Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: August 16, 2011
Series or Standalone: 13 to Life #3
Source: Erica @ The Book Cellar
Rating: 5 Stars
I just want to start out by warning you this is a long review but I do not care because I have a lot to say about this wonderful little book. It’s also completely free of spoilers from previous books and this book. And it’s a long review filled with lots of love.
I did not think it was possible for me to love the 13 to Life series anymore than I already did, but Bargains and Betrayals proves I can love it even more. And boy, do I love it. I have previously reviewed both 13 to Life and Secrets and Shadows here on the blog and have confessed my love for them, but Bargains and Betrayals blew me away. Everything about Bargains and Betrayals was spot on: the writing, the characters, the story. Everything.
So initially I was a bit worried about this book because Shannon Delany decided to do something a little different in the third book in this series which was to tell the story from both Jessie’s and Alexi’s point of view. Up until this book, the story had been told only from Jessie’s point of view so this switched worried me a bit. However, as I was reading, I realized this decision worked perfectly. It was really interesting to learn more about Alexi and see a different perspective on the story. There was a lot about Alexi that I did not know about before this book but I learned through his point of view. One thing that Shannon Delany was really good at was deciding when to switch between the point of views of the two characters. Every time the story jumped from Jessie to Alexi or vice versa, it made perfect sense and the story continued to flow as one. I really hope that Shannon Delany continues utilizing multiple point of view in future books in this series because it really adds to the writing and the story. And I would really like a book that has Max’s perspective, but that’s just cause I love Max.
Shannon Delany’s writing in this book was her best yet. I feel like the writing in this book was the strongest it has been in the series. Shannon Delany was able to balance the really serious scenes with some hilarity which I always love. But seriously, this book had so many beautifully written in lines and phrases that I was in love. I actually have a list of them because they were just perfect. One of my favorite quotes in the entire book was “Sometimes are hearts should rule our heads.” It just really describes the feeling of the book for me and was such a great line in the scene. I definitely feel like that as this series has gone on the writing has gotten stronger in each book and truly, the writing was the best in this book so far. It flowed perfectly and had some really heart breaking scenes and lines.
Bargains and Betrayals was one of those books that I was very emotionally invested in. So much, that at points I was yelling at the book because I did not want characters to do something that I knew they were going to do anyways. I was very into this book, so into that I found myself talking to (in a good, not crazy way). Which leads me to the story. The stakes were definitely the highest they have been for Jess and Pietr and the Rusakovas. I’m going to keep this spoiler free for previous books, but if you know what happened in Secrets and Shadows I bet you can figure out why. A lot of what happened in Bargains and Betrayals I seriously did not see coming. I should have know from the title that there would be huge bargains and huge betrayals, but seriously, I did not think some of those bargains would ever occur, nor some of those betrayals. This book changes everything for the characters. A lot of things happen that will have a huge impact on their lives in the following books. I really want to talk about some huge spoilery things in the book, but will hold back because you need to experience them on your own. The story will keep you on the edge of your seat and even have you yelling at some of the character’s choices.
One of my favorite things in this book was the character development. Jessie, Pietr, Alexi, Max, Kat, Amy, Derek, Sarah, Wanda, and Leon have come so far since 13 to Life and there growth is really apparent in this book. Pietr and Jessie have come so far. They are drastically different people because of what occurs in Bargains and Betrayals. I really like the people Jess and Pietr have become. I love how both of them are willing to put those they love first. New depth has been added to the characters in this book. I just want to say, I still love the same characters, like Jessie, Pietr, Max, Kat and Alexi but my hatred for some characters * cough * Derek * cough * grew even more. I felt like some of the decisions the characters made in this book really will define them in coming books and change who they are.
Also, I really need to talk about Pietr and Jess’s relationship in this book. It was perfect. Seriously, this is what their relationship should have been from the beginning. Jess and Pietr truly care for each other and I felt their relationship really shows that. When you see what each of them risks for the other, what they give up for each other, it tugs at your heartstrings. Also, there was a certain scene in this book that was done perfectly and made me extremely happy and you will definitely know what it is when you read it.
Now, I have to sit back and wait until Destiny and Deception comes out. And once again, the wait is going to be torturous because of the ending. Shannon Delany really knows how to write an ending that leaves you wanting more. When I got to the ending of this book, I did not realize there was no more pages left and then burst out “What?” because it just another killer ending. I want Destiny and Deception now to find out what happens next!
Bargains and Betrayals is by far the best book in the 13 to Life series. If you haven’t read this series I HIGHLY recommend you pick it up and read it. Each book gets better and better and I cannot wait to see where Shannon Delany takes the story next in Destiny and Deception.