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Powerless by Lauren Roberts

Powerless by Lauren Roberts, the first book in 'The Powerless Trilogy', has already started to make its mark in the fantasy genre. The novel has already reached 130k+ ratings on goodreads and nominated for Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction. I'm surprised I didn't come across the book sooner, considering it was released on January 30, 2023.

As Roberts' first novel ever, it's quite impressive how far the book has already reached and surely will reach higher in the upcoming months. Because book #2 releases this July!

SYPNOSIS : She is the very thing he’s spent his whole life hunting.

He is the very thing she’s spent her whole life pretending to be.

Only the extraordinary belong in the kingdom of Ilya—the exceptional, the empowered, the Elites.

The powers these Elites have possessed for decades were graciously gifted to them by the Plague, though not all were fortunate enough to both survive the sickness and reap the reward. Those born Ordinary are just that—ordinary. And when the king decreed that all Ordinaries be banished in order to preserve his Elite society, lacking an ability suddenly became a crime—making Paedyn Gray a felon by fate and a thief by necessity.

Surviving in the slums as an Ordinary is no simple task, and Paedyn knows this better than most. Having been trained by her father to be overly observant since she was a child, Paedyn poses as a Psychic in the crowded city, blending in with the Elites as best she can in order to stay alive and out of trouble. Easier said than done.

When Paeydn unsuspectingly saves one of Ilyas princes, she finds herself thrown into the Purging Trials. The brutal competition exists to showcase the Elites’ powers—the very thing Paedyn lacks. If the Trials and the opponents within them don’t kill her, the prince she’s fighting feelings for certainly will if he discovers what she is—completely Ordinary.

Can we take a moment to appreciate how absolutely beautiful the cover is? From the engraved sword wrapped in vines to the vibrant violet flowers, I'm in love. In my opinion, the cover of a book is just as important as the title.

The plot takes major inspiration from The Hunger Games and Red Queen. There are many elements in this book that were straight up picked up from the above two series and while there's absolutely nothing wrong with taking inspiration, it is important to keep your storyline as original as possible.

Here's a short list of the many elements were picked up from The Hunger Games and Red Queen:

  • SPOILER. Andy's (Paedyn's best friend) passion of sewing and fashion designing which ultimately lead to her torture and death by the King. Wonder where I've read that before.

  • The kingdom divided in two parts aka the palace and everyone else apparently. The world building was not giving in this one. I hope that really changes in the next book.

  • The two brother love triangle which ends with both of them getting betrayed. Earth shattering.

  • The public watches the highlights of the trial after it's over. Okay.

  • The host of the show also having a unique appearance complete with the bright blue hair. Hunger Games left the chat.

  • Paedyn's archery talent (someone called her the blonde boiled down version of Katniss and that's the best way to put it out there).

Paedyn, in my opinion, was still a strong main character. I loved her energy throughout the book. Her dialogues in the book were pretty good and lowkey made me laugh. What I would like to mention, however, is Paedyn's lack of weaknesses. There is zero falling point in her character. No imperfections whatsoever.

“She is the embodiment of a bad decision. The twin of danger and desire. The fine line between deadly and divine. And I can feel myself drowning.”

Prince Kai was your typical book boyfriend. He is also supposed to be godly strong (obviously) and a 'monster', claiming Kai is a 'ruthless' killer. The story does not add much into this though. A lot of telling but no showing. Kai seemed more like a golden retriever boy than what the story claims him to be.

“Remind me to to make you smile like that again, when you aren't dying, and I have all the time in the world to memorise it.”

Future King Kitt was definitely one of my favorite characters in the story. He's supposed to be the 'softer' version of Kai who works without the bloodshed. Destined to be King. We don't get much of him but I'm pretty sure the next book will give us a better insight to him, considering the ending.

Speaking of the ending, it was close to perfect. Roberts gave us nothing but also everything in the end. It was the kind of ending that makes you beg for more. I was almost glad I read this book a few months before the second book's release date because I'm way too impatient to see what happens next.

Something I absolutely loved about the book is that Kai and Paedyn don't actually do anything more than cuddle in this book. No makeout scenes. Nothing. Which, in my opinion is kind of genius and evil because it saves the plot from being painfully mid. The lack of smut makes me think Lauren knew exactly what she was doing when she deprived us of any of that. Preach.

“Will you forever be the prize I am aimlessly trying to win"

"Is that all I am to you? A trophy?"

"Oh, darling, a trophy implies that I won it, earned it, deserve it." He leans in farther, a certain reverence in his gaze. But if i get to have you, it will be because you let me.”

The three Purging Trials in the book were a little disappointing. I absolutely loved the first trial, held in a deadly forest setting. The other two were very rushed in my opinion. The first Trial takes like seven chapters meanwhile the other two take barely three. I was not happy about that. Considering how long the book actually is, Lauren could do a lot with how the Trials were set up. The last trial especially really lacked any sort of creativity. But the Balls in between the three Trials were spaced out exceptionally well. So I guess there was more focus on the Balls rather than the actual Trials.

All in all, the pace of the book wasn't exactly uniform. It started out a little slow then just rushed a lot in the end. I feel like the final Trial and the plot twist should have been drawn out more than it had. But I don't want to scrutinize it this much. The last scene between Paedyn and the King was chef's kiss.

Lauren Roberts has massive potential to be a worldwide bestselling fantasy writer and I would never doubt that. Powerless is a book that should be given a chance if you love reading and keeping up with fantasy. Especially if you want something similar to The Hunger Games, Red Queen and The Selection.

“For every girl who has ever felt powerless”

― Lauren Roberts, Powerless

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