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Rivals and Retribution: 13 to Life #5    by Shannon Delaney order for
Rivals and Retribution
by Shannon Delaney
Order:  USA  Can
Griffin, 2012 (2012)
Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Rivals and Retribution is the fifth (following Destiny and Deception) in Shannon Delany's 13 to Life series. The story is told from many different points of view, and I continue to find the constant switching between characters' viewpoints confusing.

The series follows the Rusakovas werewolf family, created from Soviet Cold War experimentation. Their powers accelerate and abbreviate their lives. The teens' father was killed and their mother imprisoned by government agents. Jess Gillmansen loves her schoolmate, Pietr Rusakova and has discovered that her blood might cure werewolves. Jess's dad was involved with librarian Wanda, an ex-CIA agent working undercover, but felt betrayed after learning what she did.

Early episodes focused on the determination of the teen Rusakovas (Max, Pietr, Cat and Alexi) to rescue their mother. They have also been involved with the Russian Mafia - the adopted Alexi loves Mafia princess Nadezhda. Derek, a schoolmate who meddled with people's minds, left a parting gift of dark memories in Jessie's head as he died. In Destiny and Deception, Jess's blood cured but killed Tatiana and changed Pietr into a nerdy version of himself. And a new pack of werewolves, led by the ruthless Marlaena, converged on Junction.

After an initial kidnapping and rescue, Rivals and Retribution moves slowly, focusing on the feelings resulting from two involuntary love triangles caused by werewolf imprinting. Derek continues to exert his dark (but often useful) influence on Jessie, giving her insights into what made him - and others - the way they are. Marlaena's pack comes in from the cold, though she resents every step. And the Rusakovas seek a way to save from the imprinting is tearing him apart.

All in all, Rivals and Retribution is filled with teen angst, leavened by occasional action. The storyline is imaginative but muddled. But, though this is not one of the best episodes, it will still be appreciated by fans of this unusual series.

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