Published by Scholastic Press on 2/23/16
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
My content rating: YA (Not even any kissing)
From Victoria Scott, author of FIRE & FLOOD, comes a thrilling story of impossible odds.
Ever since the Titans first appeared in her Detroit neighborhood, Astrid Sullivan’s world has revolved around the mechanical horses. She and her best friend have spent countless hours watching them and their jockeys practice on the track. It’s not just the thrill of the race. It’s the engineering of the horses and the way they’re programmed to seem so lifelike. The Titans are everything that fascinates Astrid, and nothing she’ll ever touch.
She hates them a little, too. Her dad lost everything betting on the Titans. And the races are a reminder of the gap between the rich jockeys who can afford the expensive machines to ride, and the working class friends and neighbors of Astrid’s who wager on them.
But when Astrid’s offered a chance to enter an early model Titan in this year’s derby, well, she decides to risk it all. Because for a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, it’s more than a chance at fame or money. Betting on herself is the only way she can see to hang on to everyone in the world she cares about.
I didn’t know what to expect with this book, and I think that was actually a fantastic thing because I ended up constantly wondering where Scott was going to head with the story … and I was never disappointed. Titans is less fantasy and more urban fantasy. It takes place in a near future version of Detroit when the economy there has pretty much collapsed. Her family is struggling to keep afloat after her father loses his factory job (and after their savings has been eaten away by gambling debts). Astrid wants desperately to help, and a chance comes her way to do so – but it’s dangerous, and her father certainly wouldn’t approve. Not when she’s planning to race an eerily lifelike mechanical horse in the very races that have helped strip their family of their financial reserves. Still, Astrid can’t sit by and do nothing. This is her opportunity to save her family and live out a lifelong dream.
What Fed My Addiction:
- Astrid. What’s not to love about Astrid? She was an incredibly strong female lead – she did NOT let anything hold her back, whether it was the rich jockeys who looked down on her, the danger of riding a two ton horse through truly perilous obstacles, or facing down her dad’s wounded pride. Astrid’s intelligence gave her an edge in the competition, but it was her heart that truly set her apart from her rivals – everything she did, she did for her family. To make sure that her little sister was taken care of and to prevent them from losing their home. Of course, Astrid wasn’t perfect. She had a hard time giving up any modicum of control, and she suffered from both trust and guilt issues. But these aspects of her personality just made her that much more human and had me rooting for her even more!
- The racehorse. Padlock wasn’t an ordinary mechanical racehorse (gee, that’s not something I ever thought I’d write). His ability to exhibit emotion seemed unbelievable to Astrid at first, but she eventually softened to him and even learned to trust his instincts – though that was a hard transition for her. The races themselves were exhilarating and incredibly dangerous – I feared for both Astrid’s and Padlock’s lives often!!
- Friendship and family. Both friendship and family were HUGE themes in this book. Astrid’s family was somewhat falling apart because of the pressures that their money issues were putting on them. This was definitely NOT a fairy tale perfect family, but in the end their love and devotion won out and the overarching theme was that of redemption and family bonding. And the friendships in this book were phenomenal! First off, there was Astrid’s best friend Magnolia – this was the true picture of what a friendship should be. These two stuck together through thick and thin and always had each other’s backs. One of the best friendships I’ve read in a book! Then there were the friendships (practically family relationships) that Astrid formed with her manager and the other people on her racing team. It was truly a group effort that got them through – and I loved every minute of it!
- No romance! This might come as a disappointment to some people, but I was actually kind of thrilled that there was no romance to steal the focus from the main story (okay, unless you count a couple of minor romances between secondary characters). At one point, I was pretty sure a romance was brewing, but I loved the direction that Scott took the story instead!
What Left Me Wanting More:
- Nothing. I honestly can’t think of anything that I would have changed about this book. Was it perfect? Probably not – but when I can’t call a single flaw to mind, I know it’s a five star book!
I now understand why Scott has so many dedicated fans. I will certainly be reading more from her. This book was superb – it often sent my heart and my emotions into overdrive! I give it 5/5 stars.
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
About the Author:
Victoria Scott is the author of TITANS, FIRE & FLOOD, SALT & STONE, HEAR THE WOLVES (2017), and VIOLET GRENADE (2017). She is published by Scholastic and Entangled Teen, and is represented by Sara Crowe. Her latest novel, TITANS, has received two starred reviews, and FIRE & FLOOD was nominated as a YALSA Teens’ Top 10 book of 2015. Victoria’s novels have been translated into eight foreign languages. The author lives in Dallas, and loves hearing from readers.