Series: Headhunters #1
Publisher: January Sky Publishing
Date Published: January 1, 2014
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Source: Provided by author for honest review
Description: Sixteen-year-old Avene was sentenced to prison at thirteen for a crime she didn't commit. Now she has a chance to win her freedom back – if she enters the Headhunters Race. Second prize isn't so bad either, an upgrade to the Leisure Prison if you make it to the finish line. To win either prize, Avene and the other prisoners must navigate one hundred and fifty miles of dense forest, desert, and worst of all, cannibal territory.
With a mechanical collar timed to strangle the prisoners if they're not back in nine days, Avene allies herself with seventeen-year-old McCoy, another prisoner that insists on helping her at every turn and a boy she's trying hard not to fall for. Together they battle nature, other prisoners, and the timed death collars to win the coveted prize. But when Avene is tested with one deadly conflict after another, she realizes there is more at stake than winning her freedom – first she has to survive.
I really liked The Headhunter’s Race when I first started reading it. See? Look at this tweet below.
Started reading The Headhunters Race eARC on my lunch break. I’m already a fan.
— Julie S. (@juliecookies) February 3, 2014
I thought the premise was interesting, and the set up was good. The reading flowed easily and I was excited about it. Avene sounded like an awesome kick-ass strong heroine who is bent on revenge and freedom and will stop at nothing to get her chance.
About halfway through the book I started getting really bored. This is definitely a “journey book” and each time they kept back tracking or getting more survival issues or being kidnapped, it was just UGH enough already. I kept wanting the plot to move forward, but it didn’t move forward fast enough for my tastes.
Then, I finished the book. That ending. I mean, really? Yes, in a way it is very epic, a devastating bombshell. BUT – and this is a spoiler sort of – I can’t stand when books end just about as they started with no advancement!!!!! *deep breath* OK so I’m trying to not straight up give away the ending, but I don’t know how to express my utter disappointment and my “so why did I just read a book where nothing really changed and the whole thing was pointless” feeling.
As for the characters, I did like them a bit. Avene was strong and determined, but flawed with her lack of trust. McCoy, well, I don’t know if he is genuine or if he has ulterior motives, but he has been there helping Avene the entire time, whether she saw it or not. Their little maybe romance was sweet, but really under-developed. First she can’t trust him, then she wants to kiss him, and there’s not much in between, or after. I don’t even have a good McCoy quote to use for our That’s What He Said meme. I did like Zita, she seems like a great friend who really wants Avene to succeed and I think their partnership in the prison works well.
In conclusion, this is NOT my kind of book and that is why it got a low rating. I was expecting an exciting “race” with an epic conclusion, but what I got was not the conclusion I expected. I might be overreacting, others will probably enjoy the plot twist and I know not everyone hates “journey” books like I do. But it took me all month to finally finish this book and since I’ve had so little time to read with the move and all, I kind of wish I spent my time reading something else.