I received this book via Netgalley, My Book Shelf. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.The Gender Game by Bella Forrest
Series: The Gender Game #1
Published by Self Publish on 2016-09-24
Length: 418 pages
Reviewing eARC, Audiobook from Netgalley, My Book Shelf
Reading Challenges: #NGEW2017, 2017 Dystopia Reading Challenge, Audiobook Challenge 2017, Blogger Shame Review Challenge 2017, COYER Blackout
For fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent comes a story like no other...
A toxic river divides nineteen-year-old Violet Bates's world by gender.
Women rule the East. Men rule the West.
Welcome to the lands of Matrus and Patrus.
Ever since the disappearance of her beloved younger brother, Violet's life has been consumed by an anger she struggles to control. Already a prisoner to her own nation, now she has been sentenced to death for her crimes.
But one decision could save her life.
To enter the kingdom of Patrus, where men rule and women submit.
Everything about the patriarchy is dangerous for a rebellious girl like Violet. She cannot break the rules if she wishes to stay alive.
But abiding by rules has never been Violet's strong suit.
When she's thrust into more danger than she could have ever predicted, Violet is forced to sacrifice many things in the forbidden kingdom ... including forbidden love.
In a world divided by gender, only the strongest survive...
Okay I have a confession. When a book is compared to another book, I usually roll my eyes. 9 out of 10 times the comparison does not live up to the book it is compared to. When I originally received a copy of The Gender Game for review, I was a bit skeptical of its comparison to one of my favorite dystopians The Hunger Games BUT having now read it the description fits. The Gender Game by Bella Forrest is an exciting dystopian about two countries with varying degrees of oppression. Revenge, subterfuge, and secrets set the tone for the series and personally I wound up buying the rest of the series so I could binge read. It is that good!
Violet Bates is 19 at the start of the book and basically one offense away from a death sentence in the Matrian society she’s grown up in. Any violence is too much violence and after accidentally killing not one but two girls, Violet is now looking at extermination. But the queen makes her an offer. Patrus has stolen something valuable and they need it back without causing a war. Violet is to enter Patrus under the guise of marriage and steal back the thing that was taken. With her only other choice death, Violet accepts the terms with one condition, she wants her brother back. You see, in Matrus, boys who are deemed too aggressive are marked and sent to the mines in the north. Violet’s brother was marked and sent away at 8.
I love Violet. She is just a girl, trying to survive. Yes she has a temper, it’s why she is in the situation she is in, but she has good reason. Her mother is dead, she’s never known her father, and when her brother was marked she tried to send him to Patrus, to save him from the mines. All that did was send him earlier and send her into a detention center where she has spent the last 8 years. Violet is tough and extremely mistrusting, but who can blame her?!
Once in Patrus, Violet is paired with an undercover Matrian spy, Lee. Lee was born on the river that separates the two countries and was raised in Matrus for 8 years before he went back to Patrus to live with his father. He considers himself a man of no nation and this makes him a good spy. Lee is standoffish, only giving Violet the details of the plan as he sees fit. And it seems he always gives her the dangerous parts.
Then there is Viggo, a warden of Patrus. Violet is assigned to get to know him and his routine so that Lee and Violet can steal the egg. Yet Viggo gets under Violet’s skin. They are a lot a like. Viggo is mistrusting of the government, only working as warden as his prison sentence. He is strong, yet also kind. It is easy to see where this will go 😉
I personally enjoyed the dystopian world Bella Forrest has created. The two countries – Matrus and Patrus – are ruled by either women or men, respectively. In Matrus, women rule, violence is looked down on, and advances in science are pursued. In Patrus, the men rule. They are a bit barbaric, women are subservient, and technology is a big influence. It was interesting to see how the author took the stereotypes of men and women and put those as the fundamental aspects of these societies. I’m curious to see how these societies came to power and how they will fall (because they will fail) during the course of the series.
Overall I really enjoyed this book! It was a fast-paced, full of suspense. I enjoyed learning about the two societies from Violet’s perspective and that ending?! Oh my goodness! It’s killer. If you enjoy dystopia, I highly recommend you grab a copy.