Chained (Cage of Lies Book 1) by Susanne Valenti

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My Thoughts:
I just have to say, I’m a total sucker for fictional, mysterious, bad-boys, (and I mean the bad-boys that are a little shy, awkward, hide their emotions, but are totally strong, skilled and confident in their abilities, yet still loving and protective. NOT the arrogant, aggressive, controlling, cold and heartless bad-boys who pretend to be in love just so they can get into someones pants -C.L.) Ok, so that being said, Susanne hit my total weakness the moment she introduced the character Coal! As soon as he came into the story I knew exactly what type of character he was going to be and I was practically smiling with glee.
 Chained is a fast-paced and well written dystopian fantasy, and the underlying themes in this story echo some of the problems we face in the real world today (like the fact that the rich are corrupt and the poor never really stand a chance -C.L.) I liked this, the cynical side to me jumped for joy, it’s clever.

Yes, this book is similar to a lot of other dystopian novels out there, humanity are living in an extreme environment controlled by closed societies, and it takes a couple of heroes/heroines to discover that everything they believe to be true, is wrong, and of course there is a love triangle. It very much feels a little like The Hunger Games, Under The Never Sky, Divergent, The Last Survivors, etc, etc. However despite its similarities it is different, and Susanne has managed to put her own unique spin on this genre. I had only one niggle with this first book, but then I think it will be sorted and dealt with in the followups.

 The characters are great and they work well together. Each individual character has a well developed personality and character traits, but the magic really happens when all the characters are together, they bounce off one another in a realistic and at times, comical fashion, just like any group of friends would. You meet the main character Maya (the orphan) and her childhood friend Taylor (who totally fancies her) first, then you are introduced to Laurie (a military personal), and then later on you meet Coal and his sister Alicia. My only niggle, that I mentioned previously, was the fact that Taylor was unconscious for most of the book. As much as I can see why this happened, I was secretly hoping he would wake up and save the day at the last moment sort-of-thing. Anyhow, without giving any spoilers away, these characters were perfect and character development seems to be a strong point for the author.
The world building was good too. I didn’t have any problems imagining the ‘city’ that Maya and Taylor grew up in. It’s basically a bunch of high-rises with bridges between them, they also extend deep underground and are enclosed by a huge circular wall. I really liked the trip outside the wall that Maya and Taylor embarked on, Susanne did a fantastic job of describing the silent and desolate neighbourhoods of the past, it definitely felt eerie enough to raise goosebumps on my skin. The wild forests/jungles and their creatures were also described brilliantly, in fact, I can’t fault any of the descriptions or world building in this book.
The story line itself was exciting and not as predictable as I thought it would be. It was fast paced and perhaps some of the interactions were a little rushed, however, for the size of the book it all fitted together nicely, and no one wants lengthy passages where nothing happens! (or dreaded singing -C.L.) The contaminated humans were unexpected but also genius, I was sort of expecting mindless zombie-type creatures, but instead they were much more like the Morlocks from the film The Time Machine. They showed a level of intelligence and cunning which was extremely disturbing, yet gripping!
Susanne Valenti balanced everything well, I didn’t skip over sections (I’m notoriously bad for that -C.L.), and I was never bored. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I’m expecting every new book written by Susanne to just get even better and better. Definitely another author to keep an eye out for ladies and gents!

From The Current Reviews:

The Good: It had action, an amazing female main character, great side characters, just enough romance not to make me throw up and an awesome writing style‘, ‘I was immediately taken with the premise of the story and wished I had thought of it first‘, ‘This is a great story with loads of action, tension, speeding pace and wonderful characters‘, ‘Chained is a fast paced young adult novel suitable for high school students and up. It is packed with action, adventure and a little romance. Nothing explicit though! The story was rather violent with a lot of fighting and deaths, including the use of weaponry such as knives and guns.‘, ‘logical and developed plot’, ‘engrossing story line’, ‘There are no predictable zombies outside or anything like that, it basically comes down to shit hitting the fan and greedy politicians trying to take all the power from the people and keep them locked away doing their bidding.‘, ‘a great dystopian story, and though targeted for young adults, it was written maturely and without the childish drama that something like the Vampire Diaries has which is wonderfully refreshing.‘, ‘ It grabbed my attention from the very beginning and kept me trapped to the very end‘, ‘smooth writing’, ‘enjoyable read’, ‘exciting and a thrilling adventure‘, ‘A book which shows lots of girl power and it felt really good to read about strong girls like Alicia, Laurie and Maya.

The Bad: I had expected a little less cliché with this book‘, ‘I really enjoyed the world that was created, but some of the details surrounding the characters just weren’t really my taste‘, ‘I don’t think there was enough dramatic tension to make this entirely realistic.‘, ‘Certain plot points were pretty predictable and easy to see coming, and I was confused about a lot of the “city” moments‘, ‘It does sort of fall a bit flat overall, though‘, ‘I rate the premise of this book much higher than the execution.

The Darn Right Ugly: (None so far on Amazon Uk or Goodreads -C.L.)

The Unicorns:Susanne Valenti did a great job with this book and I think she deserves all the awards for writing such a terrific novel‘, ‘Susanne Valenti is such a great storyteller, you will forget you’re reading a book at all. She has an amazing imagination, and knows how to put it to paper!‘, ‘Someone needs to pick this series up and make it into a show or movie. It would be HUGE.‘, ‘FAVOURITE DYSTOPIAN BOOK OF THE YEAR’, ‘Ordered my copy this morning and already I cannot put it down!

This Book Has Been Compared/Likened To: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins,  Divergent by Veronica Roth, and The Island by Jen Minkman, Delerium by Lauren Oliver, Studio Ghibli film Princess Mononoke, television show The Walking Dead,  The Maze Runner by James Dashner.


Release date: 1st October 2015

Pages: 313

Age Range: 13+

Contains: Descriptions of violence

Genre(s): Dystopia/Science Fiction/ Young Adult


About The Book:

Terrified of the contamination and the creatures it has created, humanity hides behind The Wall. No one knows what lies beyond the wasteland. Maya has never thought much about what might still be out there, lurking in the forgotten places. But when she’s thrust into the unknown, she is forced to question everything she has ever been told. Not everyone outside died, some of them became something… else. As her heart is torn in two, every choice she makes is harder than the last. What she discovers will change her forever. She knows she will probably die, but Maya has seen enough of death and she won’t let it have her without a fight.


Amazon Kindle Rating: 4.7 stars(4.7 Stars)

Goodreads Rating: 4.2 Stars (4.19 Stars)

Where to Buy? Amazon: Kindle Ed, £1.99. Paperback, £9.99.


About the Author:

Find out about the author at her website here –> http://susannevalenti.com/about/

Author’s Links:

Website: Http://www.SusanneValenti.com

Twitter: @susannevalenti


Disclaimer: The reviews and opinions above are either from online sources or my own, and have been collaborated together for the ease and benefit of potential new readers. All ratings have been collected from the date of this blog’s publishing and will potentially change in the future.

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