Book Reviews

Book Review: Activated

by Nova Mcbee

Publisher’s Synopsis

After her exploits in Tunisia, Jo Rivers knows she’ll never lead a normal life. She also can’t move on until she grasps the unexpected evolution of her mathematical gift and confronts her unresolved feelings after meeting Noble. With Kai undercover, Noble is the only one who has the answers Jo needs. There’s just one small problem: Noble has vanished, leaving only a coded message in the stars.

When Rafael, a friend from Jo’s days in China, goes missing, it coincides with a new PSS assignment involving a potentially catastrophic satellite breakdown. Jo suspects something more sinister is at play and has no choice but to track down Noble, who may be her only hope to find Rafael and prevent global chaos.

Traveling to the perilous Arctic of Finland, Jo and her band of prodigies team up with unlikely allies from her past to find out what or who is interfering with the satellites— before it’s too late. Trusting her gift, Jo follows a path of numbers that light the way…which leads to answers she didn’t predict.

So, I’ve evidently been reading too many trilogies lately, because I had it in my head that Activated was the last book in the Calculated series. It isn’t. 😅 I realized that when Nova was introducing new twists and turns up until the very end of the book.

But getting onto the book itself.

Activated feels more like Simulated than Calculated, in that it–like Simulated–has a high-tech spy vibe to it that Calculated doesn’t. Like I said in my review of Simulated, it’s a different feel from Calculated, but it isn’t bad.

Minor quibble while I’m talking about spies–Harrison’s reference to Mission Impossible felt a little goofy to me since Mission Impossible is used as one of the comp titles for the series. It seemed awkward to reference it in the book.

I’m not going to say too much about the plot since new layers and elements are introduced frequently. No spoilers! But it was well done.

I really liked getting to see more of Jo’s relationship with her dad. I love family relationships in books. It was also super fun to get to see some characters from Calculated make a reappearance, and I think we might get to see them again in the future.

I would have liked to get to know the PSS team more/see Jo spend more time with them. Like in Simulated, Jo’s PSS teammates tend to do their work from away while Jo is “in the field.” The teammates aren’t flat characters–you can tell that Nova developed each of them and made them unique–but I would have liked to connect with them a little more.

Nova resolves the love triangle in Activated, which I was kind of thankful for. Love triangles just aren’t my thing.

But, I did think it was a little strange for Nova to create a love triangle in one book, just to end it in the next book. Though, the love triangle did make up a lot of Jo’s internal struggles, affect the plot, and do some theme stuff.

Also, I’m glad that Nova made the relationship choice that she did. It makes more sense in my opinion.

Like the other books in the series, Activated takes us around the world to Finland. I also appreciated how Nova utilized the setting and made it an obstacle in the plot.

Overall, Activated is another solid addition to the Calculated series, and I’m excited to see and read what Nova writes next.

Cautions: two kisses; moderate/heavy romance; two characters sleep together for warmth (non-sexual); non-graphic moderate violence

(PS: Today is Activated‘s release day! You can find purchase links for the entire series on Nova’s website!)

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