Series: Silver Blackthorn #1
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on July 1, 2014
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.
One girl. One chance. One destiny.
In the village of Martindale, hundreds of miles north of the new English capital of Windsor, sixteen-year-old Silver Blackthorne takes the Reckoning. This coming-of- age test not only decides her place in society – Elite, Member, Inter or Trog – but also determines that Silver is to become an Offering for King Victor.But these are uncertain times and no one really knows what happens to the teenagers who disappear into Windsor Castle. Is being an Offering the privilege everyone assumes it to be, or do the walls of the castle have something to hide? Trapped in a maze of ancient corridors, Silver finds herself in a warped world of suspicion where it is difficult to know who to trust and who to fear. The one thing Silver does know is that she must find a way out . . . The heart-stopping first book in a new trilogy by UK author Kerry Wilkinson, Reckoning is the story of one girl's determination to escape the whims of a cruel king, and what she must do to survive against all odds.
Kerry Wilkinson has introduced us to a wonderful post-apocalyptic England and a wonderful set of characters in Reckoning. This is the first in the Silver Blackthorn Trilogy and it is a winner. I thoroughly enjoyed the feel of these books and I am looking forward to #2., Renegade.
Silver is our main character and only POV. She is brilliant with technology and is constantly making things with the discarded bits from the Era before the apocalypse. She is a 16 year old girl who goes through “Reckoning” to decide her fate (a good analogy is the sorting hat in Harry Potter… Hufflepuff!) Depending on which ranking you receive, your family and community have access to rations. The higher the ranking, the more rations for your family. Each year, 30 individuals are chosen for the honor of serving the King directly. Their families receive extra rations and prestige. The only downside is that the chosen is never heard from again.
As one of the lucky chosen, Silver is pleased that her mother and brother will receive the extra rations and torn because she is leaving her family and closest friend Opie forever. This happy/sad dichotomy is very moving, and I felt her torment deeply. She has NO choice in the matter, so she put on her brave face and and focused on the benefits her family would receive.
Geography has slightly changed and there are four quadrants, called Realms, in England now. North, East, West, South. There is also “Middle England,” which is the Capital area and I believe would coincide with London of today. That is just conjecture on my part. Please let me know if you’ve read it and noticed if the novel states it explicitly! Eventually the train from the North (Silver’s home) arrives with all of the Northern offerings on it. They are introduced to the chosen from the other Realms and split by gender. Then they are brought to their dormitory and to change and go to their welcoming banquet with King Victor. Silver notices locks on the outside of doors and zero access to outside space and she starts wondering about life in the castle.
At the dinner, Silver learns that the king is not the kind man pictured on their propaganda filled television back home. She learns to fear for her life, and she makes some incredible friends and alliances in her journey. Imrin is my favorite, her love interest. Her growing relationship with him, coupled with her love for Opie back home whom she will never see again is a beautiful counterpoint to the horror of her situation. Her fear on how her family could be harmed if she makes the most dangerous choice…to escape.
I wish that Reckoning had explored more of the darker elements that captivity can throw at a character. Silver’s plan was a good one, fly under the radar… but I was hoping for a little more one-on-one action with her captors. The strength of this novel was the post-apocalyptic society building and the emotional connection with Silver. Her choices in a tough situation, her concerns for her family and their safety all resonated with me and I really connected to her. Overall, Reckoning is an excellent read and I am looking forward to Renegade.