DEFECTOR (Variants, #2)

Author: Susanne Winnacker
Published on: June 26, 2014
Genre: Sci-fi, romance
Published by:Razorbill
Format: E-book, paperback, Audible

Tessa has finally made peace with her life as a Variant. She and long-time love Alec are officially a couple, and for the first time, she has everything she wants.

But the air is tense at FEA headquarters. An agent has disappeared, and rogue variant organization Abel’s Army is likely the culprit.

When Tessa is summoned for her second mission, she is unexpectedly launched into a massive conspiracy. Her best friend Holly is kidnapped and Tessa knows it was meant to be her. But who is after her? And more importantly, why?

When the FEA’s efforts to rescue Holly don’t yield any results, Tessa takes matters into her own hands. Desperate to save her friend and uncover the mystery behind Abel’s Army, Tessa launches her own investigation—but nothing could prepare her for what she finds. Everyone in her life is harboring secrets: Alec, her estranged mother, even the father she never knew.

The truth will take her out on the road and out of her comfort zone, with danger lurking everywhere. Summoning all of her courage and strength, Tessa must decide who can be trusted and what is worth fighting for—even if it means going against the life she thought she wanted. Her final decision will leave readers breathless.



The suspense has been ratcheted up a few notches in Defector, book two in the Variants series. This book picks up not long after Impostor. Tessa is already used to her life at the FEA (Forces with Extraordinary Abilities, a secret branch of the FBI). She is a Variant—a person born with special powers. In Tessa’s case, she can take the appearance of any other person. To do this, she must first touch them to acquire their DNA. Tessa already put her ability to use during her last case…which was her first, and a success.

To add to Tessa’s joy, she’s now Alec’s girlfriend. Alec is a Variant as well, and one of the top agents at the FEA. Tessa has been secretly in love with him for ages. The only thing that stood between them in the previous book is Alec’s ex-girlfriend. Alec has now become very protective of Tessa. He realized his feelings for her recently, especially after their last mission. Having him around proved extremely useful for Tessa. Being able to turn into anyone gains her more than just different looks. Tessa can’t absorb a Variant’s powers when she turns into them, though.

Holly, Tessa’s best friend, is also in this book. She has one of the most envied powers—invisibility. However, Holly has had trouble controlling her gift. Major, the leader of the FEA, has been making Holly train hard. There are also two new FEA agents, Devon and Phil. The two were introduced in the previous book. Devon has an accelerated healing factor, and he can also heal others. Phil has glands on his palms that produce a paralyzing toxin (sounds gross, I know). Both of them have taken to the FEA well, but they’re still getting used to seeing Tessa in her true body. Most of the time they saw each other in the past, Tessa was in a mission posing as someone else.

After an FEA agent goes missing and a prominent senator is threatened by a rogue group of Variants, Tessa is assigned a new mission. Holly and Alec are also assigned to it. The latter has misgivings about it, though. It’s no secret that Abel’s Army (the rogue Variants) want Tessa for themselves. They know what she can do. During the mission, Holly is kidnapped. Tessa is sure that she was the one the kidnappers wanted, not her friend. She urges the FEA to find and rescue Holly, but they’ve already got their hands full. Holly is valuable, but apparently not enough.

Determined to save the life of her best friend, Tessa begins her own investigation. After finding out some shocking secrets that Major and Alec were keeping from her, Tessa feels betrayed. She goes on the run with Devon. What they will find along their journey is something neither of them expected. Is the FEA really what it appears to be? Tessa is about to find out stuff that will make her question her life.

If you enjoyed Impostor, you will love Defector. With fast-paced action, shocking revelations, and a cast of great characters, this is one of the best sci-fi books I’ve read. The only warning I’d give you is that it is unlikely there’ll be a third book. The author has stepped away from the YA genre until further notice. It’s a big bummer, since the Variants series is marvelous. I enjoyed it so much I’m tempted to buy the book’s rights and write it myself. Only, even if I had the money, I don’t think I could write the book the way only Susanne Winnacker could. Still, it’s great this series exists at all, even if it’s left unfinished. It lasted long enough to imagine what would happen in book three.


Seriously liked it!



Amazon  |  Amazon UK  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo



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