Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult
Format Read: eARC
Published by Wednesday Books on August 14th 2018
In a freezing world, where everyone knows the day they will die, three teens break all odds.
Franny Bluecastle, a tough city teen, dreams of dying in opulence, to see wealth she’s never known. Like the entire world, she believes it’s impossible to dodge a deathday.
Until the day she does.
Court Icecastle knows wealth. He also knows pain. Spending five years in Vorkter Prison, a fortress of ice and suffering, he dreams of life beyond the people that haunt him and the world that imprisoned him.
Mykal Kickfall fights for those he loves. The rugged Hinterlander shares a frustrating yet unbreakable connection with Court—which only grows more lawless and chaotic as their senses and emotions connect with Franny.
With the threat of people learning they’ve dodged their deathdays, they must flee their planet to survive. But to do so, all three will have to hide their shared bond as they vie for a highly sought after spot in the newest mission to space. Against thousands of people far smarter, who’ll live longer, and never fear death the way that they do.
The Raging Ones is Krista and Becca Ritchie’s first foray into the young adult genre, bringing together their wonderful characterisation and friendships to a fantasy setting. I first fell in love with Krista and Becca’s books last year (I know, late to the game as per usual) when I finally picked up the Addicted series. After hearing that their dreams of publishing their first young adult book were coming to fruition, I was so there and couldn’t wait to strap in for the ride.
The Raging Ones is set in on a unique planet called Saltare-3 — a world that’s permanently Winter, with skies covered in purple clouds that obscure the stars. On this planet, everyone knows the day they will die. Those with a death day between 0-12 are called Babes; those that live till 29 are called Fast Trackers; and those that live beyond 30 are known as Influentials. It’s a unique class system that’s horribly discriminatory, but none the less interesting. With Babes and Fast Trackers not believed to amount to much, they are often stuck with the manual jobs while Influentials are given the chance to study and flourish as they have more years to impact the world.
This all changes with three characters that discover they have survived their death days, even though this is impossible and has never happened before. Connected to each other through emotion, touch and taste, Franny Bluecastle, Mykal Kickfall and Court Icecastle bands together to escape the planet on the one and only spacecraft that Saltare-3 has. And good thing is, they’re recruiting Influentials for their secretive Saga 5 mission.
As with any Krista and Becca Ritchie book, The Raging Ones has a wonderful focus on friendship and relationships. Court, Mykal and Franny’s friendship is beautiful, and it was really interesting being able to be in each of their heads as they come to terms with how their lives drastically changed with the passing of Franny’s death day. With no one to turn to but each other, the three of them navigates through the difficulties of a three-person link, all the while disguising themselves as Influentials for the StarDust program to become one of the Saga 5.
I think the strongest point in this book is definitely the relationships that Krista and Becca have built. There’s not a huge focus on romance, but I can say that Court and Mykal’s relationship is definitely one that many readers will fall in love with as they battle with their feelings and not being able to touch, especially when they’re both linked mentally and emotionally with Franny (who can feel everything that they do).
Unfortunately, I have to admit that I expected more in this book. It’s a very unique concept, but the plot felt quite rushed and lacking overall. I’m not sure if it’s because The Raging Ones have gone through publisher edits, but it doesn’t feel like it’s of the same high quality as Krista and Becca’s other contemporary works. Or perhaps because I’m so used to their contemporary writing, young adult fantasy just doesn’t seem to click well for them?
Regardless, I felt like a lot of important plot points are skimmed over or have been left unanswered — eg. why does everyone have a ‘castle’ last name?! Secondary characters were not fleshed out (which is very different to the twins’ other books), and even the simplest question like ‘what would Mykal, Franny and Court do if all three of them didn’t make it into the Saga 5 mission?’ is skipped over
I enjoyed the book overall — and that cliffhanger ending did leave me wanting more! — but I can’t say that this is their best work. I will, however, pick up the next book in the duology as I want to know what the heck is going to happen next.
Thank you to Wednesday Books for providing an eARC on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The Raging Ones is currently available for preorder.