This story has so many elements to it and finishes off in a very different way to how it begins. Yes, you could give comparisons to similar stories in the genre, but for me it became so much more. The subtle comedy moments woven in gave it a lightheartedness at times, which you didn’t know you needed until they made you laugh out loud (well they did for me any way, perhaps it’s my macabre sense of humour.) I honestly could have kept on reading and reading. A highly commended 5* from me.
Welcome to the world of Sector 16, a place where every 10 years each 19 year old girl must fight to the death to win the coveted title of consort to the Reagent. This was never the path that Morgan Le Faye Woodenson was meant to take; but the early death of the Reagents current consort before the 10 years cycle had completed, throws Faye’s world into chaos.
She is happy, living with her potion maker father and is in love with her boyfriend Sawyer. When the reality of her situation arrives she and Sawyer plan to flee, she packs for her journey and discovers a strange potion locked away, it must be something worth taking if it’s locked away right? All packed up and ready to go, instead of rendezvousing with Sawyer, she is met by palace guards to take her to the training grounds – she is too late.
Thrown in with the other unsuspecting 19 year old girls they are forced into training for the macabre trial she must undertake, although she is distracted in her training by the Reagents guard Grant, to whom she has a greater pull toward than she has ever known. But she’s in love with Sawyer, what’s a girl to do?
When she least expects she is thrown into the trials for real and must fight for everything she holds dear, her family, her new found friends and her freedom.
What comes next is so full of twists and amazing set pieces, I wouldn’t dream of summarising further! Despite being a strong contender for the trials, Faye is actually incredibly vulnerable, she has had a pretty sheltered and happy upbringing, it stands to reason she wants to try and fit as many life experiences as she can into what little time she potentially has left. I loved her as a character and the fact that she doesn’t have all the answers and that her actions do directly impact on others, made her relatable. The romance is steamy and the peril is real, I couldn’t put it down, until sleep eventually won the argument, but it was picked back up as soon as I could.