In the village of Martindale, hundreds of miles north of the new English capital of Windsor, sixteen-year-old Silver Blackthorn takes the Reckoning. This coming-of-age test not only decides her place in society - Elite, Member, Inter or Trog - but also determines that Silver is to become an Offering for King Victor.
But these are uncertain times and no
one really knows what happens to the teenagers who disappear into
Windsor Castle. Is being an Offering the privilege everyone assumes it
to be, or do the walls of the castle have something to hide?
in a maze of ancient corridors, Silver finds herself in a warped world
of suspicion where it is difficult to know who to trust and who to fear.
The one thing Silver does know is that she must find a way out . . .
I was hooked by the synopsis: a Hunger Games type competition in Windsor Castle? Bring it on! Turns out it was a bit more complicated than that but still damn good. In a tiny village in the north of England, Silver is waiting for the Reckoning, a test every 16 year old has to take to determine their place in society. The test searches your memories, tries to understand what motivates you and places you where it thinks you would suit the betterment of the country. But Silver can't relax after the test, because in the results show, she is randomly selected as an Offering, one of thirty across the country to serve the King in Windsor Castle. Nobody knows what happens to the Offerings, they go into the castle and never come back out.
I loved this dystopian version of England, separated into realms, all working together for the better of the country. Or so it's supposed to be. Of course in a good dystopian, nothing is as it seems and everything from the paranoia and secrets to the King's fake public image had me guessing what was going to happen. Silver was a very good heroine, smart, loyal, good with taking apart and understanding gadgets. All this she put to very good use in navigating and surviving in the castle, piecing together odd bits of information about different parts of the building, the people who live and work there and most importantly, the security system. Then there was Imrin, another Offering that Silver allied herself with. He was quiet and seemed nice but with everything going on in the castle, I'm a little surprised Silver was so quick to trust him. I could understand why Silver needed a friend but he had a lot to prove.
The King was awful. When we first saw him for real, I thought maybe he was just a drunk and useless but it turns out he was vicious and insanely cruel. What he does to the Offerings, to everyone living in the castle, was just horrible; it was amazing how different he was to his public image and if that's not a warning about our social media and celebrity obsessions, then I don't know what is! In surviving against the King's awful rule, it becomes more than just Silver's story and I loved the eventual sense of community and group survival.
So, a great dystopian made better by being set in my beloved homeland, plus some amazing characters, heroic or creepy they may be, and a gripping and intriguing plot line to round it all off. This was an incredible book, I flew threw it, and I cannot wait to see where Silver takes us next.
Published 22nd May 2014 by Pan Macmillan. Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.