After surviving a danger-filled trip to Peru, Russ Becker looked forward to a laid-back summer spending time with his new love, Nadia. But plans go awry when he and his friends are invited by the Praetorian Guard to the event of the season. The mission? To protect the president and her daughter from assassination at the elegant Presidential Black Tie Bash. While Nadia struggles with her own troubles at home, Russ is torn, but determined to do his job, not easy when he doesn’t know whom to trust. Battling for his life against the evil Associates, Russ confronts his worst fears and learns shocking revelations about those around him.
Absolution begins exactly where Wanderlust left off. The plot unfolds quickly, with Russ, Mallory, and Jameson being called to DC to protect the President and her daughter.
While Russ prepares to leave, Nadia’s unhappy mother forces her to become even more secluded, leaving Mallory open to maker her moves on Russ.
I actually really enjoyed the plot with Nadia’s mom, who only becomes more and more controlling until she attacks Nadia with a kitchen knife. I don’t think mental illnesses are addressed enough in YA lit, so I appreciated McQuestion’s willingness to tackle such a tough topic, although we never learn what type of mental illness Nadia’s mom has.
Jameson and Russ banter and fight like typical teen guys. I’ve never staked out a high school boy’s locker room, but if I do (only because I’d have to pick up my kid) I’m convinced I’d overhear conversations like theirs.
One new character I enjoyed getting to know is Layla, the President’s daughter and Russ’ date to the Black Tie Bash. She is spunky. Full of Sass. Sexy. And just a bit dirty. I highly doubt she’ll be crowned a Disney Princess anytime soon.
Nadia joins Russ in DC the only way she can—by astral projecting—the perfect way to eavesdrop on conversations (including a kiss with Layla) and discover just how many people are not what they seem.
There were a couple places characters could’ve been pushed further to create more conflict. For example, Nadia was upset at seeing the kiss, but it didn’t do too much damage to her and Russ’ relationship. This could’ve been a huge catalyst for conflict.
Also, toward the end were a handful of plot holes I would’ve preferred filled. For example, at one point Nadia is said to have mess with “the space-time continuum”, but we don’t see any consequences for this. Nor do we see any long-lasting consequences for Mallory’s actions (I don’t want to spoil anything!) or how the necklace that was supposed to have disabled Nadia did so while in Russ’ pocket. It made the ending feel a little too convenient.
That being said, I would love to see these characters come back for another series. And I hope they do!