Title: Shadow of Wrath (Sins of the 7)
Author: L.W. Patricks
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Thriller
My Rating: 4 Stars
"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. When a starving and homeless boy is kidnapped and brought to a modern-day gladiator arena, hidden deep within the abandoned city of Bimini, he is forced to fight for his life. The crude death matches are a source of enjoyment for Ryker, who resides over the Arena as its vicious master. Given the name Dog, the street boy must find a way to survive, even if it means murdering other innocent kids in combat at the expense of his humanity. With every dead body he leaves behind in the pit, the blood and the violence threatens to wake a beast inside him. Allegra, a slave girl in the pits 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? With death casting it's long shadow over everyone, how can anyone survive? A tale about survival, tragedy, and human perseverance, SHADOW OF WRATH allows us a glimpse into the world of the Sins of the 7. If you love Hunger Games, Divergent, and Maze Runner, you'll love SHADOW OF WRATH. (From Goodreads)"
Death, Violence, Suggestive Language: I wouldn’t recommend this for younger readers.
Shadow of Wrath was extremely well written, in my opinion. L.W. Patricks puts you in the this horrid arena, where children fight to the death, repeatedly, leaving only the children willing to kill to survive alive. Just because your alive, doesn’t mean your living, as the book harshly shows. Dog may be the champion and given better housing and food but he’s still just an animal, caged and tortured.
The characters are all put into horrifying situations that leave them grappling for their humanity as well as keeping the reader emotionally attached. This book manages to pull up such strong emotions for the characters: hatred for Ryker, the founder of the arena, compassion for Dog, fear for Allegra, and absolute disgust for the guards and anyone else willingly involved in the arena.
This was one of the books that leads you down a straightforward path, somewhat predictable, then abruptly takes a left turn and leaves you baffled and turning the pages at rapid speed, eager to find out what happens. I loved how unexpected and chilling Shadow of Wrath was!
Overall: This is definitely a must read for anyone interested in survival, thrilling and impossible situations, and a struggle for humanity. Shadow of Wrath is a disturbing and thought-provoking read about what it means to be, and stay, human in a world where killing another is the only way to survive.
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