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Twenty-five years ago, England was wracked by a devastating war, and eight years later, it was united by the charming King Victor. But even though the nation enjoys new peace, all is not well. The country is now divided into four distinct regions that are in charge of different types of production and work. Citizens, too, are divided into four distinct strata with different expectations, jobs and duties. Each year, the Reckoning sorts 16-year-olds into groups of Elites, Members, Inters and Trogs. And from these, the King selects a small group of Offerings to bring to the capitol. They are never heard from again. This year Silver Blackthorn from the northern town of Martindale is chosen as an Offering; she is the feisty, brave and smart heroine of Kerry Wilkinson's RECKONING, the first installment in a new dystopian trilogy for YA readers.
Silver is forced to leave her mother, brother and best friend Opie, boarding a train with only the clothes on her back. Everyone in the four realms believe that being an Offering is a great honor and chance to work for the betterment of the nation. But as soon as Silver and the other Offerings arrive in the new capitol of Windsor, they realize things are not at all as they believed. They are immediately locked in the castle, given jobs and practically starved. Silver is assigned to a tech position because the Reckoning ascertained her gift with technology and machines. At the first formal banquet in the presence of the king and the minister prime, the Offerings are confronted with the brutal truth about their new life when a Trog from the North named Wray is murdered by the king in front of them all. 
While the Offerings do go to work for the king, they are mainly in the castle to serve his torturous and murderous whims. From acting as his sex slaves to fighting each other to the death, the lives of the Offerings in Windsor are bleak, hungry and painful. When Silver discovers a secret corridor that connects to a corridor from the boys’ dorm, she makes the acquaintance of a boy named Imrin. As an affection and romance grows between the two, they begin to plot an escape from the castle. Each day that Silver, Imrin and the other Offerings survive, they see more of their cohorts disappear or be killed. Silver and Imrin hatch a dangerous plan that may result in freedom or death, but first, their loyalty to each other and to their ideals will be pushed to the brink.

Wilkinson blends castle intrigue with Big Brother technology to imagine a terrifying not-so-distant future.

Wilkinson blends castle intrigue with Big Brother technology to imagine a terrifying not-so-distant future. Similar in many ways to several other YA dystopian trilogies with strong female protagonists, RECKONING is still an enjoyable read --- especially once the Offerings arrive in Windsor --- and will appeal to readers who have developed a taste for the genre and style.
The violence here is on the graphic side and the technology is, with one exception, not inventive, but Silver is a compelling character and her relationships are interesting. The pace and flow improve as the book goes on, and hopefully Wilkinson has some surprises and tricks up his sleeve for the next two books so that Silver's story comes to stand apart from other books of this nature. Overall, an energetic and fun novel.

Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on July 7, 2014

by Kerry Wilkinson

  • Publication Date: July 1, 2014
  • Genres: Children's, Dystopian
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
  • ISBN-10: 1250053536
  • ISBN-13: 9781250053534