I've got a new YA for everyone today, it is Reckoning by Kerry Wilkinson, published by Pan/ Macmillan.
Silver Blackthorn is sixteen years old and lives in the village of Martindale, north of London. In this future story, anyone over the age of 16 can take the Reckoning, a test that determines your standing in society. Silver is not worried, she knows she'll score well, but what she is not expecting is to be chosen as one of the king's Offerings.
Offerings are never heard from again, but villages consider it an honor to have a child chosen and will receive extra food rations. Silver takes her place among the 16 other kids and soon finds out that being an Offering is often a one way deal.
The king is crazy, taking pleasure in torture and death. The 16 Offerings every year face his random mood swings and killer pleasures. Usually only a few make it to the next year, but even then, you are stuck in the castle, forced to live an egg-shell life. Silver is determined to escape and let everyone outside the castle know the truth, but any slip up means death.
I found this book interesting and enjoyed Silver's trials and plans. She is tough, which is the only reason she can survive. Others have tried to escape before her, but they all died. Even so, she is determined, knowing that it will not just save her life, but the lives of future offerings.
The cruelty of the king is stark and cringe worthy. I'd recommend the book for older readers. I'm always amazed by authors that are able to work such terror into their books, but still leave them as exciting reads.
There is one part of the story where I grew confused and couldn't later tell if Silver had been betrayed or if it was part of her plan. The author writes it as one way and then flips. Even so, I enjoyed the story. I'm not sure what he has planned for the additional books in the trilogy, but I'd like to check them out. 4 stars!