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After a demon apocalypse kills their parents and everyone they know, 17-year old Abby Phillips, her brother, Carter, and friend, Max flee their home to travel through what has become the wastelands of America. When radio transmissions of a resistance offering shelter and safety cease, Abby is tempted to give up. Struggling to overcome life-threatening obstacles in their dangerous journey, Abby and her companions quickly discover there are much worse things lurking in the dark than they could have ever imagined.

260 pages, Paperback

First published March 19, 2011

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About the author

Megan Duncan

14 books380 followers
Megan Duncan is a lover of all things paranormal, fantasy, sci-fi and anything just out of the ordinary. She is continually fighting her addiction to chocolate and living in her overactive imagination.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 127 reviews
Profile Image for Olethros.
2,630 reviews434 followers
September 10, 2016
-Juventud, divino tesoro que se cura con tiempo.-

Género. Narrativa fantástica.

Lo que nos cuenta. Tras seis semanas desde la última comunicación por radio con el exterior, la joven Abby de 17 años, su hermano mayor Carter y Max, el amigo de éste, deciden abandonar su casa en Colville, Washington. Abby tiene dificultades para decidir qué llevarse con ella, pero rápidamente la visión de sus uñas recién pintadas hace que se olvide de sus dudas (sí, en serio). Su padre fue uno de los millones de víctimas del ocaso de la civilización debido a los ataques de extrañas criaturas, quizás demoniacas, de las que los jóvenes sólo conocen dos tipos hasta ahora. El plan de los muchachos es viajar más de dos mil quinientos kilómetros hasta Nuevo México, hacia la base militar con la que estaban en contacto, matando a toda criatura que se les cruce en el camino basándose, entre otras cosas, en su enorme capacidad de manejo y disparo de armas de fuego conseguida mediante horas y horas de juego de HALO (sí, también en serio). Primer libro de la serie Agents of Evil.

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Profile Image for Mindy.
256 reviews105 followers
May 7, 2011
This book totally ROCKED! I knew as soon as I started reading that I would like this book. Abby is a diehard heroine, not by choice but for survival and she is truly a fighter!

Abby, her brother Carter, and Carter’s best friend Max are the only living humans in their town. Max lost both of his parents to the monsters that have taken over the world, and Abby and Carter lost their father when he tried to save Max’s parents. The monsters that killed them left the 3 teenagers to survive on their own.

Abby, Carter and Max quickly come to realize that it will not be possible to survive by hiding out in their houses forever. Unfortunately, their only hope of survival was a radio transmission telling survivors to seek refuge at an Air Force Base in New Mexico, but the radio message stopped transmitting 2 weeks ago! So, with little hope, they set out on a 1500 mile journey to the Air Force base, praying they can find food, water, shelter and safety.

After the tragic loss of their parents, the three survivors never dreamed they would face even greater challenges and horrors on their journey to New Mexico. But where they ever wrong! Heck, even I didn’t imagine where the book would lead! There were moments while reading that I wanted to yell, “PLEASE! Follow your gut instinct!” And, yet, I too was completely caught off guard in some parts! It came to a point where I finally realized that Abby, Carter and Max will truly do ANYTHING to save each other even if it means doing something they thought they would never have to do.

There is another character named Taya that comes into the mix later, and I love her too! All four of these characters balance each other perfectly. I love how Abby’s security blanket is her shotgun and that Carter uses a bow! Carter is the brain of the group and Abby and Max are the strong fighters. Taya adds more fun to the mix.

There is a part in the book that had me really pondering. I was thinking, “Would this be how I would feel?” Here is what is the discussion…
“So why do you think this all happened?” Taya asked completely out of the blue, directing the question to Carter.
“Huh? You asking me?” She nodded at him. “Well there are lots of theories really. Some people believe God is punishing us, some believe they are aliens taking over our planet, some…”
“What do you believe?” Taya interrupted.
“Honestly I am not concerned about the how or why. I just want them gone.”

I really liked this book and I am really looking forward to see what will happen next.
Profile Image for Avery.
328 reviews86 followers
June 3, 2011
***May contain spoilers***

If you are a fan of "Zombieland" and the "Resident Evil" film franchise than you in for a treat with this book! This book combines all of the best elements of both films, plus a few totally swoon-worthy male leads, to make for an enjoyable couple hours of reading (seriously, once you start reading this book you will be unable to put it down until you finish it).

I really, really, really liked Max as a character, he was just such an all around good guy. And I really liked his connection with Abby, I always love it when authors choose to match up two characters who have been acquaintances for a long period of time and over time start to develop feelings for one another gradually, as opposed to when authors match characters up based on superficial reasons or the whole undying-love-at-first-sight-which-makes-me-want-to-throw-myself-down-a-set-of-stairs-or-gag.

I must admit that I did have a bit of difficulty adapting to Megan's writing style. I felt that her writing was very concise and to the point, she didn't dilly dally in her writing using overly flowery descriptions and the likes of and therefore I didn't feel all that much of a connection to some scenes because their descriptions were almost over-simplistic (and I know, some people totally are anti-flowery writing and in some occasions I am totally one of those people- ie. when it isn't used successfully, like when an author drones on and on about something pointless or unnecessary to the storyline- but in some instances I really do appreciate it because it allows me to better imagine the scene- and yes, I am totally one of those people who pictures everything that they are reading in their head).

All in all, while it is a bit hard to connect to some scenes in the book, the overall uniqueness of it, coupled with a few really great characters, more than make up for it. I am really looking forward to reading the next installment in this series!
Profile Image for Has.
275 reviews148 followers
April 20, 2012
This is more like two and half stars.

I was attracted to this book due to its premise and cover - and I am always up for a good old dystopian with demons or zombies on the rampage and the book started off well, with the heroine, Abigail, her brother Carter and friend Max setting off to New Mexico to find a military outpost which seems to be a safe haven against the apocalypse where demons have arrived to earth.

Although there was nothing that stood out for me with its world-building or setting, the story was engaging enough in the beginning, however it kind of fell apart when they picked up another survivor Taya who was pretty annoying at times and especially bratty. And when they encountered people at a compound where a strange almost like cult-like group the story felt vague and weird and this is where I kind of lost interest in the book. Despite the strong beginning, I felt there wasn't a much of connection with me and the characters and the fact Taya who had lost her mother in a horrific attack would then crush heavily onto Carter in such a short frame of time.

There was also a few issues with editing - but overall, the concept was great but the story and character's were not that appealing for me and I don't think I will pick up the next book.
Profile Image for Lauren.
143 reviews20 followers
May 18, 2012
Released fits the mold of Stephen King's The Stand meets Angelfall meets the tv show Supernatural.
The world was attacked by demon dogs and demon birds. Now there aren't many people left.
Abby, her brother Carter and his best friend Max are orphans. The plot reminds me a bit of The Stand in that they have a plan to go to New Mexico from radio transmissions. The radio messages claim there is a resistance on an Army base.

The book might have been stronger if the road trip wasn't all that happened other than a weird cult subplot. I get that we're meant to read more but we weren't provided enough story to want to go further.
Angelfall was similar in that [angels] took over and killed most of the people but the subplot in saving her little sister gave me something to root for. A book series isn't enough of an excuse for nothing to happen. I like quests/roadtrip stories but there still has to be something at the end.
Taya was so cloying I half expected her to be a demon.

If this had been an episode of Supernatural where Sam and Dean save the day I'd give it a pass.
Profile Image for Tristan.
84 reviews18 followers
May 6, 2011
I'm going to start with the things i loved about this book. First off Abby, she's tough and determined, a great protagonist. She is the glue holding their small troupe of survivors together. I'd definitely want her shot gun slinging awesomeness on my side in a post apocalyptic demon infested world. The story kept a good pace and kept me interested.
What I didn't like about the book is I feel like I could've connected better to the characters and their struggle had I been their when the demon apocalypse started, not 4 months after the fact. Even a little more back story on Taya would have been good, it's like she didn't exist before they found her. Also i'm not really clear on exactly what caused all of this, some theories are tossed around but no really solid answers, but maybe that was the authors intention. It is the first in a series so maybe those answers are coming. It was entertaining and gritty and i do plan on reading book two. 3 out of 5
Profile Image for Penelope Fletcher.
Author 25 books1,307 followers
March 25, 2011
Bought and read in one evening. The book is straightforward and uncomplicated. Humans versus demons, detached limbs, dystopian world, people who go crazy and become dictatorial psychopaths, nasty little pug dog (in my minds they look like pugs) monsters that slobber and are generally disturbing to read about ... I say all this in a good way.

What I loved about Abby (our main character) is that she could handle herself. The fighting was effortless, she was born to kick-demon ass. What I didn't like about Abby was that we kept being told she had a sensitive side. At times she felt too content to let her (slightly unstable if you ask me) brother Carter take control. In some cases it was clear he was losing the plot though he was the 'brains' of their operation yet Abby let him. She should have taken him by the scruff of the neck and told him to man up as she passed him a shotgun.

The romance was very subtle, no grand gestures of devotion for Max (our love interest) and Abby, nope. A slow ramble uphill until they are comfortable kissing. Would have loved to have seen sparks flying between these two. They were a great couple, but fell flat since the relationship had little focus. Then again not all books need to focus on the relationship, and that did make this a refreshing read. But then what was the focus? The end-of-days-setting was described pretty well and I got a general feeling of 'the entire world has gone to hell' but not enough for me to think it was the books strong point.

Pacing was flawless, style is easy to read, and the story line easy to follow. Nothing came at me out of the blue ... there were no alien spaceships in Rome, see what I mean? Everything was realistic and had its place in the story. It felt open-ended so I would read a follow up.

But it was short. I have no idea if this was because it flowed so well I simply read even faster than usual, or if it was just short. :)
Profile Image for Kristin.
785 reviews8 followers
December 1, 2011
I found myself struggling through this book. The premise was interesting but the writing and the delivery just weren't compelling. It read more like a diary - so and so did this and so and so said that and then we all did this - rather than the flowing prose of a novel. There were pockets of action which were frankly the most interesting parts but even those were kind of meh. I put this book down at some point and almost didn't pick it back up again. I finally forced myself to finish it because I just hate not finishing books, but I can't say that I felt it improved as it went along. And I don't think I'll be picking up the next in the series. I didn't care about any of the characters enough to find out what happens to them in the next installment.
Profile Image for Melissa Brown.
Author 31 books1,044 followers
July 9, 2012
I am a dystopian junkie and Ms. Duncan has done a fine job in creating her setting, plot and characters trapped in the middle of an apocalyptic state. Her premise is unique and captivating....demons attacking the earth, three teenagers attempting to get to a military base in New Mexico in order to find more survivors and to fight the demons alongside the military. There were quite a few twists and turns, which I loved. And the sexual tension was fabulous. Ms. Duncan did a great job narrating from a teenagers POV, I truly believed I was submerged in a world of teenagers fighting for their lives. Dialogue was realistic and the flow was excellent. Great pacing. Looking forward to the next in the series. Well done!
Profile Image for Angeline Kace.
Author 5 books544 followers
April 14, 2011
This is a great take on the post-apocalyptic story. There are demons that have ended the world instead of zombies. The characters are fresh and believable. Ms. Duncan does a great job at keeping the story intense and moving forward. There were a couple of times the hubs asked me to do things for him, and I had a hard time pulling myself away. Looking forward to Book #2!

I was a beta reader for Megan Duncan on Released.
Profile Image for Katelyn (Tales of Books and Bands).
161 reviews55 followers
July 2, 2011
Starting this book I really had no idea what to expect. I haven’t read many reviews on this but those that I did get to glance at seemed to have some awesome things to say about it. Seconds after my Twitter account stated that I had started reading this book (automatic update from goodreads.com), I got a slew of tweets saying “Oh my god! It is awesome!” Naturally, I stayed up well into the night reading the first 150 pages. I didn’t want to stop! There were so many awesome surprises in this book. The characters were realistic, tough, unique, damaged, remarkable, heroic, etc. The fact that there are demons roaming the earth and causing death and destruction in their wake not only adds a lot of turmoil but a ton of adventure and awesome fight scenes. And the love! Yes even a demon-driven book can have a little bit of love in it!

Abby, the main character was incredibly well-written! She has faced a life full of horrible events. Demons take over the world, terrorize and murder most people including her father, leaving her, her brother Carter, and their friend Max to fend for themselves. Instead of going insane like many other people, Abby learns to toughen up. She hides her deepest fears from the two guys she is closest with while trying to convince herself that she isn’t scared of what might happen to her. Her toughness and determination to survive is amazing. I was blown-away by this girl who could go out and kill a demon, come back and clean her gun, and then finish off the day by painting her nails because it makes her feel more “normal.” She is the epitome of what would happen if an awesome-tastic, kick-butt teenager *cough* *cough* named Katelyn *cough* of today was thrown in a world of death and chaos.

Abby, along with Carter and Max, decide to head to New Mexico where a radio signal claiming safety, is transmitted from. This is where their real journey begins. Carter is the brains of the group. He dedicates his days to figuring out everything he can about the demons. What they want, how they live, what drives them to attack, etc. The more he knows, the better off the group is. His knowledge and confidence in their survival is like a safety vest for Abby and Max. Max is….well how do I describe him? He is always one to take a risk, go against everything Carter suggests, he is cute even when the world is crumbling around them, plus he knows how to lighten the mood when the burden these teens face gets too hard. Honestly, this guy is near perfect and that is why I love him and Abby together (but the love part is coming up in a second I promise! Right now I will ramble about the epic demon/fighting/scary scenes).

ANYWAY, this group of kids embarks on an extremely frightening road trip that had me flipping pages at break-neck speed while alternately biting my nails with anticipation. I was so invested in this story and these characters that I wanted to cry every time another road block (literally and figuratively) got in their way. You could catch me crunching up into a little ball when I anticipated scary scenes happening. I was wincing in pain as they cleaned up their battle wounds. I was even jumping for joy when they found a young girl named Taya, a survivor, just as she was about ready to be attacked by a demon. There were fighting scenes, descriptions of nasty horrid beasts, mixed with an almost palpable fear that one could nearly touch while reading (even if it was being read off the computer!). To put it short, if you mix the three awesome movies known as The War of The Worlds, I Am Legend, and The Road, together, you would get this book!

Ok I promised talk of love so here it is. I love a hot, fictional romance just as much as the next girl (or guy) but if that is what you are looking for than this book might not fill your thirst. Not to say that the romance in this story isn’t epic because trust me it is, it is just that Megan didn’t waste time with endless flirting, “I love you but I hate you” moments, or the “I cannot breathe without you around” lines, instead she stays so very true to what one would expect from a DEMONS ARE TAKING OVER THE WORLD-type novel. The love in this story is real, honest, and wonderful. It is an understanding that Max and Abby have for each other. It is the need they have for a close companion during the toughest of times. It is their desire to feel alive, wanted, and needed that makes it work. They don’t spend time walking on the beach holding hands. They can’t spend hours on end cuddling up telling each other cutesy love stuff, their survival is on the line here. Instead they come to an agreement; Max loves Abby, Abby loves Max, it is as simple as that.

The relationship between Abby and Max is not the only one worth mentioning! There are still two very important characters named Carter and Taya that I have yet to talk about. Although they are not an official item yet I still found their connection worth mentioning. Taya is the young girl the group rescued. She is frail, thin, and still pretty young but despite her weak looking appearance this girl has some guts; guts that can only come from surviving horrific experiences. Taya is strong but she still needs a sense of stability and she finds that in Carter. His wealth of knowledge is intoxicating to her and I adored watching her develop a school-girl crush on him. He hasn’t really noticed the feelings Taya has for him yet, but I am beyond excited to see what lays ahead for thes two.

If you have not fallen asleep yet, then let me congratulate you for making it through this rather lengthy review. It is just that I LOVE this book and I tend to gush like a mad woman over things that I love. All you need to know is that characters in Released are ah-mazing, the fighting scenes and the terrifying demons are enough to keep you on the edge of your seat, while the simple romance in this book is just enough to warm your heart. It is a must read book that I will be pushing people to read for a long time!

Profile Image for Megan.
3,097 reviews40 followers
April 24, 2017
3.5 Stars.

Not perfect but it was a good story I was pretty hooked wanting them to succeed but also wanting more from the story. I wanted more about the demons. Why they were there, what did they want etc. etc.
Profile Image for Aeicha .
832 reviews101 followers
September 1, 2011
Apocalyptic stories are very popular now, in both literature and tv/movies, so providing a fresh take on this idea can be a difficult task, but in Released, author Megan Duncan has done just that. Instead of the very popular zombies or vampires, Duncan has created a new apocalyptic world full of demons. Now, I’m a fan of zombies, vampires, werewolves and the such, but my love for the tv show Supernatural has led to a fascination with demonology; therefore when it comes to using demons in a story, I’m not easily impressed. But Released has definitely impressed me with its unique spin on an overly used idea, its likable characters, and its layered story.

Relased, the first book in Duncan’s Agents of Evil Series, introduces us to seventeen year old Abby, her older brother Carter, and his best friend Max. When the novel begins the world has already been overrun by demons and the three teenagers, having lost their parents and friends, are alone and struggling to survive. After hearing radio transmissions offering hope of military protection, the three decide to make their way across the wasteland that the country has become and head to New Mexico and the military base.

The novel is narrated by Abby, providing a very intimate relationship, not just between the reader and Abby, but between the reader and all that happens throughout the novel. While reading I never felt like I was on the outside looking in or like I was merely listening to someone recount events; I felt like I was right in the middle of all the action, like Abby’s journey was my journey too. As the voice of the novel, Abby’s character is integral to the reader’s experience. Connecting with and liking Abby’s character is vital, I think, to whether or not readers will want to continue reading till the very end. But Abby is so beautifully crafted, that it would be hard for anyone to not like or connect with her.

I like the way that Duncan has made Abby a very accessible and relatable character. She isn’t a superhero by any means- she isn’t Buffy- but she isn’t a delicate wallflower either. I find that many YA authors often depict their protagonists, especially female protagonists, as very weak, cautious, and unadventurous in the beginning of their novels, but by the end they somehow transform into these strong, brave, powerful badass characters…but the transformation feels forced and unnatural. With Abby, Duncan has created a very realistic female-she’s smart, funny, and courageous but she has her flaws and insecurities- whose character grows in a very natural, organic way throughout the novel. Carter, the brains, and Max, the brawn, are also both very likable characters. My genuine affection and interest in the trio never wavered or felt forced throughout the novel.

The actual demons are quit different than what I am used to. I’m used to a more humanistic type of demon, whereas the demons in Released are more animalistic. But I really like the different kind of fear and questions that these demons induced in me as the reader, and the obstacles and circumstances that they presented to the characters. I was worried at first that this animalistic nature of the demons would make them mundane, but as the novel progresses the trio, and readers alike, discover that these demons may not be as simple minded as they seem. Duncan throws in some wicked twists and curveballs regarding the demons, their purpose, and where they came from that could set up for a lot of really compelling plotlines in the rest of the series.

The vicious, animalistic nature of the demons does provide for some fast paced, heart stopping action though. The action often left me breathless and captivated. I love the way Duncan writes the action scenes in a very real, gritty way. The characters are in the middle of a demon apocalypse, there’s going to be blood, violence, and death- all things that Duncan isn’t afraid to show in detail. I have issues with YA authors who underestimate their audience and I really appreciate the way that Duncan didn’t even try to sugarcoat anything, showing that she doesn’t underestimate the YA audience’s ability to handle such realistic notions.

Released isn’t just all monsters and action though. There’s a real layered complexity to the novel as well, as Duncan explores our basic human nature. Her characters are just normal people who are faced with extraordinary circumstances and must learn to survive. But what does that mean? How far are people willing to go to survive? It’s easy to call the demons monsters, but are they really the most dangerous thing our main characters have to fear? These are just a few thought provoking questions that Duncan has subtly weaved throughout this novel.

Released is a captivating, action packed, and refreshing take on an old idea. This book is a wonderful blend of the supernatural and the psychological, with a fun bit of humor and romance thrown in. I really enjoyed it and I’m super excited to read the rest of the series.
Profile Image for Jayda.
381 reviews23 followers
November 15, 2020
2.5 Stars

This one is kind of tough to review because i liked it but it was underdeveloped. It felt like there should have bee more explanation and world building. I will say, the romance was pretty decent because Abby didn't let her guard down and her and Carter had a teasing relationship and they have known each other for basically all their lives. The demons were kinda interesting but i wanted a bit more backstory, not enough to give anything away but enough to start making my own theories. It didn't quite meet the line of making me super curious about its sequel. I probably am gonna read it one of these days but i'm not in a rush to do so.

Oh, and that damn Taya... oh my god, i wish one of the demons would have chomped her up. She was so annoying. They risked their lives to help that girl and all she did was drool over Carter, get jealous, complain, and blame everyone else for anything and everything that happened. That scene where she slapped Abby for something that wasn't even her fault made me want to reach through the pages and strangle her scrawny neck. They were way too nice to her.
11 reviews7 followers
August 7, 2011
I have to admit that I've always been extremely wary of self published books. I know that it's wrong, because a lot of self published books are REALLY good. This book, for instance. The only thing is that with a good editor, this book could have literally been perfect. Everything that a person could ask for in a book.

Instead there were some punctuation errors: Periods where there should have been commas, commas where there should have been nothing, nothing where there should have been commas. Also, in the very beginning there was an issue with verb tenses. I'm pretty sure there were only a few instances and it stopped after the first chapter, but there were times when Abby, the protagonist, is talking in present tense and then she reverts back to past tense.

Other than those problems, this book was fantastic. It's easy to look over the technical stuff when a really great story is being told.

In a way, this book sort of reminds me of the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson. Not the writing style, or narration or the plot or anything like that. But there's Abby, Carter, and Max. Abby and Carter are siblings and their parents are dead, as well as Max's, who is Carter's best friend and Abby's love interest. It's just a group of teenagers doing their best to survive and beating the crap out of anything that tries to get in their way. Another reason this reminds me of the Maximum Ride series is because of the action. Demons are roaming the streets and sinking their teeth into whatever people the can find, of course there is going to be action around every corner! These three kids (and Taya, who comes along later in the story) are just trying to get to a safe house in order to, well, be safe. But getting there is the dangerous part, seeing as they have to cross the country.

On the cover, you can see that Abby has a very large gun in her hands...Yeah, that is useful several times in the story.


- The premise. We hear of zombie apocalypses (is that the plural term?) all the time, but how often do we get to read books about demons destroying the world? That was why when Megan requested I review this book, I knew that I had to! It's fun, horrific, disgusting, and just really wonderful to read about. Megan uses some great descriptions so that the reader can really picture the different demons and the destruction that they have brought.

- The characters. In my opinion, these characters are very realistic. None of them claim to really know what they are doing. They try their best to be tough and kick some ass, and sometimes that's not always easy, but in the end they are always there for one another. They each have their own personality traits that you can't help but admire.

- The romance. Like I said, this books has a lot of action, but there is also a romance brewing between Max and Abby. The reason I like this romance is because it is sweet and slow and does not subtract from the plot or action in any way. When the two have time alone together, they have time alone together, but they're in the middle of a freaking demon apocalypse and they're not trying to sneak off into corners and get it on.

- The pacing. I think that Megan did an absolutely fabulous job pacing out this book. I've read books where the main character has, like, ten gazillionjillion things happen to him or her in the span of one freaking day, and then no more action for about a week. Megan really spaces out the attacks, giving her characters some breathing space, just enough time for them to feel safe, and then BAM! She throws them back in the fire - metaphorically speaking, of course. There are a few places where I was thinking, "Okay, get on with it now," but doesn't that happen in every book? The pacing made it a quick and enjoyable read.

You can see this review and many others, PLUS enter for a chance to win an eBook copy of this book HERE!
Profile Image for Sophia (Bookwyrming Thoughts).
661 reviews237 followers
December 19, 2014
The coolest thing about Megan Duncan's Released is the mere fact that the characters seemed to be around before and during the "apocalypse." I mean, compared to most dystopian books out there, it's generations - at least to the point where the people are used to the way the new things are and are basically happy with the way everything is.

At least, until something bad happens. Then the ball gets rolling, the main character starts to question everything, s/he probably meets the love of their life, they find more rebels, they join the rebellion, they take down the government and start all over again! And maybe, just maybe, there will be a happily ever after.

That sort of depends on what the author is up to. I'm no mind reader, of course, and I'd rather not be a mind reader because as much as that sounds really cool, I would probably go insane reading everyone's thoughts. If that ever happens, I demand to be home-schooled. That way... I can try and control it before testing my tolerance out in the world.

I had also hoped there would be zombies involved from the way the demons were described, but really, the so-called zombies were... demons. (That was before the demon part was revealed.)

The uncoolest thing about Released is the mere fact the book starts heading in a romance like direction at like, 15% of the book. At the time, it wasn't terribly a problem because it wasn't as obvious to the point where I can hear the character implying, "OMG HE'S SO HOT AND I WANT TO TAKE HIS CLOTHES OFF". Yes, that's happened. In a Young Adult book no less (I DNFed it before my eyes came upon awkwardness and lost its purity). Another had a sex scene. Graphic and all. If you want my blogger horror stories, maybe I'll plan one for Halloween next year. Snarky and Sarcastic Sophia is likely to appear.

Here's where it actually becomes a semi-big problem: a character just enters the book – the entire picture! – and the main character is like, "Oooo, I think she's gotta a crush on him!" AFTER said person crushing on a person decided to help out during an attack... which is what I really don't get. Said person could just have a kind heart and soul. I mean, this is the "apocalypse!" Isn't this about surviving and trusting virtually no one?

Released, however, is very fast paced. Action, action, action. Hoorah! But despite the fast pace – has its perks sometimes, but not always a good thing (Sophia likes details. She wants to know the characters like the back of her hand) – I feel like I'm reading Cormac McCarthy's The Road again. Just with names and not "the man" or "the boy." I'm obviously not planning to stick around only to find out all the main characters die except for one*. Sounds very Hamlet-y, doesn't it (Best required literature read of last year.)? The fast-paced first book in the Agents of Evil series will most likely be great for those who want to go through a book fast enough and don't pay attention to the details, OR they have much more patience than me.

*Note: Whether or not the characters actually die at the end of the series is unknown to me. I also had better books to look forward to.
Original Rating: 1.5 out of 5
Original Review posted at Bookwyrming Thoughts
Profile Image for Trisha Wolfe.
Author 40 books2,948 followers
May 13, 2011
When I first began reading this story, I was a little hesitant. I beta read a LOT, and am always editing. I noticed the author put commas in odd places, and every now and then an awkward sentence would slow me down. But, I soon didn’t notice the few errors as I got further into Abby’s story. I like Abby. I like this girl a lot. She’s no Buffy, but then, no one is. She’s tough without the typical sarcasm that usually accompanies the cliché tough girl. Not only is she tough, but I agree with the logic of her thought process. She’s rational, as well as deep and caring.

I’d like to have known a little more about how or why the demons were unleashed onto the world in the first place, but I know there’s a second book coming, and the end revealed there’s more to be discovered later in the story. So I’m really looking forward to the next book. As far as a first book goes, I felt the plot was strong. There weren’t any plot holes. I read from the middle to the last page in an hour. I inhaled this story. I didn’t even realize I was doing it, that’s how caught up I was. There is a scene near the end where Abby and her brother Carter, her crush Max, and their newly acquired tag-a=long Taya, stumble upon City Hall in one of the cities they’re driving through. There’s some crazy stuff that happens here and the people are just losing their minds. I got lost in the story, truly believing this is exactly how people would react if all of a sudden the world were under attack by a demon apocalypse. Very well thought out plotting and great pacing.

Abby’s and Max’s relationship was a slow simmer at the beginning, but with all the action and near-death experiences, they quickly threw caution to the wind and clung to one another. I like how their relationship developed and am hoping for some deeper, steamier scenes in the next book. Taya did get on my nerves, but this is her character. I think the author did a wonderful job with her. I liked that she annoyed me lol and she also was necessary to push the plot forward, but not in a noticeable annoying way. Good stuff. My favorite part was how it ended. I don’t do spoilers, but I had such a satisfied feeling at the end. There was despair. There was hope. I felt it had a powerful, thought-provoking ending. I highly recommend this story for anyone who’s looking for a quick, action-packed read with a little romance. It’s a great addition to the YA market.
Profile Image for Becky.
673 reviews
May 28, 2011
Demon Apocalypse's aren't usually my sort of thing, but this book sounded really good and something about it drew me in. The cover is amazing and looks really good.
Abby, her brother Carter and their friend Max have so far survived the demon attacks, when they hear a transmission offering help and safety, they decide to risk the journey to New Mexico. The world has been turned upside down, shops have been ransacked, multitudes have been killed, and demons prowl lose. The group must fight hard to survive and do all they can to help each other.
I really liked Abby and felt almost like I knew her straight away, a bit of a tomboy and not afraid to stick up for herself she is a strong character, but also shows she is human like the rest of us in her moments of doubt. Carter was great, a really geek always jotting things down and having to think everything through. He really helped move the story on and keep the group balanced. Max is the teenage heart-throb, in line for a great future before the apocalypse hit, but he's also kind and caring and really looks after the group. I felt like I was almost a part of their little group and I felt myself cheering them on throughout the book.
The idea for the plot was well done and the pacing of the story was great, the words really flowed off the page and I had finished the book in one sitting. For one I couldn't put it down and the other was that I just seemed to be pulled in and time passed without me realising.
There were a few gruesome moments in the book as the group come across dead bodies and other things that I won't mention here, but it all added to the atmosphere and wasn't at all unnecessary. I am really squeamish but I could handle it, so you should be ok.
I liked the characters relationships with each other and the way they grew as the story progressed.
There wasn't anything I didn't like about this book other than it doesn't come to a full conclusion, it is clearly set for a sequel, and the only problem I have with that is that I don't have the next book and I really want it. :D

I got really lucky when Megan sent me a copy of this book. It is great and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I wish her every success with her writing.

My Rating
I would give this book 9.5/10. An excellent read, captivating and exciting this book will keep you on the edge of your seat and glued to the pages. Watch out, the Demons are coming!
Profile Image for Shirley.
213 reviews96 followers
July 18, 2011
Clarification: 4.5 stars

I first started reading dystopian novels early this year, and every one of the dystopian novels I read were amazing! I was not disappointed with any of them, and I’m happy to say that Released was a magnificent read as well!

Released is set in world where demons are taking over, and Abby, Carter and Max are the only survivors in their town. Abby and her companions flee their town to take refuge in the only place where shelter and safety may be offered - Air Force Base in New Mexico, which they heard through radio transmissions. However, their only hope may be shattered when the radio transmissions suddenly stop broadcasting, and their lives are on the line as they encounter even more demons along the way.

I thought the setting and world-building were both done brilliantly. I was able to envision this isolated and bloody town that’s almost been completely destroyed, with demons lurking in the shadows, ready to pounce when least expected. I also liked how Duncan was able to create such a dark, dangerous and gloomy atmosphere. It was like I was part of the world as well.

I really liked Abby as a character! She was daring and strong – exactly what I look for in a heroine! In fact, I’d say she’s one of my favourite heroines from a YA novel. (I really don’t like weak, and i-need-my-boyfriend-to-protect-me-or-else-I-won’t-survive sorts of characters.) I absolutely loved Max as well! He was caring, protective and I loved how he always teased Abby which lightened up the otherwise dark and forlorn atmosphere. Taya really annoyed me sometimes, but that’s what she’s supposed to be like, and I thought Duncan did a fantastic job capturing her feelings and character.

The overall story was fast-paced, which I liked. However, every so often, there were certain scenes that slowed down the book for me. I thought certain details were unnecessary, but afterwards the pace picked up again when something major began to happen. The action scenes were literally AMAZING. Half the time I felt like I was there fighting off those demons as well with a huge gun and knives slashing back and forth.(I wish!)

All in all, Released was an action-packed, and thrilling read! I cannot wait to read the second book and join Abby, Max, Carter and Taya on their next journey!

Thank you to Megan Duncan for providing me with a copy to review!
Profile Image for Sarah Gonzalez.
207 reviews38 followers
April 17, 2017
Released by Megan Duncan had me at hello (yes, I did go there). Honestly, from the first page I was completely hooked into the story. The plot, the writing, the characters - everything just worked. You know when you reading a book and suddenly you look at the clock and hours have gone by? You completely forget to eat, to go to the bathroom and heaven help anyone who tries to talk to you - you just cannot put the book down. That's exactly how Released was for me folks.

Granted, that's probably because there is nothing about the book setup that I didn't like. I for one, have a huge weak spot for post-apocalyptic stories, especially ones that feature tough heroines. Duncan manages to keep things fresh by trading the traditional zombie villains in for a truly terrifying demon set. She does such a wonderful job creating the different demons and all I can say is I hope I never come across one.

Continuing on that note, the world building is absolutely superb. I could envision Abby's world perfectly, down to every last detail. The main characters of the story are also well-developed and easy to like. There is Abby - a seventeen-year-old girl who tries to keep a brave face on in the world that is crumbling around her; Carter, her older brother who acts as the ringleader of the teenage band, Max, Abby and Carter's longtime friend and finally Taya, an unlikely but interesting addition the group picks up along their journey. The four main characters are all diverse and they each add a different flavor into the mix. It is interesting to see how they each deal with their feelings and I cannot wait to see how they progress in the upcoming sequel.

The pacing was spot on; things progressed quickly, but never felt rushed. I also enjoyed the fact that the author didn't water down things too much - it's a messy, gritty story and it reads accordingly. There are definitely elements of the story that are not for the faint of heart, but that's to be expected with a post-apocalyptic story that involves demons taking over the earth.

Honestly, I do not really know what else to say - besides telling you that I adored Released. If you enjoy post-apocalyptic stories and/or strong female leads, then give Released a chance. I would double-recommend it to fans of Zombieland (the movie) and Hollowland (by Amanda Hocking).
Profile Image for Sharon.
856 reviews
July 1, 2011

4 out of 5 stars

Thank-you kindly to author Megan Duncan for providing me with a copy of ‘Released’, the first book in her ‘Agents of Evil’ series.

Abby Phillips is only one of three survivors left in her hometown and realizes the only hope of survival is to make a trip through what has become the wasteland of America to a military base in New Mexico where radio transmissions have promised safety and assistance.

Abby is an amazing heroine who has strength, courage and determination and along with her brother, Carter and his friend, Max they overcome a number of obstacles to make the long and dangerous journey in the hopes of finding food, water, shelter and safety.

Along the way they also come across young Taya who I thought was absolutely wonderful – she was fiercely independent and at times annoying but was written perfectly.

The Demons are killing humans’ en-masse and survival becomes the sole focus for everyone and they do it by any means possible, the twists and turns are non-stop and the action fierce, humans are suffering and you are really drawn into the emotions of the story. I couldn’t predict what was going to happen from one page to the next, which for me is the sign of a great book! It was fast paced and filled with kick-butt action. It was clever and original and I loved the dark, gritty writing style.

The romance between Max and Abby was sweet and didn’t overpower the main storyline, it was subtle and more a little sub-story that grew as the story progressed; I am curious to see how their relationship evolves.

I would have liked more information about the reasoning why demons were unleashed into the world in the first place; I am hoping this is touched on more in the sequel, ‘Chaos’. I really liked the idea of a post-apocalyptic world with Demons destroying mankind; it was a nice change to the stereotypical Zombies.

The plot was thought out well and the pacing was spot on, I also enjoyed the first person narration by Abby, each of the characters was well-developed and likeable, I really felt for them as teens and what they had to endure. I also really enjoyed the ending which is the perfect set-up for the next book.

Overall, this was a quick and captivating read for me and I enjoyed every moment of it – a wonderful Dystopian, which is fast becoming one of my favorite genres.
Profile Image for Missy (Two Readers Reviews).
48 reviews51 followers
May 25, 2011
I have been so in love with dystopian novels lately. It all started with The Hunger Games last year. Released just made my love for dystopians continue to grow!

Released takes place in a world where demon animals roam the Earth. There are several different types and we learn about them as the story moves along. The most common are the demon hounds. These demon creatures hide everywhere and survive off of eating humans.

Our MC, Abby, is one of the few living humans left. She along with her brother Carter and his best friend Max, decide they are going to leave the safety of the home that they have been staying in and head to New Mexico where radio transmissions have promised safety and help by the military. Abby is a fantastic lead. She was both strong and weak. She kept the weakness inside though and only let her strength show. Although I have obviously never been in the situation she is in, I can totally see myself feeling and reacting in similar ways. I felt like I was really able to connect with her as a character.

The world the author created was both intriguing and incredibly frightening. All of the people they manage to find make them suspicious of their motives. In a world with so few people there is still an issue of trust. You have to be extremely smart and prepared for any situation in order to survive.You never really know who or what is out to get you at any one time.

The story moved very along smoothly. Nothing seemed forced. There was action at all the right times and it had me on the edge of my seat just about the entire time. The action scenes were fantastic and there was such great detail that you almost feel like you are right there fighting off the demons with them.

Overall, I thought this was a fantastic read. If you are looking for a the kind of book you can read in one sitting then this would be the one! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. We are also left with a nice cliffhanger too. The next book in the series is due out this fall!
Profile Image for Cyle.
961 reviews131 followers
May 3, 2011
GENRE: Dystopian
THEME: Demons
RECEIVED: From Author
AUTHOR: Megan Duncan
MY BLOG: http://seeingnight.blogspot.com

I really loved the idea of Released by Megan Duncan, a post apocalyptic story with demons destroying human kind. I’m not really a zombie person so I was really looking forward to this nice twist.

Released in the first book in the Agents of Evil series and the debut for Duncan. She really hit the spot in her story, with adding a bit of everything, family survival, growing up, romance and friendship.

The story was really straightforward and the pace started right of at the first page. Duncan starts you right in the middle of what the three leads are dealing with, Abby, Carter and Max. Abby is my favorite kind of heroine with sass, bravery and can really kick some butt. Carter is smart and in control and very protective of his sister Abby. Max is the muscle and long time friends of the other two.

The romance was a nice touch in such a hard situation for the three. Max and Abby have a nicely paced relationship and it wasn’t a major focus in the story. The relationships and characters overall were fantastically written and drew me so into the book, I was sad to be done. The story’s pace was solid and not too quick and it never overwhelmed or got boring.

I do wish the story was longer but I’m sure Duncan wanted to save more of the surprises and action for the second book coming out soon called Chaos. I’m excited to see what happens with the group, the ending left me so curious and satisfied. Some parts were predictable but it really didn’t faze me at all, I was just thrilled to read something so different. I recommend this book and will be begging Duncan to let me read the next when it’s ready. ☺

This is a young adult novel, some violence and mature situations. If you’re a fan of Ann Aguirres’ Enclave series or Lauren DeStefano's Wither, you will love this book.
October 28, 2011
The earth no longer belongs to just the humans... demons are having their turn. Humanity is in danger of extinction. Abby, Carter, and Max are a few surviving humans who hold hope of finding safety with a resistance movement in New Mexico. While they know that their journey there will not be easy or simple, they have no idea what they must do, go through and learn before they reach their destination.

I have only read a small number of post apocalyptic novels and I am always very timid about reading a new one. Too many times have synopsis and reviews depict such novels as typical, generic, and unoriginal. Megan Duncan does not fit this category. While of course in any post apocalyptic novel there are characteristics that must be present (death, solitary, demons, zombies, destruction, etc.), Megan Duncan has taken this to a new level.

Abby is a unique character, and while it is really hard to put my finger as to why I love her, but I do! I fell in love with her character right away. She is spunky and while she is a bit of a pessimist she is realistic yet hopeful. Through Abby's eyes you are given the reality of a world that is essentially alone....

While for some the lack of characters in a novel can take away from the overall enjoyment, I feel Megan Duncan did an amazing job in getting the importance of actually being alone in a post apocalyptic world. In such a world you are not surrounded by people, you are not engaged in conversation all the time. Abby and her gang are experiencing this every day. Then you add in the troubles of survival and you have a perfect recipe created by a master, Megan Duncan.

If I had to wish for something that was included in this novel it would be more descriptions... physical descriptions. You get tastes of what these demons look like and how gruesome the world has become but I do wish there was more. Overall, this was a great novel and I cannot wait to read the sequel, Chaos, and Megan Duncans' other works!
Profile Image for Marsha.
2,973 reviews51 followers
February 16, 2012
I cannot begin to tell you how much I enjoyed "Released." I am not a big fan of zombies; so, when I read the description for this book I was a little confused and began thinking that maybe this was another zombie story. Well, let me tell you, it is far from it.

Just imagine a world where weird creatures (i.e. giant mixed breed birds, demon dogs and other critters) take over the world and begin attacking humans for food. Pretty crazy huh? Well, not if you think about all of the strange chemicals and other things we release into our environment. I am not saying that this is the cause for the problem; however, I can see a world where something like this happens. In this case, the animals truly are demons.

Abby Phillips and her older brother Carter are left orphaned when their father is attacked and killed by demon animals while helping a neighbor. With the assistance of Carter's best friend,Max they go on the road headed towards New Mexico to a military base where they believe they will be safe. Unfortunately, the trip is over 1,500 miles away and there are definitely perils along the way.

I do not want to say anything more because I do not want to spoil the story for anyone. However, Megan Duncan does an excellent job at world building, characterizations, and action scenes. I also enjoyed the suspense in the story as well. Let me tell you, although this is a short read, it packs a whallop. You will not be bored, nor will you have to wait to truly get into the plot after pages of reading. This story hits the ground running.

In the end, I found I could not believe that I had 'stolen' this book for 99 cents. This was a $8.99 book and would have been worth every penny of it. I just cannot wait for the second book in the series to be released. I think I might have found a brand new favorite series.
Profile Image for Michele Collins.
73 reviews16 followers
December 29, 2011
Book Title: Released
Author: Megan Duncan
Publisher: Create Space
ISBN: 9781461017721
Reviewed by Michele Tater for The Couch Tater Review

“The human heart dares not stay away too long from that which hurt it most. There is a return journey to anguish that few of us are released from making.” ~Lillian Smith

Imagine our world taken over by strange, evil creatures with no warning and no knowledge of where they came from. Many humans die fights for their lives and the lives of their family and friends. The survivors are boarded up in their homes waiting and wondering what to do next. Among these survives are three teenagers: Abby and her brother Carter, family friend Max. Unfortunately, their family members are deceased. Looking for hope they turn to the radio and find a transmission that offers a safe haven to anyone that can make it there. The three, the nerd, the jock and the tomboy, set out to New Mexico in the hope they find other survivors and a safe place to live. On their journey they face many more “demons” some pure evil and others clothed in human clothing.

Although I am far from being a teenager by many years, I did find this book entertaining to say the least. The characters let their age show in many parts of this story, but I found it gave it a more realistic and believable feel. Their typical teenage mannerisms brought back memories of how my own kids acted. Even their hormones are shown as raging, even in the face of danger and destruction. The journey they are on becomes not only physically trying but also physiologically trying as well.

As with other reviewer of this book, I found it hurt to put down until I was done. I was surprised with the ending, which leaves things open for another book. There is suspense, horror and raw emotion: what more can you get from a good book.
Profile Image for Savannah (Books With Bite).
1,399 reviews186 followers
April 22, 2011
I loved this book! Not only was the plot AMAZING but it was like Resident Evil but for teens. Totally enjoyable and unforgettable!! What got me hooked in this book was the plot. As the reader, I enjoyed watching these teen survive the horror of the world. Demons running around killing everyone in site.
Abby I loved! Her strength and her kick butt moves amazed me. She was strong and just rocked! Carter and Max were a great team. They all stuck by each other and help each other out. I like that they were helpful to others that they came by. Even though they were just teens, they were really mature in how they acted. They took precautions, had weapons, and used anything available to them to survive.

The plot is very good. Ms. Duncan did a great job planning all the twists and turns in the book! The fighting and shooting guns was cool. I enjoyed meeting the crazy people as well. Crazy people in the book are always fun to read. The love interest was great too! I loved how Abby and Max's relationship grew. They knew each other their whole lives and then the world turn to crap bringing them closer. There relationship is a good refreshment to the book. Even as the world is ending, you can read the times that Abby and Max spent together and forget about what was really happening in the book. They are good complements to each other and brought a peaceful atmosphere in the mist of trouble.

Released, is a great, dark, pleasurable read. I was able to read this book in one sitting! Ms. Duncan had a way a of bringing characters to life right before your eyes. The storyline flowed really well and was an easy read. This book had everything you could want in a book. A kick-butt heroine, romance and lots of demon killing!
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