Look through my list of favourite books, books I have reviewed, or just read my website and get to know me a little, and you will realise that this series is a pretty unlikely fit as far as my likes in fiction go.
The first book I got through Netgalley and read it in one sitting on a very long train journey. I thought it would be an easy read and figured I wouldn’t need to concentrate on it too much, so it was perfect for the impending trek across the country.
I started reading and it didn’t wow me instantly. It was indeed an easy read. Light. Playful. Somewhat ‘on the surface’ but that was ok. Then somewhere between Peterborough and Norwich I realised I was enjoying this story.
The reviews tell you it is similar to The Hunger Games, and indeed one can draw some comparisons, to that and other concepts, but although it makes use of ideas that we have seen before, the way it is assembled is refreshing.
I read book two a few weeks later (purchased with my own money) to break up a run of very long, modern fantasy books, and then a little after that, thanks to NetGalley, I read the third to round off the trilogy.
In the same way that I enjoy Hathaway and Andrews’ characters in The Princess Diaries (another unlikely like, I know) I found myself admiring the heroine, America, in this series, and more surprisingly found myself caring about what happens to her.
I can’t really explain what it is that works for me about this series other than these books are so different to anything else I indulge in that the contrast is pleasing. It is a flowing story, each chapter pretty much ending on a moment of significance to ensure you keep reading, and events unfolding not always where you think they are going to.
You may look at this cover art and then look at me and fail to put the two together, but you will just have to take my word for it – these, I like. Something in the way all those familiar elements are put together – the imagery, the competition, the promise of royalty, the struggle – just works.