This reads like someone mashed Orange is the New Black, Twilight, and The Hunger Games together and edited out most of the stuff that annoyed me about each of them. (Although I mostly loved The Hunger Games) The pacing and action were pretty awesome, and the overall premise and world-building were super interesting. Are there some points in the story where you have to suspend your disbelief and shut off your bullshit meter? Sure. But that’s fairly par for the course in paranormal romance, so it can be overlooked.
I also enjoyed the vampire hero, Varick. He’s not what you’d call a “good guy.” I mean, he was a pirate before he was turned into a vampire (which is bad, but admittedly a little sexy at the same time), and he’s been complicit in the deaths of countless women in the “games”, but I forgave him because he’s essentially just as much a slave as the women he’s helped send to their deaths. And over the course of the book, he does develop a conscience, which is interesting to see. He was a conflicted, brooding, tortured kind of hero, but without the annoying whining and angst of Edward Cullen.
Selena was a decent heroine, even if she’s a little too perfect for my liking. And of course, she’s “super special”, as is law in young adult paranormal stories. But I enjoyed the rest of the characters and overall story that I was able to overlook Selena’s “Mary Sue” inclinations.
There were some minor editing issues that I feel I have to point out for all you grammar Nazis out there, but if you’re an easy-going reader, I think you’ll find that there’s nothing so egregious that it can’t be overlooked.
Minor nitpicks notwithstanding, this was a fun read and I’ll be checking out the rest of the series for sure.
Does this book contribute to or help crush the romance stigma?
It’s stigma free. No rehab needed!
Other reading suggestions
As I said, I don’t read much YA. But if you haven’t read The Hunger Games (if you’ve been living under a rock or something, I guess) you’ll want to check that one out.
More paranormal for your perusal