Rating: DNF
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

 

Kennedy is full of secrets. He has superpowers. The superpowered are feared and imprisoned, and Kennedy’s nightmares come to life when his powers are discovered. Sent to an underwater prison run by two tyrants, he is forced to compete to the death against other superheroes in a deadly tournament.

It doesn’t help that his team leader, Aidy, is enchanting, protective, loyal, and charming. The last thing Kennedy needs is a distraction.

No one believes rebellion is possible. No believes living is possible. Can Kennedy find a way to win and keep Aidy, too?

I chose to DNF at 56% this book for two reasons: The writing and the story. But mostly the story. Starting with the least problematic, the writing is simplistic. The sentences are short and staccato, with entire paragraphs of sentence fragments and truncated comments with little to no variation in length. The explanatory adverbs are everywhere, with people announcing their intentions blatantly and for no reason. Here is an example:

“Wilhelma will love him. She adores playing with these beasts. Kennedy, we’re going to have such fun together. Wilhelma and I. You won’t be having fun. You will be wishing and longing for Miranda’s grace. She does not play with her food before eating it. We do,” Garrett laughed, his black eyes staring into Kennedy.
Here is another example:
“I was taken a few years back. I know this is all new. I cried for weeks. I’ll help you adjust. You meet your team lead first. That’s me. You’ll meet the rest of our team in a bit. There are four of us in total. This is a weird place. Very dangerous. I’ve been anxious to meet you. We’ve waited for years to get a team. I’ll show you how everything works,” Aidy announced, smiling.

I found the writing style in the portion I read to be off putting. When combined with the story itself, it just made this an unpleasant experience for me.

The story in the first half of the book requires both a suspension of disbelief and of logic. So, to set it up: On one side you have humans, and on the other, super powered humans. The non-powerful humans hunt, kill, and capture the super powered people and lock the ones they don’t kill up in an underground prison where these people are trained in groups of four to use their powers to their fullest extent, so that they can then kill one another in battles to the death.

There are, roughly, a hundred or so teams, and every month, a large number are culled — killed by one another, or culled due to not performing well enough or causing trouble — only to be replaced by newly captured supers. So dozens of supers are captured every month. However, many of these are infants and young children, which implies that there has to be a nursery somewhere or someone who has to take care of them. Or are the infants and young children more often killed, with only adolescents, young adults, and adults left alive for the games? Kennedy’s powers were known in the womb and his parents were … encouraged? Forced? Paid? … to go through with the birth? And then they had to continue to play parents to him, even though they had another life in another state with another child. So, how often did they spend time with Kennedy? Did he not notice his parents were gone much of his life? Why not simply give him adoptive parents? Or make him an orphan?

Kennedy’s school was made up with the majority of his teachers and classmates being agents, so they could keep an eye on him. He was allowed to swim competitively against other schools, while being a dangerous super powered human. Another girl was important enough that it wasn’t just the school that was fake, it was the entire town she lived in. This makes zero sense. If they know supers are so dangerous they must be killed, why keep any of them alive? Why train them, make them hate you and want to kill you … and then let them live?

I realized I was putting way too much thought into this. Nothing made sense to me in the half of the book I read. It felt like there was an idea — a gladiatorial arena where super powered people had to fight against one another for the amusement of their captors — but there was no world building to support the weight of the story. The characters had no personality in the portion I read, and there are so many of them. Every time Kennedy and his team go up against and kill another team, those four people are given names and powers, and then they die.

I only made it to a little past the halfway point. I realized I wasn’t enjoying the book, I was frustrated by the clumsy world building, and uninterested in the characters. As much as I do enjoy superhero stories, this one wasn’t working for me on every level.