You need to read the first book in this series The Informationist as it sets up who Michael is and her past, which is basically what caused her to be the character that she is. I also really enjoyed this book (one of the best debuts I have ever read), and I think a must read for those who are looking for an intriguing thriller.
Eight years ago a man walked 5 year old Hannah out of her regular life an into that of cult known as The Chosen. The Chosen believe that any act is okay as long as that act is done with love. This means that child abuse and exploitation are regular norms within The Chosen. Hannah's mother has been searching for her ever sense and has finally found her. They decide to hire Michael Munroe to get her back. Michael knows that this is likely a suicide mission, but one of the people that is asking for her help is her long time and Chosen survivor/escapee Logan. After Africa Michael's mental state is questionable, however, she will do everything in her power to rescue Hannah, even it means infiltrating The Chosen. But this is Michael's work and those who do harm according to her moral compass are not going to make it out alive.
One of the things that I liked the most about Stevens second novel is that it has similar elements to the first novel the Informationist but it is an entirely different story, with different challenges and enemies. This book did not have as many action scenes as the first book did, it does pick up during the latter part of the book, but the first part, is mainly setting up for infiltration of the cult. You still get to see how deadly Michael can be, with and without weapons and she takes down more that her share of people, some planned some not, but I think in this book you get to see how stealthy Michael can be outside of the wilds of Africa. Michael has skills no matter where in the world her work seems to take her.
Michael is an amazing character, and the development of her is just awesome. We get to see flickers of previous kills that Michael has made through her dreams as each kill seems to be haunting her one at a time (and lets just say that you do not want to be sleeping next to her while she has one of these dreams). It was interesting that Stevens decided to show the metal decline that Michael has gone through since Africa. Michael in the first book is portrayed mainly as a ruthless and deadly character who can accomplish the impossible tasks. It was nice to see Taylor introduce some vulnerability into her character and that things do eventually catch up to everyone. Michael is deadly but caring at the same time as her moral compass is slightly different from the average person.
I hate how Michael treats Bradford, she always seemed to be preying on his emotions for her and you really question if she can have any type of relationship where she does not manipulate the other person. I understand her doing this with other people in her life, but with Bradford it just felt wrong. Maybe she was testing him to see if he would stay, but you cannot help but feel badly for Bradford throughout the book. I also really liked Bradford as a character that made me dislike her actions more. Bradford is a great complement to Michael as he is steady, has is own war wounds and past and he never asks Michael for more that she can give. He also does not expect her to change who she is, he has seen her wounds, her kills and skills and yet he still sticks by her, that is my kind of Man. I personally would like to know about Bradford's past to add some more depth to his character.
The Innocent is a very interesting, fast paced that will keep you on the edge of your seat and will draw the reader in from beginning to end. The story is made even more unique when the reader learns about Steven's own past of growing up in a religious cult, so I think it is safe to say that she knows what she is talking about in that aspect. I think that Stevens' Michael Munroe series is a must read for those who want thrills, adventure and not your run of the mill story. I cannot wait to read the next in the series.
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