Read from May 21 to 26, 2015 — I own a copy
Synopsis: Only the strongest, smartest and most ruthless will survive.
Every six years, the world draws nearer to the sun. In Arcandis, those who want to live must claim the limited places in the Refuge, a series of underground caverns cooled by the sea.
The teenage boys of noble birth are sent out into the city to demonstrate their wits and strength. Some prove themselves in combat, others display their empire building skills, still others attempt to kill off their rivals. Out of over a hundred, only six will be selected by the leaders of the great families and allowed a place in the Refuge. The rest will perish, one way or another.
Not only is thirteen-year-old Bowe younger and weaker than most of the other boys, he has no family to support him. He is expected to die on the very first day of the narrowing path. Instead he begins a journey no one could have anticipated.
Bookish Things: 260 pages. The cover is suitably young for the audience and genre, but catchy enough to draw the eye. This is book one of a series containing a prequel novella and two other novels. I read this as part of the collection of books in What Tomorrow May Bring.
Where to buy: Amazon on kindle for $3.06 or paperback for $9.99.
Picture The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner smooshed together, in a slightly fantastical world… that’s a good description of The Narrowing Path.
But this story does go deeper than either of those two books/movies into the silo structure of Arcandis’ society. Like Divergent, the population is divided into segments. Four ruling houses, the ascor, and a second-class citizen class called escay. There’s even secret societies and factions and plotting between the ascor houses that comes into play throughout the book. All the political and social nuances of a thoroughly thought out world.
The book sees a 13-year-old Bowe Bellanger enter Arcandis’ version of the Hunger Games (one that’s held every – sexennium – six years.) the Green Path. Not unlike The Hunger Games, the Path sees the young men aged between 12 and 18 from all the ascor houses forced to fend for themselves and kill each other to secure one of six positions of safety with the ascor houses. The safety is sought because every six years, the moon takes their planet too close to their sun and everything on the face of the planet will perish, unless hidden within the caves cooled by the ocean – this is called the Infernam, but, there’s only limited room.
So, we’ve got our protagonist and our plot, what about the cast of supporting characters? Well they’re rather diverse and varied. This was a strong plus for me. Some were stereotypes like The Hunger Games, the fighter, the weakling etc, but others were strong characters in their own right.
I liked Sorrin, the peg legged, Master better. His ability to call a fight thoroughly enjoyable, and his skills were used well to further the story. Sindar was another I liked, the thief, while somewhat stereotypical, was still a good quality character within the story line. The plot held plenty of twists and turns, some I guessed, others I didn’t. All in all, it was an enjoyable, quick read with interesting tweaks on the Dystopian young adult story format.
Some other reviewers have commented on the brutality and gore of the book. To me, it felt right. The brutality is a result of the society, where brutality and death is a normal part of their life. If David had of shied away from the brutal killings, I feel he would have done the story a disservice. This is certainly aimed at Young Adult audiences, but if you are going to give this to a young, young adult, perhaps read it first to ensure they could handle the death scenes.
This is only the first book in a trilogy, one that I intend to complete.
**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book in return for an honest review as part of What Tomorrow May Bring**