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  • Writer's pictureGrace A. Johnson

Book Review: Deceived by Madisyn Carlin

Stars: 3.5

Synopsis: When Therese Westa is tasked with killing Holder Lygor, one of King Eligor’s bodyguards, she expects the job to be quick and easy. However, as her mission is drawn out into many complicated steps and she learns more about her target, she begins to see that she’s falling headfirst into a plot that reeks of betrayal, deceit, and treachery.

Y’all. I quite honestly don’t know what to think about Deceived. I typically have a few days—or a week or two—to mull over books before I read them...but my review is due tomorrow and I just finished reading this a few hours ago. So suffice to say, I’m kinda winging this thing. Maybe I’ll figure out what my thoughts are as I write! *winks*

To be honest, getting into Deceived was a struggle! The plot was very confusing and hard to follow, and the focus kept shifting between our four main characters—Therese, Ivelle, Holder, and Rogan—and a very fast pace. I don’t have a problem following multiple points-of-view; however, when I can’t decide who’s the main character and I don’t have a clue of what’s going on, that makes it pretty difficult.

Things definitely cleared up toward the end—and Y’ALL. THAT CLIFFHANGER. I NEED BOOK TWO SO BAD.

*clears throat * But up until that point, the plot was all over the place (and a lot of things weren’t explained, at least not very well) and the story kinda dragged. I felt like there was a lot of unnecessary back-and-forth that detracted from the story.

Speaking of the story, we had an amazing concept and premise here. Now, some aspects (like the pacing) weren’t executed quite as well as I had hoped...but others were spot-on! (I’ll get to the good stuff in a minute, don’t worry!) Had we had some balance, I think the story would have been so epic!

The that was interesting! The first third of the story was so subtle that I couldn’t be sure if there even was an allegory (even though I knew there was), but the rest of the story laid it on thick. I personally prefer more symbolism than full-out retellings, but to each his own! At least it fit the story and tinged the whole plot with intrigue and drama, which I loved!

My final qualm...the writing. Carlin’s writing wasn’t bad at all...but it wasn’t very balanced or immersive. One moment, she’s got this lovely description; the next moment, she’s breezing through things and I don’t even notice that we’ve went from one place to another! I think with a quick line edit, we could’ve whipped her prose into shape and then it would’ve been as good guessed it!


I don’t know how, but the characterization and arc development in Deceived was. so. good! Therese, who I’d assumed was the protagonist, was kinda pushed to the side, which—to be honest—was fine by me, because Holder, Rogan, and Ivelle were PERFECTION. I adored Ivelle and her snarky attitude (I...never love snarky that’s saying a LOT). Rogan was just augh. Amazing. I loved him. Holder was so sweet and, really, he made the perfect protagonist! (Sorry, Therese!)

The secondary characters like Anastasia, Claudine and Borros, Svetlana (*gags*), and the others were all so vivid and intriguing! (And, in some cases, downright detestable and nauseating.)

Seriously, the characters were simply the best part! (I feel like I’ve been saying that about a lot of novels lately…)

Y’all know how most people say that sequels aren’t as good as the first book? I’m inclined to disagree. I’ve seen many times—and I think this is one of them—where the first book is introduces great characters and establishes an interesting story...but it’s confusing. Or slow. Or too quick. Or something.

But then the sequel comes along, and it whips the plot into shape. It ties up the loose ends. It completes the character arcs. It wraps everything up in a neat little bow, throwing in everything you’d hoped for for the story, and in the end? The sequel is better.

I think such is the case with Deceived, which is why I MUST have Betrayed immediately! I can just see everything unfolding...*gaze fades off into the abyss*

Long story short (*coughs* make that short story shorter), there are a few bumps in the road in Deceived, and I lost my way a few times...but the characters and the promise of an epic sequel kept me going, making this a satisfactory story in the end!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author. All opinions expressed are my own.

(Speaking of opinions...I realize now I had more to share. If you're interested, just shout OPINIONS in the comments!)


snag your copy


giveaway + preorder swag

Y'all, Madi has some FANTASTIC goodies for those have preordered Deceived (or ordered it during the duration of this blog tour, which is from April 25th to May 7th)! You can receive some epic swag, like an autographed bookplate and a character card (pictured to the right!) that is absolutely gorgeous, if you ask me!

All you have to do is fill out the form below to receive your bookish goodies!

Not interested in preordering? Not to worry! Madi's also got this AMAZING chance to win a SIGNED paperback copy of Deceived AND that beautiful character art!

The giveaway ends May 10th, and all you have to do is click the button below!

If you don't have social media, that's perfectly all right! All you have to do then is comment on each post in the tour and you're entered!


the tour

Monday, April 25

Madisyn Carlin | Intro + Book Spotlight

Joy Woodbury | Book Review

Tuesday, April 26

Madisyn Carlin | Release Day! + Fun Facts

Vanessa Hall | Author Interview

Autumn | Book Spotlight

Wednesday, April 27

Esther | Book Review

Saraina | Character Interview: Therese

Joy Woodbury | Guest Post

Thursday, April 28

Madisyn Carlin | Group Interview

Kristina Hall | Book Review

Friday, April 29

Vanessa Hall | Book Spotlight

Olivia | Book Review

Sherrice | Author Interview

Saturday, April 30

Madisyn Carlin | Character Spotlight: Holder

Stephanie | Character Spotlight: Rogan

Sherrice | Book Review

Olive Creed | Book Spotlight

Monday, May 2

Vanessa Hall | Book Review

Grace Johnson | Guest Post + Book Spotlight

Stephanie | Book Spotlight + Character Spotlight: Ivelle

Tuesday, May 3

Madisyn Carlin | Meet the Characters

Stephanie | Book Review

Wednesday, May 4

Grace Johnson | Author Interview

Saraina | Character Interview: Rogan

Thursday, May 5

Madisyn Carlin | Character Q+A

Issabelle Perry | Character Spotlight: Therese

Friday, May 6

Grace Johnson | Book Review

Autumn – Author Interview

Jenavieve Rose | Book Review

Saturday, May 7

Madisyn Carlin | Blog Tour Wrap-Up

Olive Creed | Author Interview

Katja Labonte | Book Review

Saraina | Author Interview


about the author

Madisyn Carlin is a Christian, homeschool graduate, blogger, voracious bookdragon, and author. When not spending time with her family or trekking through the mountains, she weaves tales of redemption, faith, and action.

Want to connect? Find her social media links here.

yours in spirit and script,


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Saraina Whitney
May 07, 2022

YES FOR THE CHARACTERS!!!! Lol, Ivelle's snarkines really is awesome!! And like Vanessa said, I loved how distinct each character was! I'm still reading DECEIVED, but I agree that the characters are the best part of it. (I love the worldbuilding too.)


Grace A. Johnson
Grace A. Johnson
May 10, 2022
Replying to

#RovelleForever #TholderforLife (Haha, you have a point there! Better watch what I say then, eh? XDD) Yeah, and I'm a visual person...I like having lots of descriptions to give me a detailed mental picture, you know?


Madisyn Carlin
May 07, 2022

Thank you for taking the time to read "DECEIVED".

Grace A. Johnson
Grace A. Johnson
May 08, 2022
Replying to

My pleasure! Thank YOU!!!


Kristina Hall
May 06, 2022

I need BETRAYED!!!

Grace A. Johnson
Grace A. Johnson
May 07, 2022
Replying to

Me too!!!


Vanessa Hall
May 06, 2022

Ooh, yes, the character development was so great - and also how distinct each character was from one another. I was very impressed by that, because four POVs is just so hard. (At least for me, hahaha!)

And yeah, I need BETRAYED. It's not right to make readers suffer for an entire year after that sort of ending. 🤣

Grace A. Johnson
Grace A. Johnson
May 07, 2022
Replying to

YES! So was I - and I write more than four POVs!

EXACTLY! (*coughs* I'm a fine one to be talking, though, aren't I? I've made y'all wait over two years for BAD.)


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