Sep 9, 2013


Review of Belligerent by B.N. Mauldin

I finished it! Actually, I finished it a few weeks ago (which only ended up being a few days after my tour post which you can find here), but I was never able to find the time to write the review. For the record, I still haven't found the time, but I've decided to make some for the greater good of us all because this book really deserves to be talked about!

Belligerent by B.N. Mauldin

In a dystopian future the populace is segregated into castes. Belligerents, the lowest of status, are comprised of criminals and outcasts. Content as a faceless Commoner, Ryan has made a life for himself on the streets as a car thief. While the work isn’t the most noble, he’s known as one of the best despite his young age.

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!

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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?

My Rating:

Writing since she was “old enough to hold a crayon”, B.N. Mauldin resides in Lexington, North Carolina with her two cats. Her parents, Bill, Bobby, Shirley, and Mary have always been great sources of encouragement, as well as her two younger brothers, Matthew and Donovan, whose imaginations inspire her writing. A vital element of Mauldin’s mentality involves looking at something ordinary while contemplating what else it could be.
A tea addict and “Slytherin” at heart Mauldin also gets a spark of creativity through considerable reading of “some of the greatest works ever written.”
To read more about B.N., follow her blog.
Mauldin’s first novel, Belligerent, is now available for pleasurable reading through Fable Press.

A copy of the novel was provided for us in exchange for an honest review.

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