Win the Rings was a really great read and a promising start to a new series.
Here we have a world where people can become ‘shifters’, now these aren’t your normal shifters that change into animals and such…. These people can acquire your appearance, your memories, your clothes, your life….. with the touch of a hand. Ever since the US Army found out about this ability among the populace it devised a test in which all five year old children are given the test to discover whether or not they are shifters, if they are - they become property of the US Army and live their lives in a prison-esque training camp where they will become weapons for their country, if they survive. Others choose to run and are taken by family members before the test is administered, living a life off the grid but always running. That is how we meet both of our leads in this story. Jace has been in the ‘care’ of the US Army since her testing at five years old, she’s been trained and moulded into a hardened young 16 year old, capable of defending herself against anything and anyone. She is the perfect weapon and few will challenge her but with that status comes hatred from her peers and a loneliness that no one should bear. She focuses on being the best that she can be so that one day, she will be set free.
Grey is a ‘runner’ and along with his sister Nia, has been on the run since he was five having escaped just before the testing. Life on the run isn’t great and he is forced to use his ‘shifting’ abilities to survive and they’ve been surviving for 11 years until all of a sudden, he’s on everyone's radar and they’re coming for him with all barrels blazing forcing him and Nia into a run/hide/chase scenario. Jace is soon on the case as she is promoted and given more freedom, her General is trusing her with this new position and has made her a promise that if she can win three rings by doing these missions successfully, that he will deploy her to active duty and therefore freeing her of her current confines. Nothing will stop her from this goal and that of her ultimate goal too.
I really enjoyed this book and to be honest, it’s not something I would have necessarily have read. The characters are easily relatable and I empathised with both of our lead characters. I enjoyed both of their alternating points of view and thought it brought a very balanced aspect to the story because on one hand we get what it was like for Jace who was institutionalised at 5 yrs old and made into a weapon, trained in combat, given others lives to use in such training and made to live in a hostile environment with her peers, fighting for survival on a daily basis, not to mention the lack of love & such emotions a child would need – basically they are moulded as a type of super soldier. Then we have Grey who shows us what happens when you fight back, when you flee the testing because your family knows what will happen if you fail and living a life where you’re constantly looking over your shoulder and having to resort to doing the wrong thing in order to survive. Both aren’t free, both are trapped, both just want to live their lives in peace.
The storyline was very fast paced, just the way I like them! We have the shifting ability which could bring endless possibilities to a story, we have a secret Army facility that trains children with abilities and we see an opposing force to this facility and it all revolves around Grey because everyone wants a piece of him. As I mentioned, it is a run/hide/chase scenario, filled with action and I find these great for keeping me on my toes and interested in the story because you never know what’s going to happen next. I thought this was great opener to the series, it is brimming with potential and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.