Friday, March 29, 2013

Happy Birthday, Breath of Books!

Breath of Books actually turned 1 on March 24th, but I forgot to post that day, so I'm posting now.  My blog is now officially one year old.



Review: The Culling by Steven dos Santos

Recruitment Day is here...if you fail, a loved one will die...

For Lucian “Lucky” Spark, Recruitment Day means the Establishment, a totalitarian government, will force him to become one of five Recruits competing to join the ruthless Imposer task force. Each Recruit participates in increasingly difficult and violent military training for a chance to advance to the next level. Those who fail must choose an “Incentive”—a family member—to be brutally killed. If Lucky fails, he’ll have to choose death for his only living relative: Cole, his four-year-old brother.

Lucky will do everything he can to keep his brother alive, even if it means sacrificing the lives of other Recruits’ loved ones. What Lucky isn’t prepared for is his undeniable attraction to the handsome, rebellious Digory Tycho. While Lucky and Digory train together, their relationship grows. But daring to care for another Recruit in a world where love is used as the ultimate weapon is extremely dangerous. As Lucky soon learns, the consequences can be deadly...

My Review:

When I saw the premise of this book, it reminded me of The Hunger Games, which is a book that I loved.  That was one of the reasons I wanted to read this book.  Now that I've read it, I can say that, though there are some similarities, this book is very different from The Hunger Games, but it is equally as amazing.  This book is dark and gory, so be prepared for this when you start reading it.


Lucian Spark is the protagonist of this book, and he is a wonderfully well-written character.  He really is a good guy.  One of the best things about him is how much he cares about his four-year-old brother, Cole.  He would do anything for Cole, and this is one of the reasons why being Recruited is so horrible for Lucky.  He knows that, if he messes up, Cole will have to die.  He couldn't bear that, so he is determined to not lose a Trial.

The other four Recruits are characters that are fully developed.  As the story progresses, I loved every one of them, even when they were at their worse.  Some of them do some awful things, but deep down, none of them are bad people.  They are all complex and layered.  Once I came to love all these characters, I had to read about them going through so many horrors, and it was one of the most heart-breaking parts of the book.  Digory is a caring guy, and he is so kind to Lucky throughout the Trials, and the training before them.  Gideon is a character who was always bullied at school.  He has a tragic past and home life that none of the other Recruits know about until they find out about it during the Trials.  Cypress is a character who is holding some secrets.  She seems rather hot and cold at first, being nice and them not so nice.  Once you really get to know her character, you can tell that she is a great person who's been through a lot of bad things.  The fourth Recruit is Ophelia, a character who could be quite brutal in the Trials.  Even when, sometimes, it seems like her character should be disliked for what she does, I never did dislike her.  At the core, she really isn't much different than Lucky.  He's fighting for his younger brother's life, and she's fighting for her younger sister's life.  Their motives are really the same, but she often has some more brutal methods that she uses to reach her goals.

The romance in the book between Digory and Lucky is well written and fits into the story perfectly.  It isn't a major part of the story, and it is rather subtle for most of the book.  That made the romance more realistic.  In a world where these two boys are fighting for their loved ones lives or death, it wouldn't be realistic for there to be a huge focus on the romance.  They had much more important things to be concentrating on.  The romance is sweet and slow developing.  It is clear through the training and Trials that Lucky and Digory care for each other.

The world building in the book is also well done.  It isn't confusing the way the world is written.  The Establishment is the totalitarian government that rules.  It is a horrific government, and I would never want to live in that world.  The idea of the Trials, and how they worked, was also easy to follow.  There were five Recruits who each had two Incentives.  The loser of each Trial had to undergo The Culling, and the overall winner would become an Imposer in the elite military force.

If you like dark YA dystopian, read this book.