Rating: 3 out of 5.

This is an ok YA Fantasy book that pits seven teenagers from powerful magical families in a three-month long champion tournament to win control over a wellspring of high magick. The type of magick the world thought was long gone. Until now, the tournament has been a centuries old secret, but the publishing of a tell-all book about it has garnered world-wide attention. The town is flooded with curious spectators and the champions are provided with new information that may help them win.

But not all of the champions want to win the tournament. One is determined to break the curse that forces the families to fight in the tournament every twenty years, but can she get the others to agree to her plan?

I really looked forward to reading this book, which was touted as The Hunger Games with magic. Sadly, I had a hard time getting through the book. Normally I devour these kind of books in one or two days, but it took me almost two weeks to finish this one. The book was very slow paced until about 3/4 of the way through. After that the pace picked up until the rushed cliffhanger. Instead of providing a detailed account of worldbuilding, the author gave us a repetitive litany of champion characteristics. This resulted in two-dimensional, stereotypical characters.

Even after the pace picked up a bit during the tournament, the storyline faltered. Instead of flowing smoothly from one set of characters to another and building tension about what was going to happen next, the story focused on one set of characters, then jolted to another, with very little connection. The only thing that saved the book from being even worse was the fact that each chapter was told from a different character’s perspective. This well-worn writing tactic saved the book from being even more choppy – barely. Other books handle this technique much better.

I liked the idea of the story better than I did the book. It wasn’t awful – I’m probably being a bit too hard on the book because I wanted to like it so much more. If you want to read the book because all the “cool kids” are reading it – go for it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, tho. 🙂 All joking aside, I recommend you give it a try. Perhaps it will be to your liking.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and Tor Teen. All opinions are my own.