This second installment of the Delphi Trilogy picks up right where The League of Delphi ended. For those who have not read the first novel, here is a brief synopsis of what you missed.
Zach White is your average 16-year-old kid. Just a normal teenager really. He loves his laptop, really digs girls, and has several close friends he adores - even if they are computer hackers. Unfortunately, Zach’s life is not normal, and it has not been normal in a long while.
It didn’t start off this way, you see. As a child, Zach’s life was very normal: mom, dad, school, and friends. He lived in a small town called Arcanville. A town of tidy neatness and polite people. A place with seemingly no crime, filled with homes surrounded by uniform walls and gardens. A hamlet that was more likely to have been the subject of one of Norman Rockwell’s paintings than to be a place he would have to flee from. But once his father died in an airplane crash, Zach and his mother did indeed leave this idyllic local, vanishing into the night, and once they arrived in Europe, his mother had immediately enrolled Zach in a French boarding school under a false name and disappeared, only visiting him sporadically and for short periods of time. Her reason for all this that she was protecting him from the people who were looking for him. People that she could not let find him. These people are why they had left Arcanville. These people were why they had to each live a false life and do without any family. And these people were why he must never ever return to Arcanville no matter what!
Like any good teenager, Zach didn’t understand what was going on with his mother. Oh, she said all this cloak and dagger stuff was for his own protection, but how did he know that was true? Maybe, she had just lost her mind. You heard of it happening. And so when his mother died unexpected, Zach did what any good teenager would do: he ignored her warnings and immediately returned to Arcanville.
Once back in his old hometown, Zach gets a job at the local coffee house and sees that things in Arcanville are stranger than he remembered; an undertone of weirdness permeating the very air. So when a childhood friend commits suicide, Zach begins to investigate. Along the way, he meets a strange girl with mental issues named Ashley, who also believes Arcanville is hiding something sinister. Together, the two find themselves falling in love and rooting out the secrets of this place. And just when they believe they know what is going on, they uncover an even more terrible truth than they had suspected, for Arcanville is part of a world spanning conspiracy! A shadowy tangle of money, power, pharmaceutical experiments, and prophecies so vast that the two of them have no idea what they have stepped into.
It is more than the two teenagers can handle. Soon, they find themselves pursued by people more than willing to kill them for what they know. At least, they are willing to kill Zach, but Ashley is a special case. For you see, the League of Delphi controls the world by knowing what is going to happen in the future. This knowledge provided to them by their Pythia, or oracle, and Ashley has been identified as the next candidate to be the Delphi Pythia! The League will stop at nothing to recover their new priestess!
So as The Delphi Deception begins, Zach and Ashley are in the hospital after a near death escape from police. Unfortunately, Ashley is firmly in control of the League and is in a mental health ward, injected with the drugs necessary to induce her prophecy trance. Zach, on the other hand, finds himself able to escape from the hospital but has no idea what to do now. Should he leave Ashley to her fate or rescue her? And if he tries to rescue her, how can he fight against a world spanning organization more than willing to kill to protect its power?
Like the first installment of this series, I found The Delphi Deception a real page turner. Zach's continued efforts to uncover his past, unravel the mystery of the League of Delphi, and rescue Ashley kept the story moving along frantically to its cliffhanger ending. In fact, there was never any dull moments in this novel, because Mr. Everheart skillfully interwove secrets of Arcanville and the League together with teenage betrayal and filled other chapters with mysterious prophecies that were never exactly what Zach - or I - thought they were. So a big congratulations to Mr. Everheart for penning such an engaging YA novel without having to resort to anything "fantastical" like vampires, werewolves, or half-bloods.
Naturally, I have to mention those things which I did not enjoy about the novel, so here goes my short list.
As I mentioned in my review of the first book, Zach seems a bit "naive" at times in these books. He is in dangerous circumstances of course, over his head without a doubt, but even taking this into consideration, he does things which make you scratch your head and think "He is really going to do this. This is stupid." And it was not a single time or even two that I felt this way but over and over again. Like I said, I understand he is a kid dealing with a situation he is incapable of handling, but I would have expected a bit more wisdom on his part, especially since the first book described him as a street suave, young man.
My second complaint is that The Delphi Deception takes place in the same location as the first novel, and while Mr. Everheart does his best to introduce new situations and places, he is forced to plow back over freshly tilled soil by revisiting the same locations and same issues. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it was just difficult to read about Zach and his new sidekick doing the same things that he and Ashley did in the first book. "We have already been there and done that, give me something new" is what I was thinking at times.
Even with those issues, however, The Delphi Deception is a very good novel, and I can’t wait to see where Mr. Everheart goes with the series.