Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Review ~ Reckoning (Silver Blackthorn #1) by Kerry Wilkinson

Reckoning (Silver Blackthorn, #1)eARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 22nd May 2014

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

In the village of Martindale, hundreds of miles north of the new English capital of Windsor, sixteen-year-old Silver Blackthorn 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 . . .

My Opinion

I really don't know what to make of this book. Overall I liked it but there were quite a few reasons I didn't love it. For me it could have been so much more so although it was an enjoyable read, there is this sort of empty feeling I got after finishing it.

I found Reckoning quite hard to get into and this because it felt like all the other major dystopia books had been merged into one. The Reckoning part felt like Divergent. The leaving felt like the Hunger Games and from there on there were other aspects that were just too similar for my liking--there wasn't much originality. I also felt that at the start the author 'told' rather than 'showed' a lot. Sentences like "I explained XYZ" or "She told me XYZ" came up often and I found myself wanting to scream "Write the conversation so I get to know the characters!" It left me feeling detached from the characters and I don't think they were developed as well as they could have been. 

After the beginning, when Silver and the other Offerings arrive at the King's home the book did pick up. Things started to become more intriguing as the fear and tension was introduced and I didn't see the violence coming at first. However, the actions of the king and what the Offerings were made to do soon became predictable and repetitive. I felt there was no variation inside the castle and that there was just something missing. This is probably not going to make sense but I can't think how else to put it. In Reckoning a lot happens, however it never felt like enough. The events repeated themselves so it didn't feel like much was going on and the main story line, for me, was lost among the violence. Things only started to come together at the end and when I got to the last few chapters I couldn't stop reading. 

I wished the whole book had been like the ending or that it had been extended more as it did feel rushed. I also didn't like how the plan came out of nowhere with brief explanations following, it just seemed too random. There needed to be more of a build up, a clear leader in charge, more tension and more explanation. Everything just seemed to go too smoothly for a plan that had been in the works but never hinted at.

Overall, I think this book has potential and I did enjoy it. However, I think it needs quite a bit of work and adding too. I felt it was underdeveloped in most aspects--including the relationships which I didn't fully grasp--and that more detail and variation to the plot was needed. Saying that, I will probably read the next book as it did get better and I'm hoping the author keeps the momentum from the final few chapters all the way through book 2.

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