I received a copy of No Way Out – a novella series – in exchange for an honest review. I have read Shari J. Ryan’s work in the past and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I was super excited when I received this novella series to read and review! No Way Out comprises of three novellas: Sin, Abandoned, and Savior. I think the best way for me to review this collection is to do so individually, then as a whole.
Sin starts this series out extremely strong. It takes place from alternating perspectives of Reese and Sin. Reese has been held captive in a shed for a number of years and has been trying to find a way out of it, yet to no avail. Sin is the child of the man who has been holding her captive. Much of this first book centers around if Reese can escape and if she can trust Sin. This first novella moved extremely fast, the alternating points of view working extremely well for it. It was easy for me to get lost in the characters and try to understand them. And then the cliffhanger! Dang was I so happy that I had this collection so I wouldn’t have to wait!
Abandoned picks up where Sin ends, and the beginning of it was a bit difficult for me to get into. There were backstories from both Sin and Reese that felt a bit clunky and too expositional, and I had wanted to jump right back into the action of where Sin had left off. I believe that Ryan was trying to build up the suspense for the reader and keeping them on their toes. This was a little lost on me as I was slugging through the exposition. I think that some of it could have been cut down and more dialogue could have been used in order to convey some of the events that had been happening in lieu of relying completely on descriptions. There are things that get revealed in Abandoned that feel as if they are completely out of place until it just abruptly ends.
Savior is the final novella of this series, and it made my head spin. While I’d thought the ending of Abandoned was a bit confusing, I was hoping that things would get explained more in Savior – as it is the final book of the series. At the end of Abandoned, there was a dystopian element that was thrown in, and Savior continues this and follows it through to the end. While I am a woman who loves her dystopian, it felt a bit rushed as I was nearing the end and I was expecting there to be more than what I had gotten. The logic and the science of the dystopian world was particularly difficult for me to keep up with, and in this final book, I felt a disconnect with both Reese and Sin. I don’t know if it was because of how deteriorated they became as people and into hallow shells, but it felt empty in aspects. What did work for this book for me what the horror and gore of it all. I had to stop reading this at nighttime because it freaked me right out. Ryan has a beautifully horrific way of describing things!
As a whole, No Way Out was a decent book. I neither loved it or hated it, but it had its moments where I was frustrated with it and also had some very poignant lines that stuck with me. I think maybe what was holding me back for this was that I believe it may have been serialized and then made into a series. Almost each chapter ended on a cliffhanger that felt unnecessary since I was going onto the next chapter. I think Ryan was building on the previous chapters and spinning as many twists she could throw at the reader. I did thoroughly enjoy her use of “breaking the fourth wall” per say and questioning and talking to the reader. The sneaky ways of entering the title throughout the series was also done very nicely. For me, this is a solid 3 star rating book. If dystopian/thriller is your genre of choice, this book is for you.