Book Review: Belligerent by B.N. Mauldin

Belligerent_CVR_LRGTitle: Belligerent
Author: B.N. Mauldin
Genre: YA Dystopian
Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: 4,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon, B&N
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

In a dystopian future the populace is segregated into castes. Belligerents, the lowest of status, are comprised of criminals and outcasts. Content as a faceless Commoner, Ryan has made a life for himself on the streets as a car thief. While the work isn’t the most noble, he’s known as one of the best despite his young age.
Ryan’s skills catch the eye of a flagrant Owner, bent on winning the virtual competition: Vicara. Newly branded as a Belligerent, Ryan struggles for freedom and acceptance at an academy specialized in training teams for Vicara. Ryan’s place on the team is shaky as he learns the truth and tragedy behind the person he replaces.
Join the Belligerents as we get our first look into the world of Vicara!

Ryan is a car thief on the streets of a dystopian world. He shares an appartment with some of his friends, and a whole bunch of strangers. Life is tough, but he’s managed to make the best out of it, along with his best friend, Alex. And life could be worse – he could be a Belligerent, the lowest of the low, criminals and outcasts. With his profession, it’s only a matter of time before something like that really happens. When he catches the eye of an Owner, Ryan’s life is in greater peril than he could anticipate.
The Owner, Shiftler, sets up a trap for Ryan, and when he’s caught stealing, Shiftler makes him a Belligerent and brings him to an academy for Belligerents, where he will be trained to fight in the virtual competition called Vicara. Along with the other members of his team – Eva, Mackenzie, Logan, Daylan, Kenichi, Aria and Clarisse – he has to learn to work and function as a team member, not just an individual. But the problem is that he’s replacing someone – James, the car specialist the other team members all loved dearly – and that nobody can seem to trust him, and Ryan isn’t exactly very trusting of them either. As he puts his trust in the wrong people, he may need his team members to survive…
I liked the ideas mentioned in this book: the Belligerents, Owners, the virtual competition. None of those ideas are particularly original, but it’s the combination of those that works so well. My largest pet peeve was that, for a dystopian novel, we don’t get to see a lot about how the government works in this world, or even what the rules are. For now, all I’ve gathered is that criminals are Belligerents, some kind of slaves, and you’ve got Betas and Omegas, Omegas being house slaves. You’ve got Owners, who obviously own some Belligerents, and Commoners who are basically nobodies. So a caste system is nice and fun, but that can’t be all there is. Who is in charge of this world? Can Commoners get actual jobs, or is this limited to Owners only? Isn’t the presence of law enforcement necessary to declare someone a Belligerent? Or can any Owner do it at any given time?
I had a lot of questions in regards to the world building that were left unanswered, which was a little annoying, but it was probably the only pet peeve I had with the book. That, and the characters’ ages. They’re all about fourteen years old, but when you read about them, they sound much more like seventeen year olds. Ryan sounds way too mature for his age. So I’m willing to believe he’s more mature because of his life on the streets, but even then, he acts way older than fourteen, and it’s hard to believe.
But on to the good stuff. Let’s start with our main character, Ryan. I liked him, because he’s probably as far from perfect as can be. He gets caught stealing, makes a fuss about turning into a Belligerent but never actually tries to escape or something like that, then he starts hanging out with the rest of his team members but can never quite fit in. The other team members were all right as well. I got a sense of personality from each of them, but I would’ve preferred to get to know them a little better. Oh well, maybe in the next book? I have to say I liked Clarisse the best. She instantly wanted to make Ryan feel like part of the group. She’s always outgoing and social – a stark contrast to Ryan’s personality. Mackenzie was all right as well. I understood her reasoning a little better toward the end, and I liked how she was willing to give Ryan a shot afterall.
Belligerent reads like a mix of The Hunger Games and X-men or something. Not that the Belligerents have supernatural powers, but they’re looked down upon, and they have to work together as a team. The writing was great as well – it pulled me in almost right away, and really made me care for the characters.
An excellent read if you like young adult books, or dystopian novels in general.


  1. Shirley Stanford says

    Loved this Book! Anxiously waiting for Book 2!

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