Friday, 1 August 2014

Review: Reckoning (Silver Blackthorn #1) by Kerry Wilkinson Synopsis:
One girl. One chance. One destiny.

In the village of Martindale, hundreds of miles north of the new English capital of Windsor, sixteen-year-old Silver Blackthorne takes the Reckoning. This coming-of- age test not only decides her place in society – Elite, Member, Inter or Trog – but also determines that Silver is to become an Offering for King Victor.But these are uncertain times and no one really knows what happens to the teenagers who disappear into Windsor Castle. Is being an Offering the privilege everyone assumes it to be, or do the walls of the castle have something to hide? Trapped in a maze of ancient corridors, Silver finds herself in a warped world of suspicion where it is difficult to know who to trust and who to fear. The one thing Silver does know is that she must find a way out . . .

The heart-stopping first book in a new trilogy by UK author Kerry Wilkinson, Reckoning is the story of one girl's determination to escape the whims of a cruel king, and what she must do to survive against all odds.

***I received the paperback free as a review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review***

Dystopian novels are so easy to get wrong that even if the synopsis looks promising, I always start the book feeling anxious because you go into a book wanting to like it. Starting Reckoning was just the same.

The plot was incredibly unique, and even though it reminded me slightly of The Hunger Games near the start (an obvious comparison if you just look at the dystopia side of it) with people being “offered” after the reckoning and removed from their families. Just like The Hunger Games it’s seen as a huge privilege to be an Offering for the King. Even when they only hear rumours about what really happens to them. Even when they know they’ll never see their loved ones again; there isn’t nearly as much weight to the moment as there would be in our society.

I can’t say much more about what happens to the Offerings because it will give too much of the plot away, but seeing as the synopsis mentions how Silver is trying to escape you can make your own presumptions. I will however say that the storyline is rather simple; it’s the case of survival against not just a corrupt government but corrupt people. The result is a world built on lies where no one lives long enough to tell the truth.

The Offerings are the exceptions. Their situation is treacherous, and one false move could be their last. It wasn’t hard to form emotional connections to them, and I think their situation makes it easier. You want them to battle through, and witnessing their emotional turmoil was draining as a reader. However it didn’t get boring. There was a lot of characters building (as there should be) but the haunting way it was written made sure you were just as engaged as when something big was happening (I really wanted to say something else there, but I’ve got to remember no spoilers!)

Silver Blackthorn was easy to connect and relate to because while she doesn’t see herself as extraordinary, her bravery crossed with caring nature is a force to be reckoned with; and boy do they try! She manages to find security with Imrin, another Offering who I’ll admit took me a while to warm up to. Circumstances made me suspicious, but I think that’s almost why it worked between them: they were both desperate. It was a slow romance and wasn’t filled with a fiery passion that had no place in the book.

I’m incredibly excited for the sequel because even after the rocky start I really enjoyed the book. I think it was the cliff-hanger ending that won me over, where just about everything went up in smoke.
Favourite Quotes:
“It is a reckoning in every sense of the word.”

“I step into the corridor and, as he heads away from me, I wonder if that is to be my fate: a broken person living without hope.”

“Saying you want to escape is the easy part; actually figuring out how to do it is not quite so simple.”

“I am doing enough to survive but it isn’t the same as living.”

“If you want people to trust you, you have to earn it,” I say, repeating word for word something I remember my mother telling me years ago.”

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