Finally, Something a Little Different!
(But did it stick the landing?)
Oh my gosh, Bibliobuzzers. I was so excited when I started reading Gender Game by Bella Forrest. I seriously was. Though the blurb was different than most, it tends to be the case that every YA book ends up being the same book with a different cover. It’s dystopic, which means it will either be all Hunger Games or Selection series, right?
WRONG! So wrong!
This book totally lives up to its unique premise! Bella Forrest, known for her A Shade of Vampire series, truly delivers a complex and interesting new microcosm in the form of a society completely divided into matriarchal and patriarchal “countries”. Her foray into young adult proves fruitful with a debut that is both refreshing and thought provoking. Playing on the stereotypes of the sexes, while also looking deeper into the character traits that separate them, Ms. Forrest creates a completely believable society that debases itself by dividing itself.
Before you ask, there is an implied love triangle, but development-wise in this book, I never saw it as truly viable. The love interests, Lee and Viggo, are so entirely different. As with many books, the heroine, Violet, is torn between duty and desire, but as with all well-written books, we are drawn in with her. We question her decisions, her opinions and her heart just as she questions herself.
All in all, this has the potential to be a wonderful series.
(Here’s the but:)
Though I don’t know that this is a true “cliffhanger” ending, I felt the ending was abrupt. Important questions are not answered and we really don’t get any “closure”. I hate to feel that way, but I do. I realize that in a series, we have to want more in the next book, but as a seasoned reviewer and blogger, I can say that it doesn’t need to be this way. In truth, it feels very much like this was all written together and then broken into multiple books. Early cover art has the title “The Gender Games” and she noted it was the longest book she’s written, so I think this is very possible. That being said, if Ms. Forrest keeps her insanely-fast production schedule as she has with the ASoV series, it probably will have very little bearing.
So, in short, read it. It’s one of the most interesting YA premises I have read in quite some time…just be prepared for some lack of closure.