Saturday, 6 February 2016

REVIEW - THE VAMPIRE GAMES BY STEPHANIE ARCHER

Title: The Vampire Games
Author: Stephanie Archer
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi, Dystopia, Vampire, Romance
Release Date: 31st January 2016

BLURB from Goodreads
My name is Bianka, and I live in a world a lot like yours. Or at least, I used to.

Then I got harvested.

Taken into eerie darkness underneath the surface of my world, I’ve learned that cities like mine – Hidden Oaks – are just places that the vampires keep humans until it’s time to drink their blood. Now it’s my turn. They’re harvesting me.

But I’m fighting hard, and the vampires have noticed. A sponsor is buying me. A handsome, mysterious vampire with piercing eyes, who wants me to fight other humans in The Vampire Games. If I lose, I’ll be harvested. If I win, I’ll join my sponsor, Phillip, as one of them.

I’ll be turned into a vampire.

All I must do to spend an eternity with Phillip is sell my soul.

The scary part? I’d do a lot worse for him than that.


PURCHASE LINKS

INITIAL  THOUGHTS
I have to admit I was a little skeptical as I approached reading this book, because of the title "The Vampire Games". Part of me wondered if it would be like "The Hunger Games"...I should also say I had become a little bored of the "usual stereotypical vampire" and usual Vampire genre plots. So to say I was going to be a hard possibly critical audience was fair.

MY REVIEW
I downloaded a copy of this e-book free from Netgalley, in exchange for my honest opinion and review. I have seen two covers for this book, so I have chosen the one featured on Netgalley and it also happens to be my favourite of the two covers too. The cover features slim but muscular male, who upon reading the book I would say was definitely Prince Phillip of Dawn Hold. The only thing I'd say is the male on the covers eyes don't do their description in the book full justice. The V of flames is certainly eye catching and I think would really draw your eye to the book on a book store shelf. The only negative I can think of is the title and perhaps people being as cynical as me thinking it is going to be too similar to The Hunger Games. So would the cover make me pick this book up from a bookstore shelf? Yes! I would pick this book up to read the blurb for sure!
So the basic plot is that Vampires live below ground and the humans that live above are basically there to create more humans for the vampires to harvest when they need too. Bianka is at school and during a pretty normal school day she see's men in black schools enter the school building, she notices a young man who remains in their vehicle and he has intense blue eyes, every time Bianka looks up and in his direction he is staring at her. When she goes home from school some of these men are waiting for her. Her mother though upset just tells her she must go with these men. Bianka later learns that the men in the black suits are "the harvesters".
Bianka and the other teens being harvested are taken deep underground to a system of caverns lived in and ruled by the vampires. It's when Bianka see's what is happening to her friends that she panics and fights even though she is clearly out numbered. A mystery male comes to her aid and secretes her in a room, bringing her food and clothes, but Bianka feels she cannot trust him so when the opportunity is in front of her she runs! or rather crawls through a venting duct. Her goal is to rescue her best friend, and secret crush Marc, but that ends up with them both caught and sent to the Grinder. The Grinder is where humans are sent if the sedatives don't work on them or if they try to escape. The Grinder is what you could call the waiting room to die, as humans are taken from the Grinder to fight in the Vampire Coliseum. There's even a screen within the Grinder holding room so those locked in their can see their former room mates fight to the death. When the vampires attempt to take the still partially sedated Marc to fight, Bianka volunteers and fights to take his place, thinking she has a better chance of fighting, and surviving than he does. When Bianka surprisingly wins her fight, though her opponent clearly wanted to die and finish her life of captivity, Bianka is separated from the others in the Grinder and made to stand on some sort of stage in another room, where she is bought for sixty crowns in a quite fierce bidding war. Bianka has been bought by Prince Phillip of Dawn Hold, and is to be trained to fight in the coliseum so she can face other humans and even some vampires. There is a points system for the fighting, but the way to score the highest is simple . . . you kill your opponent. 
So what do you get if you fight well and earn enough points? Well the great prize is to be "created". What is "created". . .well you are made into a vampire. . .or the other option is to request another prize but this is extremely rare. Another thing that is a rarity is for a human in the Coliseum to "surrender" to their opponent, this is not what the vampires want and the result is that the one who surrendered is killed or harvested. The Vampires want a vicious blood bath style of fight preferably with one of the fighters being killed. No weapons are allowed in the fight except for the shock gloves that Lord Hector has introduced. Each fighter is also fitted with a collar before they go into the fighting pit. This collar is used to encourage (or force) the wearer of the collar to fight. If the fighters are not aggressive enough they are violently shocked by the collar until they conform and fight.
I really enjoyed reading this book, I loved the way the author created the whole system of harvesting, vampire politics, the action in the coliseum as well as the issue of being "fated". I could rattle on forever about this book there is so much going on in it and to talk about.
The characters I really loved were main character, Bianka and Prince Philip. I also really liked Alisyn and hope to read more about her in book two, perhaps she could help Bianka in changing things. (sorry if its a little vague it will make more sense when you read the book, I promise). This may sound odd to some but I didn't like the character of Marc. He is well written and developed, but I just found myself asking, would he do the same for you Bianka?I am also enjoying "hating" Lord Hector and his vampire way of life.
So did I enjoy the book? Yes, I didn't want to put it down and was left wanting the next book straight away! I needn't have worried, this is not your "usual vampire plot" as this one is set in a dystopian society too and has its own vampire hierarchy and its political problems too. Would I recommend the book? Yes, do not be put off by the title's similarity to The Hunger Games as I was initially. This book has a great plot, brilliantly developed and set up society, as well as interesting characters too. You really root for Bianka in her fights. This book has action, betrayal, and conspiracy. It has a dystopian vampire society, which really
Would I want to read another book in this series? Yes please! If I'd had the next book in the series , I would have picked it up and started reading it immediately. Great cliff hanger ending and lots of potential for a fantastic series. Would I want to read another title by Stephanie Archer? I enjoyed this one so much I would checkout the blurb of any book by this author.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Wow what a place to end the first book Stephanie! When can I read more?
Totally loved this book, and didn't want it to end! I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly enjoyed this book. Yes I certainly want to read more of the potentially brilliant series. I admit being quite cynical to begin with due to the title being "The Vampire Games" being so similar to "The Hunger Games" but it is, in my opinion a totally different  plot base, sure there's a form of  "games" in both books but that as far as the similarities go really.

2 comments:

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this unique take on a vampire story. I am hooked and want to know more, so I am hanging out for book two. This is not your average, predictable paranormal romance or vampire story. It had me guessing and surprised throughout. So good I couldn't put it down. Thank heavens it is the weekend and I don't have work tomorrow! Bring on book two and if it's anything like this one, bring on all the others too.

    Cath Brookes
    Veritable Landscaping Olympia WA website

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    Replies
    1. I am following the author via Goodreads but there seems to be no sign of a Bk2 yet.

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