Proof of Lies (Anastasia Phoenix #1)
By: Diana Rodriguez Wallach
Publication Date: March 7th, 2017
Some secrets are best kept hidden…
Anastasia Phoenix has always been the odd girl out, whether moving from city to international city with her scientist parents or being the black belt who speaks four languages.
And most definitely as the orphan whose sister is missing, presumed dead.
She’s the only one who believes Keira is still alive, and when new evidence surfaces, Anastasia sets out to follow the trail—and lands in the middle of a massive conspiracy. Now she isn’t sure who she can trust. At her side is Marcus, the bad boy with a sexy accent who’s as secretive as she is. He may have followed her to Rome to help, but something about him seems too good to be true.
Nothing is as it appears, and when everything she’s ever known is revealed to be a lie, Anastasia has to believe in one impossibility.
She will find her sister.
One of my favorite sub-genres of YA is spy thrillers. And I especially love when they are done well. International espionage and chases spanning countries are an absolute delight for me, as well as beautifully detailed European settings. I love when the author’s descriptions of far away places feels authentic, and Proof of Lies had this in spades and so much more.
Diana’s characters were full of life and strongly realized emotion. Anastasia’s grief, her loss, her heartbreak over her family was palpable. Her frustration, too. Her anger over the injustices served to her and her survivor’s guilt hung on to her thoughts and actions and permeated her relationships. How she dealt with her obstacles felt real, her depression relatable and, to someone who has battled depression in the past, achingly familiar. However, Anastasia’s need for vengeance wasn’t her entire character. Funny and witty, Anastasia had a dry sense of humor that I loved. It lightened up the more tense parts of the narrative and kept the more serious bits from falling into, as Anastasia would call it, a “funk.” And her relationship with Kiera? Diana wrote with a full grasp on the intricacies and subtle dynamics of sibling relationships. The book read with an innate understanding of these bonds and the delicate balance of simultaneously being murderously mad with one’s sibling and wanting to hurt anyone who threatened them.
My favorite part of the story, other than the strong sisterly bond between Anastasia and Kiera that gave the book life, was the bond between Anastasia and Charlotte. It was much more than a simple friendship between two girls who shared the same living space. Charlotte was an extension of Anastasia’s family, willing to risk just as much as Anastasia to rescue Kiera, but approaching the situation with much more caution and a much leveller head. I also loved how Charlotte functioned as a bridge between the two sisters when they were at odds.
As for the rest of the characters, the villains were menacing enough while not being over the top and Marcus, the love interest, was a sweetheart, though that may offend his leather clad image. The relationship between Marcus and Anastasia never overshadowed the plot, but played alongside the narrative nicely and felt believable. And my favorite part about it? It was never used to “heal” Anastasia’s grief. As long as a frustrating love triangle doesn’t pop up, or some random crazy ex, I’ll love Anastasia and Marcus until the end of this series. And there also was love to go around as there is a hint of something developing down the road for Charlotte.
With only a few hang ups, I’m still a little confused over the timeline of certain events that took place way before the book started, Proof of Lies spun an entertaining and dramatic web. The ending was satisfying, I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that the main mystery is solved, but so many more questions were raised and the long term story arc became much more twisty and complex. The biggest question I want answered, though, is: when will the sequel be released?
Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us. An advanced copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.