________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 29 . . . . March 30, 2018


Escalate. (Retribution).

Sigmund Brouwer.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2018.
149 pp., trade pbk., pdf & epub, $9.95 (pbk.)
ISBN 978-1-4598-1484-4 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4598-1485-1 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-1486-8 (epub).

Grades 8 and up / Ages 13 and up.

Review by Lacey Crowie.

** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



She surveyed the room and caught my eye. I was geeked out again, right down to the slicked-sideways hair. I wasn't worried about her recognizing me as Jace Wyatt, as in Jace Wyatt of the Wyatt Foundation, or Jace Wyatt, son of disgraced and recently jailed surgeon Winchester Wyatt. Her money didn't come close to traveling in the same circles as mine. I dressed this way because of some ancient Chinese military strategy I'd read about in a book called The Art of War: "He who exercise no forethought is sure to be captured by them." In other words, don't underestimate your enemy. And if underestimating your enemy was a bad thing, then getting your enemy to underestimate you was a good thing. Besides, if you lower the expectations of the people around you, it's much easier to live up to them.

Escalate is part of the "Retribution" series and is one of the three sequel novels, each written by a different author and told from the perspective of a different main character. While the "Retribution" series is an excellent collection for young readers, and especially reluctant readers, overall, Escalate fell flat for me.

      The main character, Jace Wyatt, is part of Team Retribution. His role consists of being both the muscle and the observant as he is skilled at both boxing and reading people. When Team Retribution is hired by a late-teen girl to help find out if her dad is having an affair, Jace is sent in to handle it. Meanwhile, he has his own secret side project of looking into his real birth family.

      As occurs in other books in the series, the plot moves quickly, and there is little character development, although this is to be expected in the book's short time span. However, there is little to no physical description of Jace and his calculating personality, and, although this is intentional, it leaves the novel feeling very robotic.

      Although the vocabulary and concept of Escalate are easy to grasp, the overall plot attempts to follow two mysteries. Due to this, I found myself confusing facts and details and, at times, had to refer to previous scenes. That the plot may be hard to follow for some readers could be discouraging.

Recommended with Reservations.

Lacey Crowie works in the School of Business Dean's office at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and is currently completing her Master's in Children's Literature at the University of British Columbia.

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