues who loved the series as much as I do. Thank you so much, Tonya! ❤

Big Wookie hugs to some of my biggest fans and book bloggers and vloggers who saw something in Anomaly and helped make this series successful. Ben Alderson (Benjamin of Tomes), Glitter Magazine, Lea at USA Today Happy Ever After, A Leisure Moment blog, Fallon and Morgan at Seeing Double in Neverland blog, Sarah at Aphonic Sarah blog, Ana at Ana Loves Blog, Ivey Waters at The Hopeless Reader, Danielle Pitter, Ayah Assem, Bibliojunkies, Tanya at T&G Book Boutique, Michele Luker, Sara Santana, Valerie Tejeda, Royal Social Media, Alexandra, Sylvia and Cassie, and many more I'm sure I'm forgetting. 

What I Wanted More Of
I would have liked to see more sexual tension between Reid and Josie. Since they had to hide their relationship from the people in the Hub, they didn't try very hard to hide their trainer-trainee relationship from the others. I think the only people who knew about Reid and Josie personally was Meg, Josie's mom. And Meg was actually okay with it. She knew Reid had liked Josie forever, so it was only a matter of time before they got together. But slowly, everyone in the friends group got that they were together. They didn't hide it well enough, but I'm also glad they didn't because they had bigger problems, like the Mole wanting Josie dead. 

I also would have liked to see more of Reid and Harrison's interactions. They had interacted a lot during this novel, but considering that he faked his own disappearance a few years back, making Reid thinking he was probably dead, and then he comes back, there wasn't much explanation as to why or how. There was just secret hand gestures and a lot of "we'll talk later", but they hardly talked like that.

Additionally, even though I got to read more about the Hub environment. Granted, reading about the inside of the Hub on the bottom of a mountain was really fun. But I still feel like I didn't get to know the other parts of the Hub. It was mostly the Caf (cafeteria), living quarters, and the Open (which is like their version of a main street or gathering area). But we never saw the outside of the Hub, probably because it was full of security and held behind an illusion to keep Plancks away. I would have liked to see the environment outside of the Hub. 

Writing Style
Tonya's writing style still had a simple style that was easy to follow. There were a lot less pop culture references than from the first book, but still enough to keep Josie's personality consistent. (She is the nerd, after all!) So sayings like "Thank Thor" and "Dear Loki" were a little cheesy, but still cute! There was a lot more physics and scientific terms added that made Tonya's writing more serious, but it wasn't enough to totally confuse me. It felt like she used her scientific knowledge to teach us small lessons for the story.

Final Thoughts
Even though I really liked this installment in the duology, I wanted a lot more from it, but it wasn't enough to completely hate it. I still love Anomaly and Enigma as a whole, so I'll be happy to follow Tonya Kuper in whatever she has next for these characters. Maybe we'll see Josie and Reid in a novella, or maybe get a backstory on Josie's parents in a spin-off? Only time will tell. 

Rating: 3.5/5 stars


Did you read ENIGMA by Tonya Kuper? What were your thoughts on it? Leave comments below!


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