Published: March 8th, 2013
Copy: Publisher through Netgalley
Who would you choose?
Lucian "Lucky" Spark has been recruited for training by the totalitarian government known as the Establishment. According to Establishment rules, if a recruit fails any level of the violent training competitions, a family member is brutally killed . . . and the recruit has to choose which one.
As the five recruits form uneasy alliances in the hellish wasteland that is the training ground, an undeniable attraction develops between Lucky and the rebellious Digory Tycho. But the rules of the training ensure that only one will survive--the strongest recruits receive accolades, wealth, and power while the weakest receive death. With Cole--Lucky's four-year-old brother--being held as "incentive," Lucky must marshal all his skills and use his wits to keep himself alive, no matter what the cost.
I am sure that The Culling will end up with many comparisons to The Hunger Games, and while some of them are merited - being 'chosen' in a lottery and having to fight to the last man standing - I think that The Culling is riveting enough to stand squarely on its own two feet. But be warned, The Culling is violent, very violent and extremely disturbing on many occasions.
Having said that, the story is extremely compelling and will catch your attention early on. Lucky, Digory, Gideon, Ophelia and Cypress are all very different and their reactions to the situations they find themselves in are intriguing and insightful. I wasnt' all that surprised at what these kids were prepared to do to save the lives of their 'incentives. The 'bad' guy is Cassius, who is an old friend of Lucky's and he was the only character that I didn't feel completely at ease with. His reactions seemed just a little contrived and convenient, and I was never quite sure exactly what his relationship had been with Lucky. The GLBT romance in the story is incredibly bittersweet and almost had me in tears on a couple of occasions.
Over all, an interesting if very violent dystopian world that should please fans of the genre. Put this one on your list.