Author: Bradley Lloyd
Publisher: DSP Publications
Rating: 4 stars
Provided by Publisher
Blurb: Family is worth fighting for—and family doesn’t always mean blood.
No one knows what calamity poisoned the earth and decimated the human population, but living close to the toxic ground means illness and death. Justin is determined to keep his twin sister and younger brother from that fate—no matter what he has to do. To earn enough to keep his family safe in a high-rise, Justin enlists in a deadly sport called Shadow Fray. He quickly finds himself in over his head, especially when he is scheduled to face the most dangerous player.
Hale—who competes as Black Jim—knows he won’t be on top forever, despite his skills. He fights for a better life for his daughter, but his time is running out as Shadow Fray becomes increasingly lethal. Something about the newest fighter intrigues him, but does he dare defy his masters to investigate? Justin and Hale will clash in the ring, while beyond it the powerful elite and the crumbling world seem determined to keep them apart. If they can find common ground, they might have a chance to fight for their futures.
Review: This book starts of so raw and violent. Think illegal televised Fight Club in a world where disease has ravaged the human race. Women of birthing age are rare. Babies aren’t born often any longer. Your time on the ground must be limited because of fear of exposure to toxins. The higher you are in your building the better off you are. Both physically and socially. Everyone spies on everyone for money or power. All Justin has in the world are his brother and sister. He would do anything for them. Including fighting for money. Even if it would mean him being arrested.
Hale is the biggest name in the underground fights known as the Frey. He makes good money and loves to fight but things are catching up to him. It’s getting harder to keep his real life and his secret life separate. Hale has a daughter who is being raised by his best friend. She doesn’t know he’s her dad. Things in the Frey have just turned a corner. Someone is maneuvering things and breaking the rules for ratings.
I didn’t realize this was going to be a series when I picked it up. Totally my fault. I think that affected how I felt about the book however. I kept waiting for something big to happen that never came. For the guys to find their way out of the mess they’re in. There’s certainly anticipation of what will come next. Will they be found out? The build up to the next Frey. Who is behind it all? What do they know about Justin? Why are they targeting Hale? So many things I wanted to know. Then the book just ends. I’m not always a fan of cliffhangers and this one really isn’t I guess. It just stops. Again. I didn’t realize this was a series and expected some resolution to all the questions raised in the book. Days later I’m fine with it. Right after I finished not so much. The first half of the story is setting up the world building and the situation the MCs are currently in. Then the second half is about Justin and Hale getting to know each and give into their lust for each other. Which of course develops into feelings. They both like the intensity of fighting and having someone overpower them. Justin hasn’t ever been with another man so he’s hesitant to give into what they’re feeling. While I was drawn into the story parts of it did crawl. Things are changing for the guys. Justin was desperate and made a deal with the devil in his handler. Now he realizes he needs help getting out of his current predicament. Hale offers him help but he’s just a fighter himself. A mostly anonymous one. Or so he thought. The ones with the real power are the “Uppers”. Someone has plans for them. The guys are just pawns in their games. I think that was the best part of this book for me. There’s a feeling of fear and paranoia that lingers throughout the book. The way it’s written keeps you on edge. I’ll definitely be reading the next book. I need to know things! Basically I would recommend this book but if you don’t like cliffhangers or need resolution maybe wait for the next book to come out.