Book Review: “Win the Rings” by K.D. VanBrunt

I brought this book along with me on a camping trip that I technically did not want to go on. Trying to make the best of my time (in heatstroke weather) I nestled into my beach chair as I started to read. And kept on reading. “Win the Rings” is extremely addictive and fast-paced. Each time I told myself that I was going to read just one more chapter, I couldn’t do it. I was that compelled.

Quick summary: “Win the Rings” tells the stories, in alternating POVs, of Jace and Gray, two teenagers who are shifters. Shifting is the ability to acquire the form of other humans through physical touch. With their physical shape, also comes the individual’s memories, thoughts, etc. Shifters are wanted by the U.S. Military, and as such, Jace has lived with the military since she was a little girl. Gray, on the other hand, was saved from military recruitment by his older sister, Nia, and the two have been on the run for nearly eleven years.

When Jace gets a chance to graduate from her military training by finding Gray and hauling him in, she takes it immediately. During the city-to-city chase that results, Both Gray and Jace end up revaluating their personal lives and choices as well as what freedom means.

I’m not one to save the worst for last, so here it is: My only real complaint with this novel, was that Jace and Gray both use a lot of the same swear words and slang, and have similar voice idiosyncrasies. This is not a major issue, but sometimes I had a hard time keeping track of who was talking. I would have preferred some differentiation in their voices. That said, I really loved this book. I liked the vibrancy of all of the characters, as well as their emotional depth. Both Gray and Jace are engaging characters in their own ways, and while they both have unique challenges- Gray, wanting to have a home base, and Jace wanting to be able to travel beyond the confines of her academy- they both strive towards freedom, giving the story arch a definable thread. And despite the action and drama, there are also some truly funny moments that appealed to my quirky sense of humour.

Ultimately, I’m happy to have read this book, and would definitely recommend it to fans of Veronica Roth’s Divergent or E.R. Arroyo’s Sovereign. If you feel like a super breathless, well-paced novel, this is one for you!

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