The first few pages of Blood Tournament (2018, #1) makes everyone remember Hunger Games. The scenario is very similar: in a dystopian future, the government picks 40 contestants to compete in an underground arena, only 10 would survive. This is oddly similar to Hunger Games.
There are several twists though and make this book an enjoyable read. First of all, you might think that a 25% survival rate is not too bad. But once you think about it, it is a smart design by Benson, the author of the book. When the number of contestants dwindles, it makes more sense for several contestants to conspire against small groups. In the Hunger Games’ setting, conspiring is less likely because there are only 1 person can live. You can almost guess that Book 1 of Hunger Games would likely be “the protagonist bitterly kills someone she loves” or “some surprising twist is coming to make more than 1 person survives”. I believe the 25% survival rate ends become an interesting device and gives an interesting twist to the plot.
Then, there is a part which I feel “Hunger Games” was weak: it was catering to a more female young adult market. So for me, “Hunger Games” doesn’t have enough plot devices to include many scenes which could be adrenaline-filled. In a way, that’s why I find “Blood Tournament” is more enjoyable: it is grimmer in tone, faster in pace and more action-packed. That’s perhaps why several reviewers commented they wish “Hunger Games” go into “Blood Tournament”‘s direction.
All-in-all, “Blood Tournament” is a great summer read, I hope to see more work from Benson in the future.