Monday, August 13, 2018

Review: The Raging Ones by Krista & Becca Ritchie

The Raging Ones
(The Raging Ones #1)
Publication Date: August 14, 2018
Hardcover, 352 pages, Wednesday Books
Genres: YA, Sci-Fi

In a freezing world, where everyone knows the day they will die, three teens break all odds.

Franny Bluecastle, a tough city teen, dreams of dying in opulence, to see wealth she’s never known. Like the entire world, she believes it’s impossible to dodge a deathday.

Until the day she does.

Court Icecastle knows wealth. He also knows pain. Spending five years in Vorkter Prison, a fortress of ice and suffering, he dreams of life beyond the people that haunt him and the world that imprisoned him.

Mykal Kickfall fights for those he loves. The rugged Hinterlander shares a frustrating yet unbreakable connection with Court—which only grows more lawless and chaotic as their senses and emotions connect with Franny.

With the threat of people learning they’ve dodged their deathdays, they must flee their planet to survive. But to do so, all three will have to hide their shared bond as they vie for a highly sought after spot in the newest mission to space. Against thousands of people far smarter, who’ll live longer, and never fear death the way that they do.

My Review

Three teenagers sharing a mystical bond in a YA book isn’t abnormal. In fact, some would say it’s downright cliché. What isn’t cliché is how the bond isn’t romantic. At least, it’s not romantic in terms of a love triangle featuring two boys fighting over one girl. In fact, the boys are much more interested in each other than the new girl.

Okay, so I have to be honest. I was intrigued by this book not because of the main synopsis, but because of the LGBT characters plus the sci-fi element. Too often in YA, LGBT characters are relegated to contemporary stories only, and I’m not here for it. I want some SFF diversity. So when I started this one, I wasn’t totally sure what I was getting into. And by the end of it, I was just like “Huh?” and “What in the world did I just read?” And not necessarily in a good way.

The plot of this book starts out weirdly, but the characters are what lead the story. Court is kind of a more emotional Kaz Brekker. Mykal is… well, he’s Mykal. I don’t know of very many characters like him. He’s a gruff, simple, outdoorsy dude. He’s like a younger, hotter Ron Swanson on an ice planet. And Franny is pretty simple in terms of lifestyle as well. She does what she wants. She’s unique, but she’s got a little Tris and/or Katniss in her.

These characters’ backgrounds are fascinating, but—and this is a big BUT—those backgrounds could have been explored way more than they were. All three of the characters’ backstories were just summed over like they didn’t really matter. This was very frustrating. I don’t like it when readers don’t get the emotional impact from a previous event and instead are just told a very summed up, quickie version.

This problem transferred over into plot as well. Any time something remotely interesting happen plot-wise, two pages later, it would be wrapped up. Any fight or conversation took two seconds to fix. There was just a lot of showing and not a lot of telling. Everything was summed up instead of slowed down for dramatic effect, including relationship dynamics. This made the subplots dull, and it lessened the impact of the primary plot. Also, a lot of crying happened in this one. I was a little confused as to why the characters’ emotions were all over the place.

Okay, so those are the negatives. There are quite a few. However, I was sucked in about 15% of the way in, so the beginning is good. The middle is where things get hard to wade through, and then the ending, the very end, is where things pick up. The Raging Ones finally turned into the space story I was promised. Now, I want to see what happens in book two. I’m not dying to know, but I am curious.

All in all, this book could have been The Hunger Games meets The 100 (in space!) with its own super unique twist, instead, it went a totally different direction and kind of just floundered there. The relationships were meh and the plot was too summarized 90% of the time. I’d suggest going into this one with caution.

*Note: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way affected my opinion/review.

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