Join or Die - J.Adrian Ruth (ARC)
"A group of outcasts struggling to survive in a school filled with monsters. An average kid, growing up in Las Vegas, Alex Ayers life skids off the rails when a dragon shifter comes for him. Alex is a Creature, monsters from myths and legends. And he's in line to lead all the Creatures in the world, if he doesn't get killed first.
Now forced to attend a school filled with every horror he's ever imagined, Alex draws together a group of friends to become his own mini-army.
A depressed vampire facing an identity crisis.
A class gossip with white hair and a frosty out-look.
A werewolf who plays with magic.
A Valkyrie straining against her berserker's rage.
Can Alex keep his friends safe, fight for his own life, and catch a killer, all while keeping his grades up? And what will his future hold, as he begins his change into a Creature he knows nothing about?"
I received Join or Die by J.Adrian Ruth for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book will be published on the 1st June 2020. I will include links to the author at the end of the review.
TW: violence, death
Join or Die is about a fourteen year old boy, Alex Ayers, who finds out that he is not entirely human as he once thought. He is introduced to a secret world full of monsters in a boarding school designed to help young creatures adapt in the mortal world.
It includes all of the usual supernatural creatures such as vampires, werewolves and wizards as well as some fun creatures that you don't usually see in books such as valkyries, berserkers and yuki-onna. It was so original to have a a mix of these creatures and intriguing to learn about some legends that I hadn't heard of before. Additionally, I loved the angle of the young creatures having to learn how to survive in the mortal world. In a lot of books you find that the half-human characters have to forget about the moral world and just learn about the new ones, it was so clever how this book turned that trope on its head.
Alex Ayers, our protagonist, is thrown into this world suddenly when an old friend of his absent father reveals that Alex is on the verge of the 'Change'. He has to move away from the only home he has ever known to face becoming a supernatural creature, having to make new friends whilst also having to constantly look over his shoulder as his life is in danger. A little detail that I thought was a really nice touch was how Alex's homesickness was portrayed. It was a great reminder in this new world that he is just a kid and even though he is introduced to a world of magic, he is still going to miss his mum, friends and home.
The world building in this book is fantastic! I love all of the little details that were similar to our world but slightly different to accommodate the Creatures/ the Otherworld.
"I have the choice of Scion or death. I'm fourteen. Death isn't an option."
There is so much enjoyable content offered in this book, there is definitely something for everyone. It explores family, friendship and even contains my favourite book trope of unlikely friends becoming family. There is mystery, betrayal, rivalry and bucket loads of magic plus a pretty spectacular scavenger hunt.
This book is perfect for fans of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson! It shares so many lovable elements from both of these books such as going to a remote boarding school or having a complicated relationship with parental figures. Reading Join or Die gave me the same magical and warm feeling that I got from Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, I know that this series is going to be just as special.
On that note, I was excited to hear that this was going to be part of an ongoing series (Heir of the Scion). This book was the perfect set up for further books as it resolves so many questions but there is so much potential for further growth and upcoming challenges for all of the characters - I'm so excited to see what happens next!
Thank you to NetGalley, the publishers and the author for this opportunity! Look out for Join or Die which will be published on 1st June 2020.
About the Author
J. Adrian Ruth has been writing since she was eight. She's been published in different genre, by different names, since 2003. When she's not writing, she's teaching the next generation of misfits.
J. Adrian has always loved myths and monsters, enjoying a little horror with her adventure and her romance. She's looking forward to seeing how the monsters in her head grow into the heroes she images they can be.