Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!

Review: Cruel Reality: Games of Life and Death by CJ Whitely

uel-realityTitle: Cruel Reality: Games of Life and Death 

Author: CJ Whitely

Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing

Published: May 27th, 2016

Pages: 524

Rating: 5/5

My Review:

Just imagine going for a walk down your local street only to be attacked, abducted and drugged. Then imagine the trauma of awaking in the hold of a moving ship alongside hundreds of other people who have been similarly treated. That’s what happens at the start of this dramatic story that is a real page turner from the very start.

I’m not quite sure how to avoid giving out spoilers on this one, but I’ll try! The story certainly lives up to the title of the book – it is filled with Cruel realities and games of life and death. The rewards for winners are essentially to remain alive and the consequences of losing are frequently fatal. This is a contemporary story, with a superb plot that keeps the reader enthralled and uncertain of the final outcome until they’ve read the final few pages of the epilogue. It is told mainly from the points of view of Mike and Kay, but don’t assume that means they’re a couple. They’re two of the people in the hold of the same ship who help those who recover from the sedation given to all the kidnapped victims. There are others who also get to share their voice in this.

When I asked the author what this book, he replied:

As for a genre, I think I’d say it was a NA Thriller, with a romantic side-story. But I also might say that is a contemporary story with a bit of a Dystopian feel to it (that all sounds a bit ambitious perhaps?)
A very brief way to describe it might be to say that it is a bit like the Hunger Games, but set in the present-day, real-world.

Actually, having read and thoroughly enjoyed it, I have to agree with him! There are many themes running through the story, skilfully interwoven to create a present day story that leaves the reader pondering what they would do should this happen to them, resulting in them being in such a terrifying situation. The characters are superbly portrayed, brought to life by the author, making them believable, their reactions and behaviours understandable and most of them are easy to empathise with even if you don’t agree with them. Their interactions and experiences certainly aren’t for the feint hearted, this reality is certainly cruel and unforgiving. It is a story that could happen, making it even more powerful because of that. It is a roller coaster ride, with so many twists and turns as well as climbs and falls, that you’re never quite sure what will happen next or just who can survive the experience. The ending even has surprise revelations in it – what a fantastic novel!

The descriptions bring to life events in this action packed story that has the reader on the edge of their seat! No hesitation with this one, this is one of the most powerfully written books I’ve read in a long time and one I highly recommend to adults who enjoy contemporary action packed stories with a healthy dose of mystery, suspense and a dramatic fight for survival, a touch of romance and, of course, a reality check.

This is my honest opinion after reading a gifted ecopy of this book from the author, received with no obligation to read or to share my review.


Taken by masked men in the night, a host of British people find themselves at the mercy of unknown abductors. They cannot guess where they are going, or why they are going there. When they find an arsenal of medieval weapons in their new prison, horrific possibilities are imagined. When the cruel reality of their fate is revealed to them, they must learn a new way of life.

Fight or die. There is nowhere to run.

This book is available from a variety of sources including

Amazon (UK)         Amazon (US)        Barnes and Noble

The author agreed to be interviewed – you can read his fascinating replies regarding this book and his writing process here! 

One comment on “Review: Cruel Reality: Games of Life and Death by CJ Whitely

  1. Jim
    October 16, 2016

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