Author: Kimberly Afe
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Online Ratings: 3.78 out of 5 stars
*I RECEIVED THIS BOOK IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW*
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
The Headhunters Race was a fast pace dystopian/ sci-fi book. It was an enjoyable read and definitely entertaining. The protagonist of this book, Avene, had confidence in herself and she was determined in any task received. The theme of trust and friendship was portrayed throughout the book which is a major issue today in society. Avene's strength and courage made this novel really interesting as it isn't common to see female protagonist's who have self confidence in themselves. Th Headhunters Race was a page-turner and very adventurous. I recommend this to all the Hunger Games Fans and other Dystopian bookaholics.
The HeadHunters Race starts off in a prison where we learn the background of Avene's life and how she was framed for her own mother's death. Her Father is the King of Water Junction who suspects everyone of being evil. The new prisoners come who later Avene forms a friendship with. Avene is really sweet and strong in how she helps the "Greenies" to collect their meal for the day. McCoy is a cute, strong male protagonist as well who we later find out has feelings for Avene. Their romance is not the centre theme of the book but there are hints of romance which are especially shown during the end where they try to save each other by unlocking the collars. The Race is a game where more than 50 prisoners go into Millers Creek to try to find Gavin who killed Avene's mum and the King's wife's head. The Race begins and Avene is on her own until a young boy, Jake, steals her backpack which has all her supplies for survival. McCoy later retrieves the backpack and forms and alliance with Jake and Avene then all three of them are off together to Millers Creek to find Gavin. Avene starts to have trust issues and seems to not be able to trust McCoy and Jake as the prize to be freed is to return back to Water Junction with Gavin and Avene's head. Later Avene uses her trust problem as an escape card to leave behind McCoy and Jake. This trust issue seems to grow largely in the book and this shows that Avene is not perfect and is actually a relatable, multi-dimensional character who is unstable in life due to her mother's death. Avene later returns back to the group as she just experienced a near death when she was attacked by a bear. The story continues on in this story line except they are later attacked by cannibals and captured but freed by Jake's sister. Jake eventually died due to the collar tightening which was really upsetting though I did not have much time to sympathise for Jake as this story was very fast pace and at times I wished the book would go a bit slower so I could understand what was happening and what where the future events. This book can easily be compared to the Hunger Games which could let this book have a downfall in achieving readers but Afe's writing style is really unique and I loved how Avene would give herself self confidence by listening to some of her mother's quotes. The end of this book was really shocking when Avene tells Zita (roommate), McCoy and Boom (her uncle) about the real reason why this race occurs and why there are so many prisoners. 3 years ago the Governor was tired of so many cannibal attacks so he made a deal with them that they should go to Millers Creek and every year they would send 50 prisoners for them to eat. No prisoner was supposed to survive as they where going to Cannibal territory but shockingly Avene, McCoy & another prisoner returned and was put back into jail. This truth was really unexpected and we can definitely expect many twists and turns in the upcoming sequel. I hope Kimberly Afe doesn't make us wait too long for the next novel in this series as this twist turner and truth has left the novel with so many unanswered questions and definitely a cliffhanger. Overall I rate this novel a 4 stars out of 5 stars but this novel is an exciting book which I recommend to any Dystopian lover.
- Erisha <4