Author: S.E. Green
Genre: New Adult Thriller
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Where society’s elite go to explore their darkest desires. And where promises of freedom are just manipulative lies.
For a price, the world’s most powerful people can have their darkest desires. On a private island hidden in the ocean, they may hunt humans for game, attend gladiator-style fights, participate in elaborate orgies, and freely indulge in all the deadly sins within the cosplay of ancient times.
Abducted from their life in Miami, Valoria and her younger sister wake up in this secret society, wherein Valoria is condemned to the fights and her sister is taken away to become a sex slave.
Now “property” of a sadistic tyrant, Valoria joins other men and women captives who are forced to fight and maim for others’ enjoyment, to run in their hunts, and participate in deviant fantasies. And she’s under the cold, watchful eye of Alexior, a hired trainer with his own agenda for being involved in the twisted decadence.
After surviving several near-death ordeals, a defiant Valoria focuses on her training and against all odds soon becomes a favorite. But she fights for one thing and one thing only—to be reunited with her sister and to be freed.
But promises of freedom are sometimes just manipulative lies...
Vanquished is a New Adult thriller with a very intriguing premise - men and women are taken to a hidden island and then auctioned off to the highest bidder. Some of those taken are turned into warriors who fight one another, others are made into sex slaves, and several other "positions" for the rich visitors who come to the island to fulfill their twisted dreams and desires. Our main character, whose name is changed to Valoria when she's brought to the island, is stubborn and has a defiant temper that seems to keep getting her in trouble. She doesn't care what happens to her - the only thing she wants is to be reunited with her younger sister, who has been made into a sex slave by their mutual owner. With the elusive promise of freedom and reunification with her sister, Valoria masters her fighting skills and soon becomes a popular fighter. As always though, there's a catch behind every promise and price on the island - and Valoria is about to find out just how steep that can be.
I was drawn to this book because of the description - it sounded pretty fresh and original, and I was eager for some new material. The first thing that caught me off guard was the setting. We're told in the description that they're on a secluded island somewhere, which is true, but it's also like they've traveled back in time to the ancient Roman times - complete with slaves and owners, the attire everyone wears, and all of the tasks they're made to participate in. I wasn't expecting this at all - I figured it would be the opposite - maybe a really opulent island with all the latest and greatest the world had to offer, but definitely not a travel back to Roman times. That got me right from the beginning of the book and I have to admit that it effected my reading experience in a somewhat negative way.
The other aspects of the book were well done - Valoria's character was rounded with a very distinct personality. The story is also told from her perspective, so we get to know her on a very personal level - more so than any other writing style. (If you've read my other reviews, you know my stance on first person POV and it's benefits.) I enjoyed getting to know everything about Valoria - her memories, fears, hopes, determination, defiance, and so many other things - worked together to make it feel as if I knew her and was there experiencing everything alongside her and the others. Most of the other characters had some depth, but were mainly flat and stereotypical - and I couldn't connect with them very well. The plot itself had tons of potential and was a fascinating and thrilling read, but the aspects I mentioned above made it less enjoyable than it could have been. These are solely my opinions, and I'm sure lots of other readers will love the book much more than I did. I definitely recommend it to fans of fantasy, dystopia, romance, and somewhat historical fiction - it's well written and intriguing with a bit of something for almost everyone.
S. E. Green (aka Shannon Greenland) is the award winning author of several novels including the teen thriller, KILLER INSTINCT, and the spy series, THE SPECIALISTS. She lives off the coast of Florida with her very grouchy dog. Find her at www.segreen.net
Tour-wide giveaway (INTL): $25 Amazon gift card and (3) e-copies of Vanquished