Shadow of Wrath (Sins of the 7)

Shadow of Wrath - L.W. Patricks This review appeared first on Oh, Chrys!Shocking and eccentric, [b:Shadow of Wrath|17303425|Shadow of Wrath (Sins of the 7)|L.W. Patricks||22431411] presents the harsh realities of a deranged society – without the censorship often portrayed in YA. Challenging the standards of its genre,[b:Shadow of Wrath|17303425|Shadow of Wrath (Sins of the 7)|L.W. Patricks||22431411] is unorthodox and unpredictable at its best. Straddling a chilling and gruesome environment, its plot is engrossingly action-packed. There's gore, violence, and much abuse. I admired how the book had many controversial occurrences, though I know many will be easily offended. Readers are introduced to Dog, a homeless orphan who is abducted and forced to fight for his survival under the regime of the crazed, savage Ryker. He is one of many who have to endure this twisted version of Darwinism as he fights against other innocent captives in the forsaken Arena. Dog is the hardest character to connect with because he so bitter. His anger closets him from others, and because of the point of view used, readers do not directly know him. It was as if it were the real world, where we learn about a person by their reactions and not their immediate thoughts. It is his reactions to certain events that give more insight on his character. Dog embodies a valor that rids him of fear for death, and he never becomes desensitized to humanity. It is not often that I can say I felt distant to a main character and still enjoy a book.Contrastingly, Allegra is easier to attach to. She is kindhearted and pure, yet it is obvious that she suppresses her resentment to avoid being abused by Ryker – her owner and the novel’s villain. Allegra initially frustrated me. She often emulates a Mary Sue quality that instantly misplaces her from a world saturated by grit, gore and greed. It was as though she were an anachronistic character, from a time where the world still bared a thread of morality. Nonetheless, I never viewed her as a weak heroine, and I admired her self-reliance – an element that most YA heroines seem to lack. Her development throughout the novel is amazing. The other characters are also developed well. Ryker is undoubtedly a villain. His egoism and greed dictate his life. He lacks decency, and believes that he is the epitome of strength. He finds bliss in his sadism and brutality, authority in his manipulation and force. Tiberius, the Arena champion is violent during battle, yet a streak of compassion lies within him when he is not fighting. Despite this, I was disappointed at how easily Ryker had a hold on him considering his beastly abilities.Though the Arena provides a gritty backdrop, many may not feel it competent for a dystopian. Most of the plot action occurs in the Arena and its perimeter, and this may not satisfy readers looking for intense world-building. For me, I did not find the limited world-building to be a much of a problem. This is because [b:Shadow of Wrath|17303425|Shadow of Wrath (Sins of the 7)|L.W. Patricks||22431411] contains a familiar dystopia. There is no need to introduce unknown technologies because they are the same as they are today. The proximity of the time period to ours makes the world recognizable. Nonetheless, I certainly would prefer if this book was marketed as mature YA, rather than a YA dystopian.What really made [b:Shadow of Wrath|17303425|Shadow of Wrath (Sins of the 7)|L.W. Patricks||22431411] such a gripping read for me though is its dismissal of popular YA conventions – the dominant ones being unrealism and predictability. Even when moments of hope manage to surface, they are blasted by harsh reality. One example I can recall is when Dog wants to get a sentimental tattoo of a smiling moon. Instead, he cannot get it because Ryker’s preference to ‘macho’ tattoos. Even the little romance of the book is not your typical happy go-go kind. The violent, ‘you-can-die-any-moment’ atmosphere is not conducive to gratify the pangs of love. This alone proves how authentic and eccentric [b:Shadow of Wrath|17303425|Shadow of Wrath (Sins of the 7)|L.W. Patricks||22431411] is. It is an edgy read, and the plot’s unpredictability made it even more exciting.As for Patricks’ writing style, it is proficient. It is direct and concise, echoing the very curtness of [b:Shadow of Wrath|17303425|Shadow of Wrath (Sins of the 7)|L.W. Patricks||22431411]. I enjoyed his use of epistolary introductions featuring Ryker’s ex-partner that provide insight on Ryker’s viciousness and the Arena’s origins. Also, the dialogue is intriguing though at times I found it to be choppy. There were many instances where I was severely disappointed by Patricks’ descriptions. For instance, Dog’s fights almost always lasted less than forty seconds, with him triumphing. Rather than anxiously watching a bloody fight before my eyes, I was left with a rushed summary stating who won, and how long it lasted.From the very first pages to the very end, [b:Shadow of Wrath|17303425|Shadow of Wrath (Sins of the 7)|L.W. Patricks||22431411] thoroughly engaged me. If you are looking for an absorbing, gritty read, and can handle violence and gore, I strongly suggest for you to read [b:Shadow of Wrath|17303425|Shadow of Wrath (Sins of the 7)|L.W. Patricks||22431411]. It is a mind-bending read that defies all conventions of YA. There is no fragile heroine. There is no swoony hero. There is no fluffy romance. There is no predictability. There is no “powdering up”. It is simply realistic and unorthodox.