Thursday, 24 April 2014

Interview, Giveaway & Review: Reckoning by Kerry Wilkinson

Title: Reckoning
Author: Kerry Wilkinson
Author Info: Website|Blog|Twitter
Jessica Daniel  Facebook|Silver Blackthorn Facebook
Genre: Dystopian
Series: Silver Blackthorn #1
Source: Publisher
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication Date: 22nd May 2014

Tell Me About It
In the village of Martindale, hundreds of miles north of the new English capital of Windsor, sixteen-year-old Silver Blackthorn takes the Reckoning. This coming-of-age test not only decides her place in society - Elite, Member, Inter or Trog - but also determines that Silver is to become an Offering for King Victor.

But these are uncertain times and no one really knows what happens to the teenagers who disappear into Windsor Castle. Is being an Offering the privilege everyone assumes it to be, or do the walls of the castle have something to hide?

Trapped in a maze of ancient corridors, Silver finds herself in a warped world of suspicion where it is difficult to know who to trust and who to fear. The one thing Silver does know is that she must find a way out . . .
My Thoughts
When I got my copy of Reckoning for review I had no idea what to expect. The synopsis of Reckoning sounded amazing, but this is the first book of Kerry's that I have read so I was somewhat hesitant to start reading. The Reckoning is a test that all 16 year olds on the 1st July have to take, which determines which section they belong to, Trogs, Intermediates, Elites, or Members. Silver takes the test and is a member, but her name is then selected to be an Offering, someone who is sent to Windsor castle to stay. What happens to these offerings no-one knows except that they never to see family of friends again.

The minute I began reading Reckoning, I was hooked plain and simple. I love that it is set in the UK, but not the UK that we know of, and I fell so hard and fast into this world that I found it hard to come up for air. Silver is such an easy to like character, I had no problems instantly feeling sorry for her and how she lives. I love her attitude towards life in her village with her family and friends, and her belief in what is right and wrong. Her ability to take apart technological items from the past and use bits and pieces to her advantage. She is selfless and caring towards her friend and his younger brother, and even ensures that her own gifts are shared with others.
When she finds out she is an Offering I was shocked. I knew it was coming I just didn't expect it so soon. I had tears in my eyes when she was leaving home, that was only the end of chapter 7, knowing she would never see her family, her Mum or her brother Colt, or friends Opie and Imp again, knowing this would be the last time she sees them in her life, that she would die having this one last glimpse at them, broke my heart.

Silver is an understated heroine that I instantly liked and rooted for. Seeing how she struggles to live at home, and then how worse it gets at the castle, but still continue to believe that she can somehow make her way out, to go and see her family again is a true sign of determination and heroism. Some of the things she does were so risky I held my breath, scared that she would get caught and punished for it.

Imrin was someone who took a lot for me to trust, I could never tell why he did what he does and why Silver is so quick to ally herself with him. Near the end of the book I was completely blind sided by what he does, just as I began to let my walls down he does something that I didn't think I could forgive him for. Reading how the boys are getting on while the girls aren't also showed how nasty the girls can be. While the boys seems to be getting on and taking advantage of their different roles in the castle, the girls only seem to want to stab each other in the back just for their own personal gain, and while part of me could see this as a way of keeping yourself alive, it also made it so much harder to find allies within your group, people who you can trust and know have your back.

Just when I thought I had got the pattern of what to expect from everyone being at the castle, I was thrown completely off guard when I really got to see the King for who he truly is. A vicious, evil, tyrannical, old man. What he does to Wray completely shocked me, the brutality of the situation was not something I expected, but afterwards my guard was always up whenever they had to eat with him or even be in the same area as him.

I had no idea what to expect from Kerry going into Reckoning, and I was surprised to find myself devouring the pages, needing to know what would happen next, wondering who would be safe or who would be the next victim of the Kings madness. The constant change in events only left me guessing even more, just as I thought everything was going ok something was thrown into the mix that made me re-evaluate what I thought was really happening, and had me trying to figure out what could happen next. There were things I did not expect to happen, and things I expected would happen but not in the way it transpired. Reckoning was an unputdownable read, and I really wish I had the next book in my hands so I can see how this story plays out.

Author Interview with Kerry Wilkinson

Reckoning is the first book I have read by you, I know your other series, DS Jessica Daniel is a crime book, how hard was it to go from writing crime to writing Young Adult/Dystopia?
It wasn't something I ever thought about as I only write about people and subjects that interest me. Regardless of the genre, many stories have a mystery at their heart, where the writer will hold back certain information until the time is right to reveal it to the reader. Think of something like Harry Potter And The Chamber of Secrets - it's a mystery novel at its heart, obscuring the nature of the Chamber's secrets and so on until near the end.

The only real difference with writing explicitly for adults are the subjects about which you can explore, but even then I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. By the very fact someone has chosen a book and is reading it, I'd like to think they're an intelligent person, so I try not to patronise. Young people are far smarter than many want to give them credit for.

The people who take the Reckoning are placed into one of four sections, can you tell us more about these different sections.
For a long time, I've been interested in the idea that everyone has something they're particularly good at, perhaps even brilliant. The problem is that very few people ever discover where their talent lies. For instance, someone could potentially be a world-class violinist, but if they're never exposed to that world, they'll never know. My idea for the Reckoning was a test that discovers precisely what a person is good at - but there's the added twist that its results are final. There are no choices and whoever takes it is then assigned a role in society. The four sections are
  • Trogs, who are essentially slaves. Nobody wants this as they are given the jobs nobody else wants. 
  • The Intermediates are the majority and supposed to be 'normal' in many ways. People who go to work, do a job that could be manual or non, and don't expect much from society.
  • Elites are exactly that - a very small, very privileged cream of the crop who lead men and women, and get the top jobs with the best privileges. 
  • Lastly, there are the Members, as in 'Member of society'. They sit between the Intermediates and the Elites as people who have specific skills in key areas, such as science or technology. Broadly, you could link most of those castes to the British class system but in a far more formal way.

Silver doesn't get a choice over where she goes, but if you could choose which section to be placed in, what would you choose and why?
Heh. It's an interesting question because of the way my life has turned out. I grew up on a council estate and for many years, under any measure, my family was classed as 'poor'. My brother, sister and me never went hungry and we were brought up very well but there were lots of times where we had to make do with hand-me-downs and second-hand charity shop stuff. Not that there's anything wrong with that. From there, I was the first person in my family to go to university; I've worked for national newspapers and the BBC; and I've been fairly successful as an author.

With that, I do feel a working class guilt, if you like. It's strange not to have to be so strict with a budget and to be able to afford things. I'm never quite sure how I feel about that.

So, in a long-winded way of answering, I guess I'd choose to be a Member - but my heart would be with the Inters.

I love Silver, she is resilient and really stands out as a heroine, one thing that I love about her is her silver streak, mainly as I have one of my own but mine in white, what made you decide to give this name to Silver?
I had so much of her and the story in my head but she didn't have a name. I wanted something that evoked summer, sun and hope. I had an image of being a kid and picking blackberries from the bushes close to my old school. For me, that was summer - and that's where 'Blackthorn' came from.

For 'Silver', it popped into my head while I was trying to think of a word or name that sounded good alongside 'Blackthorn'. There was no specific spur but, as soon as I thought of Silver, her backstory came too. I suppose it was nestled in my mind somewhere.

The UK cover and the US cover are completely different, did you get any say in the design of these?
I had no input at all into the US version - the first time I saw it was when it was live on the promo sites. I loved the UK cover as soon as I saw the draft. I did have some input, but only on altering very minor aspects - such as the placement of certain bits. It's almost entirely down to the brilliant designer.

Reckoning is out in just over a month's time, have the nerves had chance to hit yet?
Not really because, even though it's my first fantasy / science fiction book, it's my ninth novel to be released overall. I'm not a very nervy person anyway. I address much of life with a shrug. Worrying about life isn't living it.

How will you be spending your time when Reckoning hits the shelves?
There are a few promotional things lined up but, for the most part, in the same way I spend the rest of my time: reading, writing, or riding my bike.

Twitterize your book, using just 160 characters sell your book to the world.
One determined girl; good guys; bad guys; castles; secrets; adventure & a few surprises.

I also have an extra copy of Reckoning to giveaway. Since I am posting this myself this is a UK only giveaway, so only people who have a UK address, or a friend who can send the book along to them can enter this giveaway.
Giveaway Rules
  • UK address only
  • Make sure to follow my giveaway policies before entering
  • Winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email or anew name will be selected
  • The book will be sent off from myself, by entering you are giving me permission to request your mailing address for this giveaway only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment:

  1. I love that this book has a UK setting without it being some sort of novelty or cliche. The YA market is dominated by American literature, which isn't a bad thing! But I think UK YA readers need something closer to home now and then.


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