Review: REFUSE by Joanne Macgregor (ft. death, torture & scrambled eggs)

OBVIOUSLY I’m going to tell you about the thoughts I had while reading REFUSE, but before I do, I feel required by law to tell you why you should start this series. (Because what type of person would I be if I flailed about how good book 2 was without telling you about how much I loved book 1?) (You can read my review of book 1 here.)

You may enjoy the RECOIL TRILOGY (thus far) if you like:

Dystopian YA

It’s got that delicious dystopian feel (but not actually delicious because dystopian novels = bad worlds/societies). But these books have so much more to offer than a troubled civilisation! There’s friendship, first love, betrayal and war. Plus, it’s about a vicious, incurable, virus and a bunch of teenagers who are trained to, ultimately, save their world.

Guns, action and video games

What would a war be without guns and violence? There’s blood, gore and video games. But not just any type of video game, no no, no. This video game TRAINS PEOPLE TO KILL. *gasps*

Friendships, family, love and BETRAYAL

Because even when the world is in peril, family is still around and friends can still be made. Oh, and did I mention all the BETRAYAL?

Just when you think you know you can trust betrayal slaps you across the face and you find yourself thinking, ‘what? No. I LOVED THAT CHARACTER!’ which just makes this series all the better!

Irish accents, blonde streaky hair AND TORTURE

Yes, torture. And guns. And people you think are good but aren’t. And more torture.

Death, destruction, snipper-ing (totally a word now), wars and disease

There’s a killer virus spreading. People are dying. Rats are attacking (I’m not even kidding) and teenagers are being trusted with the fate of the world. (What could go wrong? *feints*)

Rebellion, rebellion and scrambled eggs

Need I say more? Oh, and let us not forget the best aspect about this series thus far: BOOK 2 IS BETTER THAN BOOK 1 (in my opinion).

This is where all those who haven’t read book 1 head over to my non-spoiler review (here) to find out more about it or head straight (here) to buy book 1, RECOIL.

If, however, you stopped by for m review of REFUSE, READ ON!

Everyone wants Jinxy, except the one she loves.

In a near-future USA decimated by an incurable plague and tightly controlled by a repressive government, teenagers with special skills are recruited and trained to fight in the war against terror.

Now a rebellion is brewing.

All sixteen year-old expert sniper Jinxy James wanted was a little freedom, but now she’s trapped between the government and the rebels, unsure of who the real enemy is. When she uncovers appalling secrets and twisted motivations, Jinxy begins to question her allegiances. Soon she will need to choose between love and freedom, as she struggles to do the right thing in a world gone horribly wrong.

RECOIL left us with a heart-hammering cliff hanger (I can’t say much more because, SPOILERS!) and REFUSE picks up what seems like just a few minutes later, when Jinx is being taken into custody to be interrogated. What follows is an epic action packed dystopian filled with torture, twists, turns and alliances you never know you can trust.

In REFUSE Jinx is trying to figure out if she can trust the rebels whom she knows very little about, the government she’s been trained by or, neither. After gathering intel that reveals more about the wicked world in which she lives Jinx must decide who she will side with in this raging war. But nothing is really as it seems and Jinx isn’t trusted, by anyone. How will she prove her worth? Gain freedom and forgiveness? Is Jinx merely a pawn in this fast paced world or really the valuable weapon they deem her to be? Who can she trust? Who will trust her?

Just as I did in my review of book 1 I’ve got a list of everything I loved.

I loved:


I deeply despise having to think about what happened in the previous book (or, worse, having to re-read the last chapter so that I understand where we last were) but luckily for us, Macgregor catches us up with all major plot points of book 1 in such a way that I didn’t even realise it was happening.


Because sequels are always better when the reader feels they’ve dived deeper into that world, and REFUSE lets us do just that! I was constantly gripped by new information and wishing I could gobble the book up to see what happened next!


Macgregosrs writing, I’ve decided, is so beautifully easy going that there is never a single moment where I’m drawn out of the story. WHICH IS A GREAT THING but also, terrible because when do we stop reading to grab a snack? How do we pause to greet the humans who enter our houses? Simple answer: don’t. Pick up a Joanne Macgregor book and get lost in it, because once you start there’s no going back until you’re done. *nods* It’s a marvellous feeling.


My love for her grew and (even better) SHE GREW too.

My number 1 favourite thing to see in sequels is character growth and some sort of development and although REFUSE starts off in a terrible way (terribly amazing, that is) Jinx grows throughout the novel. We understand more of her feelings and see how she approaches the chaos that is her world.


I said this in my review for RECOIL and I’ll say it again; this concept is fantastic. It’s the type of book other writers and authors wish they’d written because, COME ON: a video game that trains people to kill? Massive betrayal? War? Rats with viruses? It’s great! And REFUSE is no different where a strong storylines is concerned.

  • Again with the PLOT TWISTS

I just don’t know what to expect anymore *sigh*

The plot twists come and I’m shaken up for a good few minutes before I can continue because, ‘WHAT?! I DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING!’

  • Also, (this is a new development) I’M LOVING THE LOVE INTEREST

In book one, I liked Quinn. I didn’t love him.

But after reading REFUSE I like him a whole lot more. I feel like he’s really come into himself (or rather, I’ve started understanding him and his motivation better). The Irish accent helps *swoon*


Granted, there was a lot of talk of guns and a lot of death, but the book isn’t centred only on killing and taking down enemies. There are various story arcs through book 2 which make loving it really easy.


I enjoyed reading about the new characters that were introduced and loved seeing older characters like Kerry and Bruce pop up. Having Jinx at the training centre was great too because whenever Kerry, Bruce, Sarge or talk of the training centre came along I found myself grinning like they were old friends I hadn’t seen in awhile, because that’s kind of what it felt like.

And I JUST LOVE how Jinxs brother, Robin, grew as a character. We really get to know more about Robin in REFUSE. (He’s no longer just her brother. He’s Robin; Robin-who-did-a-whole-cool-things-that-I-can’t-mention-because-of-spoilers, Robin-who-helped-Jinx, Robin-who-wrote-poetry-and-cared-for-his-mother-and-sister.)


Maybe I’m the only one who loves seeing book titles used in the books themselves? I don’t know, but it happened and I flailed for a good five minutes after seeing RECOIL and then, REFUSE used as chapter headers.

I suppose the only thing I really missed was seeing more of the gang from book 1. DO NOT FRET: Bruce and the other characters are still there(!) but not as much. I think, for the final book to get 5 stars from me it’s going to have to knock me over backwards – witch I don’t doubt it’ll do. Especially after that twist at the end!

4/5 stars and read in 7 hours. I thoroughly enjoyed REFUSE and cannot wait for its release on JULY 30th 2016 so you can all flail along with me. Also, book 3 comes out in October 2016 AND I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS.

Get your own copy (here) and tell me, are you going to read RECOIL and REFUSE? WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK GENRE and DO YOU LIKE SCRAMBLE EGGS?

(Thank you to Joanne for sending me the ARC in exchange for an honest review!)

3 thoughts on “Review: REFUSE by Joanne Macgregor (ft. death, torture & scrambled eggs)

  1. Hello Amy!
    I’m so glad you’re going to give it a go –
    The first book in the trilogy was only released around May!
    She’s publishing all in the same year (which seems crazy but AMAZING for her readers).

    I can’t wait to check out your blog!
    Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Ohh, I haven’t heard of this book before! But I am DEFINITELY INTRIGUED by the blood, guts and glory, and also the fact that it has families and betrayal and guns. I mean, all the epic things?? In one book? IS THIS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE??? (Also Irish accents FTW for sure.) *dashes off to look it up on goodreads*

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