Shadow of Wrath
Series: Sins of the 7, #1
Publication: March 13, 2013
Genre: YA Dystopian
In the Arena, you're either a killer or a victim.
If survival meant murdering an innocent person in cold blood every week, could you do it? Are you able to stick the knife into your opponent's heart while they look at you with fear in their eyes? Life in the Arena turns everyone into sinners.
A homeless boy is kidnapped from the streets and finds himself imprisoned in a far more horrifying place: The Arena, a place where teenage boys fight to the death for the pleasure of various lowlifes.
The Arena is the brainchild of Ryker, an ex-convict addicted to alcohol, gladiatorial-esque combats, and money. When not devising new ways for boys to kill each other, he’s ruling his small empire with a ruthless fist, rewarding his guards with sex slaves and punishing those who oppose him with barbaric executions.
Renamed Dog, the boy from the street proves to be an excellent fighter and finds himself surviving week after week, but as he leaves a trail of bodies in his wake, the ghosts of slain boys haunt him and the violence threatens to wake a beast inside him.
Allegra, a slave girl in the Arena and a victim of Ryker's constant abuse, is his only key to salvation. She has lost everything already -- her family, her innocence, and her dignity -- while her will to live hangs on by a thin thread. Can she save Dog's humanity before she too succumbs to the horrors of the Arena?
Seeking to defy Ryker as Dog rises to power as his champion, the stage is set for something to give in this murderous world of young combatants. A tale about survival, tragedy, and human perseverance, the Complete SHADOW OF WRATH is the first book in the Sins of the 7 series.
REVIEWI’m a fan of fight books so I was very excited to get a chance to be on the Shadow of Wrath blog tour. This book is gritty, violent, and has a lot of twists to it. It’s definitely not any genre I can easily identify, which means it’s hard to rate and review. It’s got a romance in it, sort of. But it’s definitely not a romance. It’s got some science in it, but it’s not really a SF novel. It’s got kids in it…but it’s not a young adult novel either, in my opinion.
So I’m at a loss for how to review this book. I think it was mis-categorized. I read the whole book, and the plot is definitely up there as far as interesting books go, but the characterization wasn’t enough to make me care about any of these people. Dog, the boy being groomed to be champion has almost no emotion. And since this is a third person POV, it was really hard to connect with him.
I might’ve liked Allegra, the main love interest, but she was not really on Dog’s side. In fact, she states several times that his lack of emotion, the same problem I had with him, turned her off. Plus, these kids were very young. The book spans two years, and Allegra is just fourteen when we meet her. This makes me cringe.
The other issue I had was a decision made by Dog just when things started to look up. I can’t say any more because it’s a spoiler, but I felt that was either the most selfish thing a person could do, or the most stupid.
I tried to picture my almost sixteen year old son reading this and honestly, he might not have an issue with the lack of emotion or the brutal fighting, or swearing, or the twists, which were also brutal and horrifying…but I can tell you right now, my son would not want to read about how these adult men treated this girl (child) Allegra, or any of the women for that matter. They were basically sex slaves and Allegra worried about her virtue throughout the entire book. (But to be clear, there is no sex in this book, just talk of it in terms of abuse and making the women comply with the rules.)
I can’t recommend this for young adults, but I did enjoy it as an adult novel. Again, the only thing that put me off in that regard, was the lack of emotion in the characters. And I realize that was the point the author was trying to make, that these people were animals and they turned the kids into animals by making them fight or die. But I think a little more personal interaction between the characters would’ve made it a much stronger book.
ABOUT THE AUTHORL.W. Patricks is the author of SHADOW OF WRATH and the literary architect behind the upcoming Sins of the 7 series with his second book: AWAKE THE GHOSTS to be published late 2013.
His short fiction works has been published by Crow Toes Quarterly Magazine, Fiction and Verse literary magazine, and upcoming Denizens of the Dark. He enjoys writing contemporary fantasy with an emphasis on creating urban mythology for his stories.
Though he calls Toronto his home, L.W. Patricks has a passion for exploration and has travelled all over the world including Germany, Netherlands, Italy, France, Spain, Czech Republic, Austria, United Kingdom, Thailand, Hong Kong, Cambodia just to name a few. His diverse experience amongst other cultures provides inspiration for his stories.
He currently lives in Toronto with his wife where he enjoys the scorching summer days and the icy winter nights while masquerading as a Word Samurai. He claims to be the offspring of a typewriting chimp and a literary ninja.
You can visit him at his website at www.lwpatricks.com