Author: Bella Forrest
Published by: NightLight Press
Publication date: 24th September 2016
Genres: Teens, YA, Dystopia
Source: Advanced reading copy from the publisher.
It isn't that this book is terrible... oh wait, yes it is.
[watch out, spoilers ahead!]
The Gender Game puts us into a dystopian world where two cities are divided by gender and a toxic river; In Patrus it's the males who rule the city, with females having about as many rights as dogs, whereas in Matrus the females are in charge and weed out any males who they think show "undesirable" traits and send them to work in the mines.
The story focuses on Violet, a juvenile delinquent who ends up in a detention centre in the Matrus city after her brother fails their all-important test and gets taken away.
Right from the start I disliked Violet immensely. We're meant to connect to this extremely angry, aggressive, self-centred and violent teenage girl, and I just couldn't do it. She gets into fight after fight putting herself in danger and her future at stake all because she's so pigheaded and stupid.
We find out that Violet was originally sent to the detention centre after she committed "womanslaughter" and accidentally killed another girl with a fork during a fight.
"In many ways, being imprisoned had been the best thing that could have happened to me."And everyone bloody else by the sounds of it, you psycho!
Violent... ooops, I meant Violet then gets moved to a new detention centre and vowes to finally keep her head down and stay out of trouble. Yet what happens on her very first morning?
Yup, she only goes and accidentally kills yet another girl (this time with some braces?!).
Of course she does.
Seriously, I have no sympathy for this character!
This latest teensy-snafoo lands poor Violet with a death sentence.
But luckily for our heroine the Queen of Matrus has been waiting for the perfect teenage psychopath to send on a very special mission on which their whole future rides!
She is offered the chance to take on this important task and in exchange all of her previous, horrible acts will be forgotten.
At no point in the book is it explained why this task was given to an imprisoned orphan with a history of violence rather than a trained professional.
The mind boggles.
"...a convict who had no experience in matters of robbery or espionage."Exactly!
The story then follows our intrepid traveller as she makes her way over to male-ruled Patrus with the task of stealing back a precious item that they previously stole from Matrus.
We get to follow Violet around as she makes mistakes, does stupid things and continuously puts herself in danger.
At one point she comes extremely close to being either beaten up, killed or raped by a group of Patrus men who think she's a "stray" (a female with no husband). All she would have to do to get out of this situation would be to hold up her hand and show them she was wearing a ring, but noooooo.
Not our Violet!
Because she "never backs down to bully's!"
Oh, come on girl! Stop being a stubborn moron all the time.
Other than precious Violet, the other characters of note were the cliché love interest Viggo - a ruggedly handsome cage fighter with a soft side. *yawn* and the extremely one dimensional Lee, who does, admittedly, get a little more interesting towards the end.
From about 60% I could bear it no longer and skim-read the rest of this.
Though, to be honest, most of it was just lengthy descriptions of fights (I'm talking pages and pages of it), so I doubt I missed out on much there.
The most interesting part of this book for me was 'The Green'.
A huge toxic forest, where the air is poisonous and the wildlife is extremely dangerous and strange.
This, however, was the thing least mentioned in The Gender Game. We only got to spend a few pages there and no explanation was given about the place.
I guess we might get to learn more about it in the next instalment, but as I definitely won't be carrying on with this series I shall always be left wondering...