'The Game is Real!': Joanne Macgregor's 'Recoil'

by - 22:20

It has been four years since the plague began - the rat fever launched by the terrorists. Back then it was spread through human suicide bombs. Today, the terrorists mostly use rats. Jinxy Emma James - twelve at the time - also lost her father, to a heart attack; and her mother became a shell of her former self. Now sixteen, Jinxy is an expert sniper in The Game. So good that she finally won it - after eighteen months of playing it; and will now be heading to PlayState for the ultimate prize - a real-life simulated sniper mission.  This eventually leads to an even more ultimate prize - selected to join the Advanced Skills Training Programme at the Advanced Specialised Training Academy (ASTA), and be part of the first ever elite sniper squad. 

I should mention that we are in the US - a futuristic, dystopian one divided into three sectors: the Northeast, the Mid-and-West and the South. I should also mention that everyone wears Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) - masks, gloves, respirators and the extreme ones, disposable PPE suits - protection from the rat fever. Additionally, after the plague children stopped going out (to be safe), except on designated special occasions a number of times a year, and The Game really took off. Finally, there are many different roles you can play in The Game: a sniper (like Jinxy), a spy, a code-breaker and intel agent or even Ops Management. There are, of course, more things I could mention; but here's one more thing - this is the brilliant and dark world that South African author, Joanne Macgregor has created in Recoil - the first part in The Recoil Trilogy

I loved this book! But to be honest, after reading two other books by Joanne Macgregor, I am such a fan of her writing, that I can't wait for part two in the trilogy. I also really truly believe Joanne Macgregor can write anything. Macgregor also writes really nuanced and real female characters. 

Jinxy is bad-ass. She is without a doubt the best sniper in her unit; she is determined; she is eager to learn; she doesn't see failing as an option; and she is not afraid to call out anyone who sexualises her, such as Bruce her squad member, constantly fixated with her looks- Jinxy has blond hair, blue eyes with a streak of blue in her hair. 

Enough about Jinxy's looks, the first ever elite squads job is extremely important - eliminate the dangerous rodents. Very important, as they are the ones that spread the fever, and cause the plague. And you don't want to be infected by these rats -trust me! With time, Jinxy gets promoted to even more special ops work - that's just how good she is! There is, however, a problem! Well, two! 

One - as good as a sniper Jinxy is, she really struggles to shoot the animal targets - the tangos (T for targets) - even if they may be deadly and are infecting (and eventually killing) people. As bad-ass as Jinxy is, a soft interior could be seen as a bad thing for an elite sniper squadSecond, is eighteen-year-old Quinn O'Riley - also selected to join ASTA's training programme. 

Ah Quinn! Hottie Quinn - with his darker hair and skin and Irish accent; with his 'lean face and strong jaw' - who Jinxy is instantly attracted to (and it seems the feeling is mutual). Questioning Quinn, who doesn't take things at face value. Selected for Intel division Quinn, who is morally opposed to ratters - snipers like Jinxy. This, particularly becomes a major problem after their six week ASTA training, and Quinn finds out what division Jinxy has been training for (people were unable to talk about their training with non-division members). How do these new, and young, lovers survive this difference in opinion on the importance of ratters? 

Recoil was an absolute joy and pleasure to read, and I was hooked from the first line. I was totally immersed into this world Joanne Magregor created, and I also found it believable - a plague that affected the world, the Government's response, setting up a special ops unit with young people, particularly having a young girl as a sniper - especially, when women are usually the last ones people would expect to be expertly trained snipers, and especially young ones. I honestly can't wait for part two - Refuse; and if you're a fan of dystopian YA, with a kick-ass female lead, then definitely give this a read.

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