Lies That Bind (Anastasia Pheonix #2)
By: Diana Rodriguez Wallach
Publication Date: March 6th, 2018
The Italian Job meets Bourne Identity meets Spy Kids in this sequel to Proof of Lies.
What if saving yourself meant destroying everyone you love?
Still reeling from everything she learned while searching for her sister in Italy, Anastasia Phoenix is ready to call it quits with spies. Then she and her friends learn that Marcus’s—her kinda boyfriend—brother, Antonio, has also gone missing. Luckily, they track down Antonio in a fiery festival in England, only to learn he has been working for the enemy, Department D, the whole time. But Antonio wants out. And so does Anastasia.
But before any of them can leave espionage and their parents’ crimes behind them, a close friend turns up dead. No one is safe, not while Department D still exists. So Anastasia and her friends embark on a dangerous plan to bring down an entire criminal empire, using every Dresden Kid they can find.
As their world becomes surrounded by spies, and the children of spies, Anastasia starts to question who she can really trust. Including her best friends…
Well, hell. If you were around the blog this time last year, you would have noticed that Proof of Lies was a favorite read and that I could not wait to get my hands on the sequel, Lies That Bind. I thought it would be epic, I thought it would be fantastic, I thought I would love it. I kind of wish I was still back in that fantasy of what could be.
To say Lies That Bind was a disappointment is putting it mildly (and to fully air my disappointment, there may be a few, or more, spoilers past this point). There is still a strong sibling bond between Anastasia and her sister, but this is mitigated by the fact that her sister wants to be treated like the adult she has never acted like and she continuously shows she is incapable of being. Also, it is getting tiring that Keira is repeatedly attracted to the bad guy, repeatedly refuses to see it, and insists that she isn’t stupid (when she is and obviously needs a babysitter). There is a reason that Anastasia continues to treat you with kid gloves, Keira, and it’s not because you make reliable choices.
There are also the bumps that come with Anastasia’s relationship with Marcus. Not only does he act all weird when she tells him she’s a virgin, way to be a dick, dude, but he refuses to see the problems and (gaping) flaws in his brother’s story and is blindly loyal to his parents and very ready to throw anyone else under the bus so that he can continue believing that his family is good. He also repeatedly picks his super obviously suspicious brother over Anastasia way too often.
As for the villains, there are several. From Marcus’s obviously horrid parents to his obviously suspicious brother to Anastasia’s own parents, there is plenty of things for this book to deal with. Anastasia willingly listens to logic where her parents are concerned, she doesn’t want them to be awful, but she can’t deny the evidence without looking like an idiot. This, however, does not seem to bother Marcus or Antonio who both try really, really hard to come up with convoluted ways in which their parents aren’t bad and they don’t have to face those facts. It becomes very exasperating, very quickly. On top of this, the most immediate villain is Antonio. It isn’t surprising that Keira wouldn’t think twice about anything, because she’s never been known for having any common sense, but everyone else I would have thought would have picked up on his rather suspicious and convenient and coincidental actions and the happenings around them along with Anastasia. Instead, there results a bunch of gaslighting in the sense that Anastasia is made to feel bad for questioning him and she is continually painted as in the wrong.
Overall, Lies That Bind was a frustrating read. Anastasia was the only character that had any sense and she was repeatedly attacked for it. The romance was barely there and when it was it was unsatisfying. The sisterly relationship that I had come to love that drove the first book worked better when Keira wasn’t even there. As for the ending, it was awful in the fact that nothing seemed resolved and Antonio was forgiven all too easily, as if all the work he put into messing everything up, not only the entire plan to bring down Department D but also Marcus and Anastasia’s relationship, was negligible and something easily recovered from.
Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us. A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.