I read Annie Douglass Lima’s Anals of Alasia series on the recommendation of a friend and loved all three books. I’ve since “met” Annie online. When I heard she needed beta readers for a new teen action/adventure book, I jumped at the chance! And I was not disappointed. I also agreed to participate in her cover reveal, but I want to throw my own review in here, too. So read through Annie’s post, take a look at her awesome cover, and catch my review at the bottom.
About the Story:
Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire’s most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie’s escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time. With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?
What is the Collar for, and What is a Cavvarach?
The story is set in a world very much like our own, with just a few major differences. One is that slavery is legal there. Slaves must wear metal collars that lock around their neck, making their enslaved status obvious to everyone. Any slave attempting to escape faces the dilemma of how and where to illegally get their collar removed (a crime punishable by enslavement for the remover).
Another difference is the popularity of a martial art called cavvara shil. It is fought with a cavvarach, an unsharpened weapon similar to a sword but with a steel hook protruding from partway down its top edge. Competitors can strike at each other with their feet as well as with the blades. You win in one of two ways: disarming your opponent (hooking or knocking their cavvarach out of their hands) or pinning their shoulders to the mat for five seconds.
Connect with the Author Online:
Amazon Author Page:
Me again. Glad you made it down here. 🙂 Here’s my take on The Collar and the Cavvarach:
Bensin was born into slavery. He hardly knew his dad, who’d been sold away years ago. And his mom was dead. His last promise to her had been that he’d care for Ellie, his newborn sister…and that he’d see her set free. But then he’s sold away. Though he’s given the opportunity to study cavvara shil, the martial arts sport he excels at, his attempts to help Ellie go terribly wrong. The destiny of Bensin and Ellie comes down to one monumental moment—the Grand Imperial Tournament.
The thing that makes this story so unique is that it’s not set in 19th Century America but in a fictional, modern world with automobiles, internet, and a high tech society. It gives pause and makes you consider the slavery that still goes on today.
Annie Douglass Lima is the author of the Annals of Alasia series, which I enjoyed. That series is characterized by smooth, easy flowing prose, sharp dialogue, and excellent world building, and her skills have only improved. Though this one is classified young adult, I’d say it’s easily appropriate for age 12+ due to the absolute absence of language, a romantic element, or graphic content. Bensin is whipped. And the action does get intense, but the book has an innocent quality to it. Oh, and I have to add that cavvara shil is an awesome sport! Fully developed and acted out with beautiful movement and description, I had to ask if it was real. It’s not, unfortunately. I sort of wanted to take in a tournament. 🙂 Highly recommended.