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Ryan's skills catch the eye of a flagrant Owner, bent on winning the virtual competition: Vicara. Newly branded as a Belligerent, Ryan struggles for freedom ...
Ryan's skills catch the eye of a flagrant Owner, bent on winning the virtual competition: Vicara. Newly branded as a Belligerent, Ryan struggles for freedom and acceptance at an academy specialized in training teams for Vicara. Ryan's place on the team is shaky as he learns the truth and tragedy behind the person he replaces.
Join the Belligerents as we get our first look into the world of Vicara!
Posted September 9, 2013
For those of you who've been saying "Oh, it's just another Hunger Games. Big whoop," you need to shut your mouths right now before the rest of your brain falls out. This is not The Hunger Games. Aside from the fact that it includes a televised event of children fighting each other in a dystopian universe (which is not an idea unique to The Hunger Games originally anyway), these two books really don't have that much in common.
One of my personal favorite premises in this book is the fact that anyone who is caught committing a crime become a Belligerent and lives out the rest of his or her life a either a servant, a labor worker, an entertainer, or a modern day gladiator. Of course, committing a crime isn't nearly the same thing as getting caught committing a crime, but talk about a motivator to keep the public in line! Do something illegal and you get a band strapped around your wrist that will inject a sedative into your bloodstream the moment you try to resist.
Not only does becoming a Belligerent mean that you practically forfeit all control over your own life, but you have to give it to someone else. You are now property of an Owner that has every power to make you do whatever they want. That's where Ryan ends up after he tries to steal the car of a wealthy Owner who's determined to have his team win the Vicara games for reasons that are never fully clear to us. All we know is that Shifter, the man that's now calling the shots of his life, saw something in Ryan that he needed and decided to take it.
I liked how you could see the different opinions people had of the Belligerents, and how they changed with time. When Ryan was younger, he thought it would be the coolest thing ever to be able to compete in the Vicara Games, but now all he wants to do is get out of them because he sees Belligerents for what they really are: slaves. Sure, a few of them may gain the status of wealthy celebrities every year, but up until that point, their freedom is the very last thing they have control over.
Shifter's team is probably the best thing about Belligerent. Meeting them way by far my favorite part of the novel, and they are always the easiest characters for me to identify. They're all so unique and obviously became Belligerents in different manners, yet their differences are probably the very reason they work so well together. They all need each other in some way, and I love the family dynamic that B.N. Mauldin creates with them.
My one criticism for this book lies with the ending. Cliffhangers, man. Cliffhangers. Belligerent is obviously supposed to be part of a series, but what a place to end! Do you think you could have left me with even more to wonder about?
Posted September 2, 2013
Posted August 31, 2013
Ryan is a car thief on the streets of a dystopian world. He shares an appartment with some of his friends, and a whole bunch of strangers. Life is tough, but he’s managed to make the best out of it, along with his best friend, Alex. And life could be worse – he could be a Belligerent, the lowest of the low, criminals and outcasts. With his profession, it’s only a matter of time before something like that really happens. When he catches the eye of an Owner, Ryan’s life is in greater peril than he could anticipate.
The Owner, Shiftler, sets up a trap for Ryan, and when he’s caught stealing, Shiftler makes him a Belligerent and brings him to an academy for Belligerents, where he will be trained to fight in the virtual competition called Vicara. Along with the other members of his team – Eva, Mackenzie, Logan, Daylan, Kenichi, Aria and Clarisse – he has to learn to work and function as a team member, not just an individual. But the problem is that he’s replacing someone – James, the car specialist the other team members all loved dearly – and that nobody can seem to trust him, and Ryan isn’t exactly very trusting of them either. As he puts his trust in the wrong people, he may need his team members to survive…
I liked the ideas mentioned in this book: the Belligerents, Owners, the virtual competition. None of those ideas are particularly original, but it’s the combination of those that works so well. My largest pet peeve was that, for a dystopian novel, we don’t get to see a lot about how the government works in this world, or even what the rules are. For now, all I’ve gathered is that criminals are Belligerents, some kind of slaves, and you’ve got Betas and Omegas, Omegas being house slaves. You’ve got Owners, who obviously own some Belligerents, and Commoners who are basically nobodies. So a caste system is nice and fun, but that can’t be all there is. Who is in charge of this world? Can Commoners get actual jobs, or is this limited to Owners only? Isn’t the presence of law enforcement necessary to declare someone a Belligerent? Or can any Owner do it at any given time?
I had a lot of questions in regards to the world building that were left unanswered, which was a little annoying, but it was probably the only pet peeve I had with the book. That, and the characters’ ages. They’re all about fourteen years old, but when you read about them, they sound much more like seventeen year olds. Ryan sounds way too mature for his age. So I’m willing to believe he’s more mature because of his life on the streets, but even then, he acts way older than fourteen, and it’s hard to believe.
But on to the good stuff. Let’s start with our main character, Ryan. I liked him, because he’s probably as far from perfect as can be. He gets caught stealing, makes a fuss about turning into a Belligerent but never actually tries to escape or something like that, then he starts hanging out with the rest of his team members but can never quite fit in. The other team members were all right as well. I got a sense of personality from each of them, but I would’ve preferred to get to know them a little better. Oh well, maybe in the next book? I have to say I liked Clarisse the best. She instantly wanted to make Ryan feel like part of the group. She’s always outgoing and social – a stark contrast to Ryan’s personality. Mackenzie was all right as well. I understood her reasoning a little better toward the end, and I liked how she was willing to give Ryan a shot afterall.
Belligerent reads like a mix of The Hunger Games and X-men or something. Not that the Belligerents have supernatural powers, but they’re looked down upon, and they have to work together as a team. The writing was great as well – it pulled me in almost right away, and really made me care for the characters.
An excellent read if you like young adult books, or dystopian novels in general.
Posted May 30, 2013
Belligerent has a very good storyline - it holds your attention throughout the book. The characters are interesting and believable. Even though this is a young adult book, you are still able to identify with the characters and the emotions they are feeling. There is plenty of action and drama to keep you turning the pages. The book has an unexpected ending which leaves you wondering what is going to happen next. I am looking forward to reading Book 2 in this series.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.