Title: Belligerent (Vicara #1)
Author: B.N Mauldin
Publisher: Fable Press
Release Date: June 4th 2013
Read it in: 1 day
Source: Enchanted Book Promotions
You can buy it on amazon.
In a dystopian future the populace is segregated into castes. Belligerents, the lowest of status, are comprised of criminals and outcasts. Content as a faceless Commoner, Ryan has made a life for himself on the streets as a car thief. While the work isn’t the most noble, he’s known as one of the best despite his young age.
Ryan’s skills catch the eye of a flagrant Owner, bent on winning the virtual competition: Vicara. Newly branded as a Belligerent, Ryan struggles for freedom and acceptance at an academy specialized in training teams for Vicara. Ryan’s place on the team is shaky as he learns the truth and tragedy behind the person he replaces.
Join the Belligerents as we get our first look into the world of Vicara!
I absolutely could not wait to pick this book up as soon as I read the blurb, it sounded so cool – kind of similar to the Hunger Games, but different at the same time (this is probably the only time I’ll compare a book and be okay with it!) but in all seriousness, the promise of an epic dystopian was delivered.
So, lets get on with it. We meet Ryan and Alex immediately, but we don’t see much of Alex, because before long (after originally meeting two Beta Belligerents and their owner) Ryan is abducted and taken to join the Beta Belligerents. As expected, Ryan doesn’t take to well to this new life style at first, and all he wants is to escape and return to Alex as he doesn’t know whether or not his friend is safe.
When he arrives at the Villa at the academy, we meet the rest of his team mates: Mackenzie, Clarisse, Logan, Eva, Aria, Kenichi and Daylan. He knows he has to work with his teammates in order to get to the Vicara and win in order to leave, but still none of them trust Ryan and Ryan doesn’t trust them – not a great start to a team relationship.
Anyway, I was instantly hooked by this novel and intrigued after the first chapter that I literally have spent today doing nothing but reading and writing this review for Belligerent – my mind is just craving more, and I really really want more.
It is well written and creative. Mauldin has a great talent for writing and her imagination is top notch. I seriously loved this new dystopian novel and would definitely recommend it to anyone else who enjoys dystopians. Like I said, I was engrossed from the very start, and although the characters are very young, I still loved it none the less. A terrific tale, with the right pace throughout to keep you wanting more and reading more.
Rating: 5/5 Stars
I’m very lucky now, to invite Ryan for interview! So here we go!
The Reading Pile: Hey Ryan, glad you could make it to The Reading Pile, to answer a few questions for us about your life at the Academy and with your Teammates.
Ryan: It’s great to be here. I’m not really sure how I got here though. Does my Owner know I’m here? *shrugs* I guess Clarisse would have told him by now.
TRP: I’m sure he knows you’re here. At least, I think I told him! You know I have a few questions, so let us begin with… would you say that since arriving, your relationship with your teammates has improved? Or are you still weary around some of them?
R:It’s easier getting along with some of them more than the others. Mackenzie and Kenichi can be difficult, and sometimes I think Daylan doesn’t trust me.
TRP: I’m sure you’ll all trust each other sooner rather than later, Ryan. We know that you attend a few classes, but what class would you say is your favourite and why?
R: Uh…probably my specialty classes. When you like what you’re studying, it’s not such a pain to show up to classes. Besides, who wouldn’t like racing fast cars as class work? Besides the transportation classes, I don’t mind math too much either.
TRP: I definitely expected that answer – although, I’m not sure I’d be too thrilled about racing a fast car as class work! Without spoiling anything, of course, which teammate do you think you get on with best? Would you consider any of them your friends?
R: I get along best with Clarisse and Logan. Clarisse tends to get along with everyone though since that’s what she’s trained to do, but I don’t think she’s using her training when she talks to me. Logan’s just an easygoing kind of guy. When I hang out with him, I can forget about school and training and teammate drama. I’d have to say my team is more family than friends in that I’m stuck with them for life, so I might as well learn to love them.
TRP: Well, I’m sure there were worse teammates out there that could have become your ‘family’ of sorts. We know that you and Alex are friends, but would you say that you and her are more than that? Or do you have your eyes on another? We’d love to know 😉
R: Alex and I are good friends. She’s my oldest friend, and I care deeply for her. As far as “more than” friends, I don’t really have time to think about that. Even if I did, Mackenzie’s a stickler for the whole “student Belligerents are not allowed to date” rule. I’m not even sure that’s a real rule. I can’t find it in the handbook.
TRP: If it’s not in the handbook, I’d ignore it – but don’t tell anyone I told you to ignore it! If you had to describe your teammates in one word or phrase per teammate, how would you describe them all?
R: They’re not going to see this are they? They know how to kill people. You realize that right? If they kill me for this, you get to explain to Shifter why they need another transportation specialist.
Describing Eva is easy enough. Protective: that’s the best word for her.
Logan is spastic. I mean he’s brilliant, but he’s spastic.
Kenichi’s a cat. He’s moody like one, and he moves like one. Daylan even calls him “kitten”.
Clarisse is cute, but she’s also so much more than that.
Aria is bright, in every sense of the word. She’s brilliant. She’s got this blinding smile. Just a bright person.
Daylan is complicated. I haven’t figured him out.
Mackenzie is stubborn.
TRP: I’m sure no one will kill you for what you said – I’m sure Mackenzie already knows she’s stubborn, so you’ve got nothing to worry about! Uh, last question I think, Ryan. What was the hardest thing about life at the Academy to settle in to?
R: Besides getting along with my new teammates, probably attending classes was the most difficult adjustment. I mean, classes aren’t required here, but if you don’t show up you don’t get points, and points are necessary to qualify for Vicara. I hadn’t really been going to school that much before I got here. I was enrolled in a Commoner school, but they’re not very big on enforcing attendance in those either. All they want is test scores, so I would skip most of the time. I had to earn money after all if I wanted to eat, and I’d just study at home then show up for test days. Here it’s different. You learn to learn. I don’t even remember having an actual test here. I want to be the best though, so I’m not going to miss those classes…even if they are early and long and exhausting.
Finally, here are some This or That questions:
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate
Summer or Winter? Summer. More people on vacations which means more cars to steal.
Coke or Diet Coke? Coke
Well, like I said! Thank’s for joining us Ryan I’ll be sure to make sure you get back to Shifter safely! I hope you all enjoyed getting to know Ryan a little better! I know I did! And I hope you all can’t wait for more from this series!
Book Tour Info
Writing since she was “old enough to hold a crayon”, B.N. Mauldin resides in Lexington, North Carolina with her two cats. Her parents, Bill, Bobby, Shirley, and Mary have always been great sources of encouragement, as well as her two younger brothers, Matthew and Donovan, whose imaginations inspire her writing. A vital element of Mauldin’s mentality involves looking at something ordinary while contemplating what else it could be.
A tea addict and “Slytherin” at heartMauldin also gets a spark of creativity through considerable reading of “some of the greatest works ever written.”