My review and an extended sample of the audiobook are posted at Hotlistens.com.
I started this series a little late. I picked up book one last year just before the third book came out. Then several people read it and talked about a cliffhanger at the end of it, so I decided not to get in any kind of hurry to get through this series. I wanted to be caught up about the time book four came out. Well, book four is expected to come out in May (though no title or cover yet, so hmmm??). I thought it was time to start working my way towards that goal.
I’m not a huge fan of YA, but I seem to do better with dystopian YA series. I think it is because they are outside of the school settings. Plus, the teenagers are forced to grow up a little quicker than they would if they were just “normal” teenagers. Could also be that the YAs that I’ve tried have come highly recommended, like this series. Plus, I love Kresley Cole. I listen to both her Immortals After Dark series and her Game Maker series.
If you’re not familiar with this series, it starts off “normal” in book one. Then there is The Flash that changes everything. The climate isn’t the same and plants don’t want to grow. There are now “bagmen” who are like zombies. Lastly, our main character, Evie, has changed. She now has powers. She’s not the only one. There are different “cards”, others players in this game who all represent different tarot cards. Evie is the Empress. They will all have to fight and kill each other until there is one left standing. This isn’t like The Hunger Games, more like The Highlander, “there can be only one”. This “game” has been played several times in the past. Only a few select cards have memory of the past games.
In this story, Evie, has a lot going on. Not only is she still trying to figure out who is friend and who is foe, she also has some romance going on. Jackson Deveaux, a Cajun boy that she’s known she before The Flash. While he is a “normal” he has deemed himself her protector and pushes himself into this game that he really has no part in. Then there is Death, one of the players in the game who does remember the past games. He also has a quite the love/hate relationship with Evie. She has betrayed him in past games. But, she is also the only woman that he can touch without killing.
A lot happens on their journey in this story. This story is also pretty gruesome, especially for a YA story, much darker than either of Kresley Cole’s adult series that I’ve read. Evie and her group have to fight with a group of cannibals and some of the things that these cannibals have done are very much cringe worthy, even for a horror reader like myself.
There is also a sex scene in this story. There was very close to a second one. This is something that I’ve read in some YA series, but it is generally missing in most. I will commend Ms. Cole for pushing the importance of contraception even during this time where things like condoms would be hard to come by. In adult stories, I’m a little indifferent to whether or not they are mentioned, but I do think it is important for books that are targeting a group of people who are just starting to go down the road of exploring this part of their life.
I’ve really enjoyed this series so far. I almost didn’t pick it up because my pickiness with YA series. I’m really glad that it came so highly recommended by several of my friends. This is not a standard YA series. It is a lot darker than I expected. It is a very complex world with extremely well developed characters. They all have very hard choices to make to survive this new world that they live in. You can bet that I will be picking up the next book very soon.
This is the first series that I’ve listened to with Emma Galvin. I think she has done a great job with the narration of this series so far. There are several different characters that she has had to voice in some pretty tough situations and I thought she did a flawless job. The scene in the pantry of the cannibals in one that stands out with me. One with a guy named Tad who had been in the pantry for a while. That scene is very moving.