By: Cait Marie
*I received an ARC of this book from the author for my honest review.
“I don’t want to be dramatic and say I found the next The Hunger Games or Divergent, but I totally found the next The Hunger Games or Divergent.” — an actual text I sent to my sister while reading Reactive by Becky Moynihan.
As a child, Lune was taken and brought to the walled-in Tatum City, where she was adopted by its Supreme Elitist, Renold Tatum. For the next eleven years she trained for The Trials. Each year there is the grand event of The Trials, in which people perform grueling tasks and compete physically. Those who sign contracts to participate may choose which of the three trials they partake in. The first is a mutated-horse race full of fatal obstacles. The second places five opponents together to fight each other. In the third and final trial, they are placed in a giant cage with each other and ten horrifying beasts, and whoever kills the most beasts wins.
If someone wins a trial, they are given a higher title and position in the city. Therefore, many sign their children up at early ages in hopes of bettering their families. The children are then sent to an academy of sorts, where they train until they’re old enough to compete. Each person may choose to compete in one trial or multiple trials. If someone wins all three, they are given Title of Choice, meaning they can choose their own title. In all the years that The Trials have existed, no one has ever won all three. This is Lune’s goal and what she has trained so hard for.
Things do not go as planned, though. When someone shows up from her past, and Lune is forced to train him for the same trials, everything she knows starts to change.
This book. Oh, man. I feel like I can’t stop talking about this book. I requested an ARC kind of on a whim, thinking it sounded interesting. I am so glad I did!! I was very pleasantly surprised.
It had been a while since I’ve read a new dystopian, and it was exciting getting into this new world with a unique story. It felt like a blend of both the past and future, in a good way. The plot was original without being so far-fetched that it was hard to read. In fact, it was very easy to read and very well-written. It’s an independently published book, which I’m usually wary of because, in the past, I’ve noticed a ton of grammatical errors and typos in other books. The whole thing was done really well, though.
I also love the characters. Lune is this closed off character whose only goal is to win The Trials and leave the city. The entire time she’s lived there, she has kept her distance from people– both to not get hurt and to not get attached. Except for Asher, who works in the stables. Though they’re not supposed to truly interact due to their different levels of status, they’re friends. Even if Lune tries to deny it. Asher is so great and caring, he’s a true friend through everything and it was nice seeing that type of friendship, especially in this type of story. Then there’s Bren. Bren is who turns up from her past, but he doesn’t remember her. He is essentially the exact opposite of Lune. Where she is serious and emotionally-detached, he is sarcastic and light-hearted. He constantly tries to annoy Lune and make her laugh, but he’s a hard worker too and still trains as needed.
Overall, everything just felt like it was really thought out and well-developed. Nothing felt rushed, but it also didn’t drag on. I was really happy with this book and absolutely cannot wait for the next one. As exciting as the first was, I have a feeling the second book is going to be intense.
I highly recommend this book. Especially if you like dystopians. It’s one of the best I’ve read in awhile! Let me know if you read it, or if you already have. Are you as in love as I am? Let’s talk about it!