Reckoning (Silver Blackthorn #1) by Kerry Wilkinson (Expected May 22nd 2014, 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.”
I was both excited and a little worried about this book. It’s not often enough that you find a narrative like this set in Britain.. I mean, as far as epic SF dystopian books, we have Orwell.. and who can beat him? There’s always part of me that is skeptical too.. partly because I’m precious about how Britain is depicted. Don’t give me twee, or teabags, or cobbled streets.. give me reality!
And thank chuff Wilkinson does! Albeit a future reincarnation of the UK, but it’s definitely a place I can recognise and happily run with.
So, what did I think?
Characterisation – Silver is great. She’s a real figure of strength and integrity that girls can look up to. What I liked the most about her was that her physical strength was realistically proportionate to her gender, and to her situation- she isn’t some superwoman that can beat up anyone with a hair flick. And she got brains! A practical skill in technology and electronics- that’s the kind of role model we need.
I liked many of Silver’s dorm-mates too. The characterisation is so well done- they don’t overpower the narrative, but you still care about them. It’s a bit like Harry Potter in that respect- a lot of characters that you want to see having a HEA.. And a castle type setting to boot! 😀
However – I struggled with the character of Opie. I think he isn’t given enough page time for me to miss him in the same way Silver does.
Plot – Worryingly possible! Ha! I think there were some smaller details to do with the motives and the reasons why it all started in the first place that get missed, or skimmed over, and I would have liked to understand the origins of the situation better. I was also left wondering why what happened at the end hadn’t been thought of sooner..? Teens are clever beans. Especially when it comes to tech and school-like rebellion.
Names – Ok, I wasn’t really sure why everyone had weird names (cool names, to be fair, but still weird) – Silver, Opie, Wray, Lumin, Jela – I just feel that if good ol’ fashioned names like ‘Jane’ and ‘David’ can survive the centuries, then they would continue to crop up, no?
Feels – Ohhh yeeaaah. There’s feels. So many moments that made me stomach twist, my toes clench, my heart leap! From romantic interludes to OMG DID THAT REALLY HAPPEN? it was a great ride, emotionally.
Who is this book for? Lovers of SF or dystopian YA. Fans of Pierce Brown’s Red Rising, for sure. Anyone that is looking for an awesome female protagonist. Anyone that wants a crackin’ read!
I loved this book. I didn’t want to put it down, but when I did, I was itching to get back to it, which is always a sure sign that it’s a winner. I’m giving it 4.5 out 5, (the cover art gets a 5/5! It’s awesome!) only missing out on full marks because of some small details really. Just going with my gut. 🙂
Cannot wait for a sequel!