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Win the Rings Paperback – March 10, 2014
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"In a solid debut, Van Brunt chronicles the existence of a secret breed of shapeshifters who have, for the most part, been co-opted by the American military as weapons and spies." Publishers Weekly (June 29, 2015)
About the Author
During the eight hours of the day when I’m not writing, reading or sleeping, I’m a lawyer in Washington, DC. I grew up in Southern California, moved to Seattle before coming east to Boston to go to school. Now, I live in the great state of Maryland with my wife, my dog—a standard poodle named Buffy (and who do you think named her?), and my hot Camaro. One of the few things I like better than pizza is driving fast. So, if you happen be in the DC area and a black Camaro with a red stripe and a rear spoiler roars by and blows your doors off…thaaat could be me.
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Top Customer Reviews
Honestly, I didn't know what to expect when I started Win the Rings, because this is not my typical go-to genre. Granted I love a hardcore, tough heroine and all. In turn, that's what gave me the motivation to really dive into this story line, see what made her this way. And boy, am I so glad I stepped outside of my comfort zone with this one.
First off, there's Jace--a teenage girl who has been the part of the United States Army for a very long time. You see, Jace has special abilities where when she touches someone, she's able to become them--shift into them in a way but still have their own thoughts at the same time. All individuals who are this way need to be brought to one place, somewhere secretive that's run by the army, where they are supposed to be training and maintaining their abilities safely. Jace isn't necessarily like the others though, in the sense that she's tough...to put it mildly. Heck, Jace can beat up anyone and everyone put in her way. And she does...a lot. In turn, she's chosen to graduate the program early. But before she's granted the freedom to leave, she must go on a hunt for rogues who never took the test to see if they had these abilities.
Or really one rogue in particular. And his name is Gray.
Gray's been on the run with his older sister since he was a little kid. But his time is fast running short with the army on his trail. Regardless of his attempts at trying out a normal life, Gray knows he's different, and also knows his sister has risked a normal life to take care of him. But what's a guy to do when he has absolutely no idea of the fate that's waiting for him in the end?
Character wise, I felt a little more attached to Gray. Knowing his background, seeing him in everyday situations, I felt he was a little bit more developed. I truly enjoyed his protectiveness towards his sister. Even not knowing his fate fully, he did everything he could to protect her, as she did him. It's not often in YA books that you get to see a great brother and sister relationship like this, but I was super excited to explore just that in Win the Rings with this pair.
Jace. Loved her. I did. I just wanted more from her in a way. More emotion, less hardcore. Not that I didn't like her hardcore, it's just that I wanted to see her feel a little more. I'm really hoping that's the case in the next book, because I really did enjoy her character, but maybe seeing a softer side to her will help me love her even more.
If your looking for romance in this book, then you've got to know that there is very little. A sad down point for me, but not a deal breaker at all. You do get too see Gray struggle with trying to maintain a relationship with a girl, but it's short lived. Buuuut, if your looking for a non-stop adventure that never ceases, then Win the Rings is exactly the story for you. Two young people, living through a life with the weight of the world on their shoulders, trying to find out who they are, all while channeling their abilities, is the story you'll find here. Something fresh, something truly different then than the normal YA book, Win the Rings is definitely one you don't want to miss out on. Great story line, an amazing hero, and a tough heroine? Really, that's what this story is. I loved it. A lot. And will be impatiently waiting to see what's to come in Jace and Gray's world now that...well, I'm not going to spill the secrets here, but trust me you'll want to read Win the Rings to find out the secrets and mysteries alone.
Here we have a world where people can become ‘shifters’, now these aren’t your normal shifters that change into animals and such…. These people can acquire your appearance, your memories, your clothes, your life….. with the touch of a hand. Ever since the US Army found out about this ability among the populace it devised a test in which all five year old children are given the test to discover whether or not they are shifters, if they are - they become property of the US Army and live their lives in a prison-esque training camp where they will become weapons for their country, if they survive. Others choose to run and are taken by family members before the test is administered, living a life off the grid but always running. That is how we meet both of our leads in this story. Jace has been in the ‘care’ of the US Army since her testing at five years old, she’s been trained and moulded into a hardened young 16 year old, capable of defending herself against anything and anyone. She is the perfect weapon and few will challenge her but with that status comes hatred from her peers and a loneliness that no one should bear. She focuses on being the best that she can be so that one day, she will be set free.
Grey is a ‘runner’ and along with his sister Nia, has been on the run since he was five having escaped just before the testing. Life on the run isn’t great and he is forced to use his ‘shifting’ abilities to survive and they’ve been surviving for 11 years until all of a sudden, he’s on everyone's radar and they’re coming for him with all barrels blazing forcing him and Nia into a run/hide/chase scenario. Jace is soon on the case as she is promoted and given more freedom, her General is trusing her with this new position and has made her a promise that if she can win three rings by doing these missions successfully, that he will deploy her to active duty and therefore freeing her of her current confines. Nothing will stop her from this goal and that of her ultimate goal too.
I really enjoyed this book and to be honest, it’s not something I would have necessarily have read. The characters are easily relatable and I empathised with both of our lead characters. I enjoyed both of their alternating points of view and thought it brought a very balanced aspect to the story because on one hand we get what it was like for Jace who was institutionalised at 5 yrs old and made into a weapon, trained in combat, given others lives to use in such training and made to live in a hostile environment with her peers, fighting for survival on a daily basis, not to mention the lack of love & such emotions a child would need – basically they are moulded as a type of super soldier. Then we have Grey who shows us what happens when you fight back, when you flee the testing because your family knows what will happen if you fail and living a life where you’re constantly looking over your shoulder and having to resort to doing the wrong thing in order to survive. Both aren’t free, both are trapped, both just want to live their lives in peace.
The storyline was very fast paced, just the way I like them! We have the shifting ability which could bring endless possibilities to a story, we have a secret Army facility that trains children with abilities and we see an opposing force to this facility and it all revolves around Grey because everyone wants a piece of him. As I mentioned, it is a run/hide/chase scenario, filled with action and I find these great for keeping me on my toes and interested in the story because you never know what’s going to happen next. I thought this was great opener to the series, it is brimming with potential and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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