Monday, March 28, 2016

The Collar and the Cavvarach

Book: The Collar and the Cavvarach
Author: Annie Douglas Lima
Age group: Young Adult Fiction
Genre: Alternate Reality, Action and Adventure

About the Story:

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire's most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie's escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time. With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?

What is the Collar for,
and What is a Cavvarach?

The story is set in a world very much like our own, with just a few major differences. One is that slavery is legal there. Slaves must wear metal collars that lock around their neck, making their enslaved status obvious to everyone. Any slave attempting to escape faces the dilemma of how and where to illegally get their collar removed (a crime punishable by enslavement for the remover).

Another difference is the popularity of a martial art called cavvara shil. It is fought with a cavvarach (rhymes with "have a rack"), an unsharpened weapon similar to a sword but with a steel hook protruding from partway down its top edge. Competitors can strike at each other with their feet as well as with the blades. You win in one of two ways: disarming your opponent (hooking or knocking their cavvarach out of their hands) or pinning their shoulders to the mat for five seconds.

Purchase on Amazon:

My Review:

The Collar and the Cavvarach is set in a modern day world similar to our own, but the big difference is that slavery is allowed. Families that are free can be made slaves if one of the parents is caught doing something bad enough to warrant it.

Annie Douglass Lima had me on the edge of my seat from chapter one. There is a teenage brother with a little sister who are both slaves and who have only each other. The empire they live in is generally harsh and belittling towards slaves. The brother feels responsible for his unprotected little sister and never forgets the impossible promise he made to their mother on her deathbed - to set his sister free.

The story is very believable. The characters have struggles that you and I can understand and relate to. There are plenty of realistic details that always make sense and fit in well as the story progresses.

Also, if you like martial arts, then you will enjoy all the cavvara shil scenes.  When I was reading these scenes, I often pictured the Karate Kid movie from 1984.

What gripped me most about this story was the unjust way of life that the brother and sister were subjected to as slaves. It really made me appreciate my freedom.

I recommend this book for young adults who enjoy alternate reality stories. There is quite a bit of violence in the story, so I don't recommend it for anyone younger than 13.

Look out for the sequel:
The Gladiator and the Guard

Other Books by
Annie Douglass Lima
that I have reviewed:

In the Enemy's Service
Prince of Malorn

Annie Douglass Lima

Click on the Picture to Contact or Find Out More About Annie Douglass Lima
Annie Douglass Lima

Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and to date has published ten books (one YA action and adventure novel, four fantasies, a puppet script, and four anthologies of her students’ poetry). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.

by Annie Douglass Lima

Disclosure: I received a free digital copy for my honest review.

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