The Orphan’s Code by C.R.R Hillin

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Good Morning everyone, and welcome back to The Literary Coterie! Today I’m going to be reviewing the book ‘The Orphan’s Code’ by C.R.R. Hillin. I was very fortunate to receive an ARC of the book from the author, in exchange for a review of it on my blog. So let’s begin shall we? WARNING, SPOILERS OF THE FIRST CHAPTER AHEAD.

The book opens the first chapter with us meeting Romero, who is trying to get out information from a teenager by way of torturing him. He wants to know who the teenager works for, and where are they located. By his assumption, he doesn’t believe that one lowly teenager would break into the castle to assasinate a king (Who we find out is Romero) by themselves, they would have to work for or with someone. The king refuses to believe that this teenager is The Black Death, a rogue assassin who murdered some high up people, soldiers and the city watch. But this teenager, Liam Adeney is The Black Death as well as The Fishgut Butcher. Eleven years ago someone brutally murdered everyone in an establishment, including the owners whom he killed and gutted like fish, earning the name The Fishgut Butcher. We also find out that the king ordered the Orphanage to be burned down to kill all of the children contained inside, but that Liam broke most of them out and saved them. The first part of this chapter ends with Romero ordering Liam to be burned alive. The next part of this chapter we see Liam’s view of his execution. He refuses to feel pain as they drag him up to the podium where he gets burned alive, his soul leaving his body before he feels the flames touch him.

After Liam’s execution the chapter jumps to an unknown woman coming to watch from a rooftop to see the infamous The Black Death be executed. Seeing all the people whom have come to spectate knowing they feel the same way that she does, that they need to see to believe that The Black Death is really being executed. Watching as he is burned alive, she realizes that they must be really frightened of him to order his death in this way. The Black Deaths execution angers the people who have come to see, “The Black Death stands for all of us!” they shout as their hero is burned alive. As the woman watches her hero die, she feels a sense of pride that he doesn’t give the guards any satisfaction in dying a painful death. He goes quietly as any hero should. Before she leaves she sneaks a look at the people who had come to watch The Black Death die, seeing their silence and knowing that no one would forget what had happened there. The last section of the first chapter begins with us meeting Kayo, who has come to the execution to watch his brother be executed. Joined by his other “brother” Dominic and their “sisters” Alysia and Artemis (They aren’t actually related, but they have created a sort of family bond together), they stand as watch as one of their own is burned alive. Kayo feels a tremendous sense of loss and sadness, not knowing what his family will do now that Liam is gone. The chapter ends with them leaving the execution, with the uncertainty of their futures now that their brother is gone.

When I read that first chapter, I was immediately intrigued. I’ve never read a book that opened with a torture scene, only to have the person be executed shortly after. It left me wanting to know more, and I’m so glad that I continued to read on because oh my goodness was this a good book! It took me a little longer than usual to finish this book but when you have a toddler and a puppy to take care of, time is something that I don’t have too much of. But nevertheless, this book was great from start to finish. When I got near the end of the book I noticed how many pages were left and it started to get me nervous, because I didn’t know how this book was going to end when there were so many unanswered questions to be solved! The book ends on a cliffhanger, and oh man was I frustrated. Which is amazing, because it makes me hope for a sequel! So let’s put it out into the universe for a sequel to happen, BECAUSE I NEED ANSWERS.

This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read before, but I love it. All too often we read books that have similar premises or they revolve around the same type of character or genre, so this was a wonderful breath of fresh air. If you’re looking for a good story that will keep you turning each page with a newfound quest for answers, then this is the book for you. Thank you to the author C.R.R. Hillin for giving me the chance to read this book, it was a great read from start to finish!

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