The Denounced: A Grey Sun by S.J. Sherwood [Book Review]
The Denounced is a dystopian future that reminded me of Divergent and the Hunger Games. The Denounced is its own story, and once I started it I just wanted to read to the end to find out what happened.
The author does really well at hooking you in and setting up questions for you to wonder about and want to zip through the story to find the answers.
The Denounced: A Grey Sun
The point of view character in The Denounced is Ned, he’s an orphan who has been in the system since his parents died when he was seven. His entire aim has been to live in the shadows and become free at the age of 18. Unfortunately he’s denounced anonymously and sentenced to death by a corrupt system that didn’t even defend him properly.
The story starts with Ned’s execution. He’s lead to the hangman’s noose, and dropped through the scaffold trapdoor. That’s not his end though, mysterious people spirit him away and take him to a secret training camp inside a dome. Ned has to work as the leader of a pod of six denounced, all of whom have survived their fake execution. Their mission is to learn to work as a team and beat the other teams. The implication is that the losing pod won’t survive.
Through the story we see Ned grow from a distrustful loner to a team leader, engaging the others to make best use of their skills so that they all survive. The tension is ramped when they start working well by obvious sabotage by bother pods and collusion from the training staff to undermine the performance, and survival, of Ned’s pod.
Denounced – World Building
There were some world building bits that niggled at me, which might be deliberate (as was the case for Divergent). I couldn’t quite tell at the end of the story what the purpose was that the denounced had been rescued and trained for. It could just be that only Ned’s pod had been marked for death, or that the exercise was an extreme test. I guess we’ll find out when the series concludes.
Overall I really enjoyed the story, and the writing was spot on. What I really need is the rest of the series so that I know how it ends!