Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Review of The Culling by Steven dos Santos

The Culling (The Torch Keeper, #1)Title: The Culling (The Torch Keeper, #1)
Author: Steven dos Santos
Published by: Flux
Pages: 421
Source: Publisher/NetGalley
Format: ebook
Rating: 5 stars

Summary from GoodreadsRecruitment Day is here...if you fail, a loved one will die...

For Lucian “Lucky” Spark, Recruitment Day means the Establishment, a totalitarian government, will force him to become one of five Recruits competing to join the ruthless Imposer task force. Each Recruit participates in increasingly difficult and violent military training for a chance to advance to the next level. Those who fail must choose an “Incentive”—a family member—to be brutally killed. If Lucky fails, he’ll have to choose death for his only living relative: Cole, his four-year-old brother.

Lucky will do everything he can to keep his brother alive, even if it means sacrificing the lives of other Recruits’ loved ones. What Lucky isn’t prepared for is his undeniable attraction to the handsome, rebellious Digory Tycho. While Lucky and Digory train together, their relationship grows. But daring to care for another Recruit in a world where love is used as the ultimate weapon is extremely dangerous. As Lucky soon learns, the consequences can be deadly...

I am not one for dark, violent, and horrifying tales but The Culling captivated me and turned my world upside down.

I'm having a difficult time putting into words what I feel about The Culling.  I was incredibly horrified and yet I could not take my eyes off the pages.  Think of facing the scenario of not only have to fight for your freedom, but if you lose you have to choose which of your loved ones to's heartbreaking and so scary.  I didn't really contemplate the situations that these young adults were put into until the day came when they were put through The Trials...I felt so hopeless and broken.  I could not believe the emotions that Steven dos Santos evoked in the reader.  It is really quite amazing that he was able to convey all he did through one novel.

The Recruits were people who were desperate and did barbaric things.  I wanted to hate some of them, but I couldn't because at times I could relate to them and  I have no idea who The Trials would turn me into.  Lucky and Digory were by far my favorite characters, but I came to like most of the Recruits by the end and if I didn't like them I could at least understand them.  Cassius, while I despised him, was the perfect villain   He had a way of complete and utter control over others that made you cringe.  It was worse than someone who used violence, because he really messed with a person's mind and emotions.  It was utterly brilliant, yet horrifying.  

The one thing about this novel that I adored is the incorporation of  homosexuality.  It wasn't obvious at first or even the center of the story.  There was no gay best friend, or homophobic jock.  The world as a whole was pretty messed up in The Culling, but how they viewed homosexuality (essentially homophobia didn't exist) was something I can only hope our world will someday achieve.  The romance was completely natural and something that I think everyone will enjoy and root for.

Overall I was amazed by this novel.  I don't only suggest you read this, but do it now.  I only wish I could go out and buy everyone's that good!    


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  2. I couldn't take my eyes off this one either! Interesing that you don't like dark or violent and loved this one so much though!
    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

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  4. I haven't heard of this one. It sounds very creepy.

  5. Wow this sounds amazing! Any book described as "brilliant yet horrifying" definitely has my attention. And I love that this book seems to feature a world without homophobia. It sounds like there are many other problems, but it's nice to hear one part of the world is an improvement over ours. Great review! I'm very excited to check this one out. :-)

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  7. A fabulous review on a very gut wrenching novel. For a debut author I think this guy did an amazing job of making the reader feel the characters grief without telling us. I felt it like a punch to the gut - it was harsh. I can't even imagine the pain and anguish these kids endured. What a cruel and horrific government to inflict such grief on humanity. I also was totally impressed by how the author incorporated the homosexuality into the book, it flowed well and no one in this futuristic world seem to bat an eye over it. Which was like you said something we can only hope for is in our future.

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