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Friday, February 8, 2013

Review; The Culling by Steven dos Santos

The Culling (The Torch Keeper, #1)
The Culling (The Torch Keeper #1) by Steven dos Santos
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.
”add

Publishes in US: March 8th 2013 by Flux
Genre: Dystopia
Source: Netgalley
Series? Yes, the 1st in the Torch Keeper. No information on the next books

Buy it:    

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Blkosiner's Book Blog review  
      The Culling is a very dark and gritty story. It has gore, it has emotions out the wazoo, it has characters put in impossible situations, forced to make choices that kids should never, ever have to make, and I could not take my eyes from the page.
     While I liked the book and respected what Lucky was trying to do for his little brother, I was pretty confused at the beginning. When you have a world and a government that is different from ours now, there needs to be some explanation of what exactly is going on, and I didn't quite get that. New terms and phrases were flying around and it took me out of the story because I couldn't remember if any explanation who or what that person's function was and what it really meant. I picked it up as I went along though, and because there is action and some depth of the characters going on, I didn't give up on it.
     It was hard getting to know the characters though because I knew that all of them wouldn't survive. They were learning to work as a team, but then they would remember that alliances really are not going to help them because their family members are on the line.
     I have read a lot of dystopias, and I see a lot of the same threads as the Hunger Games. This is not saying that Steven hasn't put his own twists on it, because he had, I just couldn't help lining up the kids making alliances, the different districts that contributed different things. Again, not a criticism, just a statement.
     Being in Lucky's head was a good change. I feel like I don't read too much with a male POV, unless it is dual perspective, so that is always a positive. Though, I did keep almost forgetting that he was a guy because of the attraction and tension between him and Digory. Nothing against the LGBT, but I am straight, and it is a hot guy, and from the first person, it puts me in Lucky's shoes, so therefore...
     Oh, and the ending. It broke my heart. Nothing was actually definite but I don't know how they could pull off not breaking my heart.

Bottom Line: Dark and emotional story with a courageous main character who makes choices he should never have to.

Similar reads: Hunger Games, The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse, The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda, Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts

My question to you, my lovely readers:
What would you do if you were in a position to have to chose which of your family members be killed?


44 comments:

  1. Oh I'm so happy to hear this. I saw this book on some dystopian fest and as I'm into this dystopian genre I was really curious about this. I hope I'll get a chance to read this and like it as much as you do. Great review :)

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  2. I am not sure I could handle it not explaining the world and all the terms. It sounds like other than that though you enjoyed this.

    Nice review! :)

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  3. Sounds intense! I hadn't read about this one before; thanks for sharing.

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  4. I kind of like it when a book breaks my heart. I know that's weird! :)

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    1. Not weird at all, I am right there with you

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  5. it's always difficult when you start comparing books... But the mix of genre is interesting I think

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    1. Yes, that does make it hard. Hard not to compare sometimes though

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  6. This one was too gritty for me, and 'the hunger games' tones were too much also. I won't be reading the next book in this series. Glad you appreciated it though! I seriously would not want to have to choose which family member to kill!

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    1. I wouldn't want to be put in that position to choose either.
      Sorry it wasn't for you Sarah

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  7. Sounds terrifying to me. Breaking your heart at the end? I do hate to cry, but yet like a good emotional book. I will have to check this one out.

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  8. I have this to review and I had totally forgotten what it was about until I read your review. Now I am looking forward to reading it. I love dark and gritty books!!

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  9. Choosing between family members?? That would be impossible. It hurts my heart just to think about it. Thanks for the heads up, I think this one may be a little too intense and heartbreaking for me! Sounds like a great read, though!

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    1. Yes, it would be super hard... but not making a choice killed them both.. SO hard

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  10. This sounds interesting and yes a lot have a common thread. I do like that it was darker, awesome review!

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    1. I guess I just wasn't prepared for how dark

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  11. I haven't seen this one until now. It sounds super emotional and gritty. I don't know if I would enjoy it but you made it sound sooo good! Nice review!

    I saw you are team Stefan, even in the TV show?

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    1. I don't know... in the tv show, changing more to Damon, but I am back and forth.

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  12. I don't know that I could read this book. I'd probably have a freaking heart attack! I hadn't heard of it before this though.

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  13. This is why I'm not always a fan of dystopian reads, sometimes there has to be a lot of info dumping to explain the new world we're delving into. This sounds like quite an upsetting read, I'm not too fond of the idea of most of the characters being killed off, but yet it sounds intriguing too. Great review Brandi :)

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    1. True about the info. Love the genre despite though

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  14. Ooooo, I like this cover!!! It looks nice! :D

    I hope to never be put in that position - I don't think anyone is ever "ready" to do that. Each person would have to make that choice for themselves. I would not want to have anyone be killed - I would let them decide for themselves.

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

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    1. I think you're right, no one can ever be ready

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  15. Poor kid, having to make choices like that. Dystopians are hard for just that reason. And so many DIE!

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    1. I know! I sometimes don't want to get close to a character because I am afraid they'll die

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  16. I am still struggling with Dystopia in the sense that I have to develop a liking for it. So far it's a little spotty for me. Now I saw GORE and I love bloody reads (except zombies). I now know why this is a good one. Thanks for sharing Brandi

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    1. I think dystopia is a hit or miss for some.

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  17. This was a great review. To answer the question, I can't even imagine having to make that choice. I honestly don't think I ever could.

    I have added this to my tbr list.

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  18. This sounds interesting. I too need a bit of an explanation of the world that an author gives me or else it does make it a little tough reading. Some people / readers don't question it. I do. My brain is geared that way. I wanna know some info. I hadn't herd of this one, so thanks for sharing :D

    Mich

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    1. I don't question if I can just ignore it and go on, but a few questions wouldn't leave me alone

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  19. From what you've shared, it seems like this is such a gritty story. I can't imagine a government would use family members as 'incentives' to force recruits to make tough choices. Brandi, thank you for giving us a glimpse of what this story is about.

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    1. I would hope our government wouldn't but you just never know after a society collapse.

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  20. Hahaha, I love your use of the term "wazoo". Have you been watching Home on the Range? (:

    And I totally know what you mean about being in the guy's shoes, then him having an awkward attraction going on-- it gets me every time, because like you, I am straight.

    But it definitely sounds like an interesting story, and I'm always up for something new!! (:

    As to your question, I just don't...I can't imagine that. I hope that I never have to. :((

    Loves,
    Megan@The Book Babe

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    1. No home on the range, just from NC.
      Yeah... the gay romance gets me every time. But at least I connect with what they are feeling.

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  21. I havent heard of this one, but it sounds really good! Great review!

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  22. I couldn't even imagine one of my family members dying a natural death without getting teary-eyed and super sad. What more choosing which one gets killed.
    That is a dark book but I do want to read it.

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  23. I don't often read books from a male perspective either! The few that I have read...I couldn't quite connect with the main character :/ hahahaa I find it hilarious how you mention you keep forgetting the main character's a guy...I have nothing against LGBT either, but like you, I have a feeling I'll constantly think from a female perspective especially if the guy's HOT! :)

    Awwwww...I'm terrified to find out the ending! I don't think my heart can stand being broken :(
    Anyway, great review Brandi<3

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  24. I like dark gritty aspect of this. Great review. I will be adding this.

    Jenea @Books Live Forever

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  25. I don't want to even think about how I would handle such a situation... This book sounds like it has real potential. I love stories that take you outside of your comfort zone.
    Tracy Awalt Juliano

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