Author: Bella Forrest
My Rating: ♥ ♥
Goodreads, Amazon UK, Cinematic Book Trailer
What did I think?
I must admit I requested it because I thought the premise sounded interesting.
A toxic river splits the genders. On one side we have the country of Matrus and on the other side the country of Patrus. In Patrus women have no rights and basically belong to their husbands, however in Matrus women are the ruling class. They loathe violence and aim to be peaceful, but then they go as far as testing young boys for traits such as aggression and send them off to work in mines as slaves? Very peaceful and advanced? I have a lot of questions and not many are answered in this book. How did this split between genders happen? Do these women really think keeping boys as slaves makes them better than the men on the other side of the river who own their women? Are any of these people okay? Where do trans people stand?
Back to the premise. Relations between the two societies aren't all that great. Violet, the protagonist, gets herself into trouble... I'm not sure how one person manages to kill two people by perforating their throats purely by accident? These sorts of accidents never happen to me (thankfully). Violet is offered a pardon from her crimes on the condition that she serves as an undercover agent to retrieve something Patrus has stolen from Matrus.
And Violet has no choice if she ever wants to see her brother again...
The title has clearly been chosen to remind readers of other books, because so far I haven't really seen a 'game'.
Sadly, the plot is thin. The ending is rushed. There are a lot of loose ends and no real resolution to any of the questions the reader and Violet have. There's not enough romance to consider it a romance and not enough dystopia to consider it dystopian either. A love triangle is set up, sort of (why must there always be a triangle?) and overall it feels much more like the first part of a book than the first book in a trilogy (why must there always be a trilogy?)
But there was also a lot I liked. Violet is an interesting character who can kick ass. Her love interest is thoughtful, attractive and well written. I picked this up because I thought it would be a short and entertaining read, which it was. I was looking for suspense and action, which I got. And I must say I couldn't put it down and just had to find out how it ends.