July 4, 2014

Review: Reckoning

Reckoning The first book in the Silver Blackthorne trilogy
By Kerry Wilkinson
Available now from St. Martin's Griffin
Review copy

This UK import reads similarly to Steven dos Santos's The Torch Keeper series.  Kerry Wilkinson imagines a future world of scarcity and recent peace wherein people are sorted into a strict class system based on a test called the Reckoning.  At the same time, thirty young people total, gathered from the four provinces, are sent to the capital as Offerings to the King.  No one knows what happens to the Offerings, but everyone imagines - perhaps important jobs? 

When Silver Blackthorne is chosen, she soon finds out that the Offerings do get jobs, but their main function is to serve as the King's playthings.  Few survive even a single year.  Only two have survived five years.  She doesn't know how to escape, but knows she must.  But escape becomes ever more complicated as she falls in love and makes friends with other Offerings.

I wasn't impressed with the beginning of RECKONING.  The sorting aspects felt derivative and the brutality simply felt grotesque.  At the same time, RECKONING was very effective at showing why Silver felt beat down so soon.  Wilkinson is quite clever at explaining why the Offerings don't fight back or work together.  The plot comes together very neatly, delivering a few surprises, mostly through unexpected character beats.

I thought RECKONING was a fast read that will appeal to fans of darker dystopians.  The romance is a bit more developed than most, with lots of daringly private conversations between Silver and her beau.  Silver's talent with technology did seem a bit too much to me at times, especially since so much of the plot revolves around her special talent.

In the end, I don't really think RECKONING was one for me.  It was lighter on the science fiction than I expected and a touch too depressing.  But it was a quick read and not without its charms.

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