Selected as an Offering to the king, one teenage girl discovers the truth behind her country’s revered leader and attempts to expose him in this nail-biting dystopian adventure.
Every July, as part of the celebration that marks the end of the war, all 16-year-olds must face the Reckoning, a mysterious test that classifies each of them as an Elite, Member, Intermediate or Trog. Beyond assignment to jobs and social statuses, those in the Reckoning also risk inclusion in the pool of thirty Offerings to King Victor. No one knows what being an Offering entails. Silver Blackthorn, a tech-savvy girl from the Northern Realm, learns firsthand the disturbing truth behind the mystery. Brutality lies in wait at every camera-studded corner in Middle England, and a friend made today may be gone tomorrow. Silver quickly realizes the only way to survive is to escape from Windsor Castle. Though Wilkinson frames this trilogy opener with heavy nods to tropes popularized in Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy, the plot soon veers into a briskly paced escape mission. Hints at romance fall flat, but there’s true joy in Silver’s evolving friendships and the game-changing spirit of camaraderie they inspire.
Though derivative, this new dystopian novel ultimately engages with its blurring of lines between medieval castles and sci-fi technology. (Science fiction. 14 & up)