Review 29. The Surrendered by Case Maynard

Tuesday, 12 September 2017


Title: The Surrendered
Author: Case Maynard
Publisher: Blaze Publishing [thank you for the review copy]
Published: September 20th 2016
Pages: 340 pages 

"After a financial collapse devastates the United States, the new government imposes a tax on the nation’s most valuable resource—the children.

Surrendered at age ten—after her parents could no longer afford her exorbitant fees—Vee Delancourt has spent six hard years at the Mills, alongside her twin, Oliver. With just a year to freedom, they do what they can to stay off the Master’s radar. But when Vee discovers unspeakable things happening to the younger girls in service, she has no choice but to take a stand—a decision that lands her on the run and outside the fence for the first time since the System robbed her of her liberty.

Vee knows the Master will stop at nothing to prove he holds ultimate authority over the Surrendered. But when he makes a threat that goes beyond what even she considers possible, she accepts the aid of an unlikely group of allies. Problem is, with opposing factions gunning for the one thing that might save them all, Vee must find a way to turn oppression and desperation into hope and determination—or risk failing all the children and the brother she left behind.
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"Most times I try really hard not to think about what’s happening out in the world beyond the fence, but today this really gives me pause. Could it be The Tax has become so burdensome that families—even those who were once willing to do whatever was necessary to save their children—have given up on even trying? I hope not. Too many children have witnessed the horrors of slavery already."

Plot: After a financial collapse having destroyed the United States, a new government led by the Commander arose and created the Tax: every parent must pay a fee for their offspring. Those who can't pay, must surrender them. Vera "Vee" Delancourt and her twin brother, Oliver, were surrendered when they were ten and sent to the Mills. Six years have passed since that day and Vee's life in the Mills is a living hell -as the life of any other child/teenager. Impulsive and not afraid of speaking her mind, Vee always finds herself in trouble. One day, she stumbles upon one of the Mills' most disturbing and darkest secrets and finds herself fleeing for her life.

I did find The Surrendered plot interesting -Vee running away from the Mills with Ramsey and her little sister, Jane, and the events that succeeded after she is out of the fence for the first time in in six year. Case Maynard's writing style is flawless, catching up one's attention from the first page to the last. Also, the story is very fast-paced and there are so many twists and surprises that you do not see coming. To sum up, the kind of story I love.

Characters: As I wrote above, Vee always stands up for what she believes. No matter how much pain it would bring her, Vee would not conform to the slave system created by the Commander. However, due to her impulsiveness, I found myself rolling my eyes at her. Sometimes, she simply acted, not thinking about the consequences that could rise from her actions. Hopefully, in the following sequels, Vee has learned from her mistakes and doesn't make so many rash decisions.

When I first met Carson, the love interest (happy news: there is a love triangle -at least in the first novel- and the romance doesn't overshadow the plot), I disliked him. He was a brute and very rude.  But as I got to know Carson, I warmed up to him. And, when his past came to surface, I just wanted to hug him. He lost so much! Another character that made my heart ache was Ramsey -no one should have gone through what she did. How many lifes the Tax ruined...

Worldbuiling: In spite of having read many Young Adult dystopias through the years, I still found the world created by Maynard unique -from the Tax who affected the life of millions to the new leading order and those who wish to overtake it. This America ruled by the Commander that obliges parents to pay taxes for their children is ominous. Moreover, in this world, all that matters is the survival of the fittest -I don't know who I hated the most: the Master and his minions or the Southies raised their children to be amoral soldiers. I can't wait to plunge into this terrifying world again.

TRIGGER WARNING! There is mention of rape as well as of physical and physiological abuse. 

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