Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Early copy courtesy of Hashtag Reads (Released 22nd August 2019)

The thrilling follow-up to JINXED, from the author of the magical POTION DIARIES adventures! 

When Lacey Chu wakes up in a hospital room with no recollection of how she got there, she knows something is up. But with her customizable smart pet, Jinx, missing in action and Moncha, the company behind the invention of the robot pet, up to something seriously sinister, she’s got a lot of figuring out to do. Lacey must use all her engineering skills if she has a chance of stopping Moncha from carrying out their plans. But can she take on the biggest tech company in North America armed with only a level 1 robot beetle...?

Before I start this review, I just have to sing Amy McCulloch's (Amy Alward, for any Potion Diaries fans) praises. Unleashed is the second in the Jinxed duology; and as Jinxed was one of my favourite reads of 2018 - I was excited, but also terrified for this release. I, of course, had nothing to worry about, as Amy exceeded my expectations, and more.

Unleashed is set in a world where bakus exist. Bakus were designed by MONCHA, and are essentially advanced smartphones, that come in the interactive form of a pet. Depending on the money and social class you have, you can buy different levels of bakus; starting from Level 1, which can be something small, like a scarab beetle, or a butterfly - or they can be Level 5, and be something majestic like an eagle.

Our protagonist, Lacey Chu, is 15 years old and attends Profectus Academy - a prestigious school where you are required to have a level 3 baku before acceptance is admitted. If you've read Jinxed, you will know that Lacey had just that, in the form of Jinx...until the end of book one.

Lacey wakes up a month after the events of book one from a coma, and remembers very little of the events that occurred. She has no idea how she ended up in a hospital, or why she is now back with her level 1 scarab beetle baku, Slick. As the story unfolds, and we learn that her place at Profectus has been revoked, Lacey starts to piece together the events of that night, and suspicions arise of people she once trusted implicitly. And she really does have a bad feeling about Slick...

As Lacey plays detective, her mum starts acting differently; a familiar face appears, and the revelations come in thick, and fast...

Are bakus to blame for the sinister going's on? Is technology taking over the world? Or is it the work of MONCHA - the makers of bakus? Team Tobias is on a mission to find out.

Honestly, I find this book utterly terrifying; even though it's futuristic, and we know it's not real...yet. Yet being the operative word there. Technology is ever-changing, and evolving so fast, that it makes this book almost believable - which is a scarier thought than any horror book has ever given me.

Although Jinxed was action-packed, and I didn't feel that it was lacking; now that I've read the second book, I really feel like Jinxed was a scene-setter. The perfect build-up, and introduction to the world, before the masterpiece that is Unleashed.

I have to say, Jinx is the highlight of the duology for me. Amy does something so clever in making him appear so lifelike, whilst also highlighting what he is - a piece of technology. Even though we know this as the reader, it's so difficult not to fall in love with him, and care for him as we do the rest of our characters. His sarcasm and wit reminds me of Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch - and I am here for that.

This book will make you feel so many emotions. The ending had me in absolute pieces (no spoilers, of course). But one moment, you think something terrible has happened, and you're sobbing out of heartbreak. And the next it's overtaken with relief, and joy. It's a real rollercoaster.

Amy's writing style is one I've truly fallen in love with over the years. It's so captivating, and leaves you unable to put it down. It's so well-paced; the character development is stunning, and the world-building is so intricately done - you're left wanting for nothing.

Lacey is such a headstrong, independent female character (with very little love interest - hallelujah!), and we need more characters like her; especially for the younger audience to read.

Unleashed was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and I'm so pleased it lived up to expectations. Amy really is fast becoming one of my favourite authors to read. This duology really was pure joy to read.

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