Review: Win, by Vera Nazarian

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Win by Vera Nazarian
Published by Norilana Books on July 11, 2017
Series: The Atlantis Grail, #3
Genre(s): fiction, dystopia, fantasy, romance, science fiction, young adult
Format & Pages: e-book, 949
Find on GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & Noble

The Games are Forever!
It’s one thing to Qualify and Compete…
Now she must Win.

Gwen Lark, nerd, geek, and awkward smart girl, is among the lucky ones. She’s one of several million teenage refugees to escape the extinction-level asteroid barreling towards Earth and reach the ancient colony planet of Atlantis.

But Atlantis is a strange new world with higher gravity and a blazing white sun, where nothing is as expected. The new arrivals from Earth will now belong to the majority class of non-citizens who face a lifetime of hard work and limited rights.

To make matters worse, Gwen’s rare and powerful talent […] is viewed as a potential weapon to be exploited by the Imperator, as well as a threat to the Kassiopei Imperial Dynasty and its uncompromising control over the people of Atlantis.

A last-minute heartbreak prior to arrival turns to joy, when Gwen receives a declaration of love from an unexpected source. The Wedding date is set, but before she can be joined with her true love, she is forced to compete in the brutal and deadly Games of the Atlantis Grail to save herself, her family, friends, and everything she cares about. Once again, her intelligence, quick thinking skills, resilience, and creativity are challenged to the breaking point.

The Games are monumental, intricate, lethal . . . and the Games are Forever.


Guys! I love this series!!! I want to shout it from the rooftops, I love it so much.

Ahem. *clearing throat and getting self in order* In an effort to review this in a way so as not to spoil ANY books in this series, I am going to be a bit vague. (FYI, the blurb above is from Goodreads, but I have shortened it in my attempt to avoid spoilers as much as possible. If you think you might be interested in this series, I highly recommend going straight to Qualify and just trying it, especially since it is free on both kindle and nook.) Here goes.

Win, just like Qualify and Compete, is its own perfect little story arc that fits within the larger series (well, little in proportion given it’s nearly 1,000 pages long). The pacing is perfect, starting out right where the second book ended with some dramatics, then slowing down a bit to lay some foundation and build the world out, and finally slowly continuing to speed up exponentially straight up until the end. And while the end leaves this portion of the story quite complete, it also opened new doors and left me with so many questions that I just want to pick up the next book immediately!

In addition to the pacing, Nazarian’s strengths lie in creating memorable and relatable characters and relationships (particularly with the main character, Gwen), along with incredible and immersive world building, visually and culturally, with plenty of political intrigue to boot. This particular novel focuses on the gladiator style Atlantis Games that definitely give me Hunger Games flashbacks. I also saw glimpses of other stories that may have inspired the author, but she pulled them together in a way that is completely unique.

That all being said, I think there is definitely a specific audience that I think will love this series (of which I am most definitely part of), where there is a converging of the following:
-Those who like young adult dystopian series and their associated tropes.
-Those who like science fiction fantasy about the impending end of the world.
-Those who don’t mind romance and some its associated tropes (less so in the first book and progressing as the series continues).

The writing here is not necessarily what I would call beautiful, but it is clear, concise, and accessible. About halfway in, I thought I might scream if I read the phrase, “It occurs to me,” one more time, but this began to thin out in the second half of the book, and I found myself so pulled into this story that I did not want to put down. Point of fact, I read this monster in two days flat, between other obligations including a full time job. Since the fourth book is not completed yet, my first instinct is to go back to the beginning and reread all three books yet again. I cannot get enough of this world and can’t wait to see what Nazarian has in store for Survive!

5-b&w

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