Gambit by C.L. Denault | A Raving Fangirl Review

gambit book review-01

GabitBookCoverTitle: Gambit

Author: C.L. Denault

Pub Date: March 31st 2015

Publisher: REUTS Publications, LLC

Genre(s): Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Dystopia, Romance


In Earth’s battle-ridden future, humans have evolved. Those with extraordinary skills rise to power and fame. Those without live in poverty.

Sixteen-year-old Willow Kent believed she was normal. But when a genetically-advanced military officer shows up in her village and questions her identity, long-buried secrets begin to emerge. With remarkable skills and a shocking genetic code the Core and its enemies will do anything to obtain, Willow suddenly finds the freedom she craves slipping through her fingers. Greed, corruption, and genetic tampering threaten every aspect of her existence as she’s thrust, unwilling, into the sophisticated culture of the elite Core city. To ensure peace, she must leave the past behind, marry a man she’s never met, and submit to the authority of a relentless officer with a hidden agenda of his own.

Her life has become a dangerous game. How much will she sacrifice in order to win?

Disclosure: I received an e-ARC of this title supplied by Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this version and not of the published edition.

The Characters-01

Meet Willow and Reece, the two main characters in this incredible book! Willow is so headstrong and just an all around really fantastic female lead for this dystopian. And REECE! I think you either like the guy or not. He’s complex, let’s just leave it at that.




Commencing fangirl review in three…two…one…

All the stars!! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ This book deserves all the stars!

5 Reasons I Loved Gambit

#1 Headstrong Characters- the cast is full of diverse personalities that often clash. I thought this was realistic and  demonstrative of the real world. I liked that not everyone is angling for the same game plan, which adds intense amounts of intrigue and the potential for deception.
#2 Intricate World-building- At fist I had several questions but these were all easily swiped away with simple answers showing the pure depth of world building the author undertook to bring this story to life. OMG it’s just so good!
#3 Introspective Dystopian Narrative- I really liked this new take on the dystopian world. Plus, seeing it through Willow’s lens, with her perspective being colored by her experiences, really made this book refreshing and exciting to read.
#4 Knee-buckling Romance- It’s swoon worthy, it’s steamy, it’s also a bit questionable, but oh so good. I love that Willow questions it, which is necessary because she should question it. She is, at the very least, aware that she walks on a razor’s edge here. This is one of the most intense relationships I’ve ever seen in YA. I love it. It doesn’t overshadow the major plot at all, rather it deepens the current plot, ultimately complimenting (and further complicating) everything that is going on.
#5 Minimalist Writing style- Denault keeps it to a minimum in terms of exposition, which is honestly perfect because all the world building comes from Willow’s perspective and I like that sort of organic approach. This is definitely a book to read for a writer wanting to see successful and very seamless world building executed.

Rating 5/5

Don’t Believe Me? Check out some other reviews!

Gambit by C.L. Denault review by CW @ Read, Think, Ponder

{REVIEW} Gambit by C. L. Denault by Melanie @ Melanie Noell Bernard

Let's Talk

Have you read Gambit yet? Tell me, how “headstrong”is too headstrong for you as a reader? What exactly about hot and cold romances is the big turn-off? These are the two biggest criticisms I’ve seen for this book and I just don’t get it. The fangirl in me just wants everyone to enjoy this book as much as I did. What other romance-dystopias have you read that were really good?

13 thoughts on “Gambit by C.L. Denault | A Raving Fangirl Review

  1. YAAAAY! Oh my gosh, I was SOOOO excited when I saw this pop up on my notifications! I’ve been so excited for your review! :’D

    I totally agree with all your reasons. Gambit was sooo refreshing – I’m getting my bf buy it for me when he visits the US! Otherwise it’s $30NZD. 😥

    In response to your questions – I actually really enjoyed the romance. I know it treads on a VERY thin line between questionable and complex, but I think Denault’s writing made it more on the complex side. I would call it a darker romance; definitely not clean-cut and more than meets the eye. I think it’s further complicated with the plot too. I suppose I enjoyed it because it was something very different – more than the clean, good boy that we have been seeing in YA. I think it’s characters like Reece that challenge readers and create discussion.

    Also, as I said in my review (hehe) I really, really liked Willow! I think readers forget that she is sixteen, and as a protagonist she is allowed to make mistakes, be irrational, be her age. She was incredibly stubborn sometimes, but I think it plays into the whole theme that the game she is playing is much bigger than she is.

    Okay I wrote an essay, but AHHHH YAY FOR YOUR REVIEW! Let us fangirl over Prodigy #2 together! ❤

    P.S. I love your choice for Reece. ❤

    1. I like the darker not clean cut romance, the more I read “not clean cut” the more I appreciate it for it’s truthfulness about the complexity of relationships in general, and I really like that sort of realism in writing.
      Yes! People do forget that she is sixteen. She is allowed to make mistakes. I mean, we make them in our twenties too, and we don’t have half of what happens to her happen to us (for the majority of us, we’re not long lost princesses in a dystopian world, lol, there are some out there though, *god, my attempt at dry humor sucks*)
      ANYWAY, lol, I can’t wait for book 2, bring it on Cary, bring it on!!!!

      1. “truthfulness about the complexity of relationships” – that’s so true! Sometimes I look at those YA fiction romances and there’s so little development or friction in character. I mean, sure there are some people who get on amazingly, but when you get to know each other, isn’t there a little friction or conflict? I think that’s what I really appreciate about Reece x Willow. c:

        HAHA Don’t worry Nic, I love dry humour! XD Dry humour/dead-pan humour is all meeee. :’) But yes, we do make mistakes in our 20’s! We’re always making mistakes – I wish protagonists made more mistakes, it would be more interesting, esp for character development.

    1. Yay! I really hope you enjoy it. There is a small faction of us Gambit lovers out there and I hope this following grows much larger as more reviewers catch wind and put it out there. I look forward to your review whenever you get around to reading this one! 😀

  2. Gah! I absolutely love how you just gush over this book because it’s so well-deserved! I could totally sit here and comment on EVERYTHING that I loved about the book again to agree with you, but that would be unnecessary. :p (and way too long for a comment. haha!)

    Side note: I love your comment: ‘This is definitely a book to read for a writer wanting to see successful and very seamless world building executed.’ This is fantastic! ^.^

    Still, I’m way excited to see some other people getting interested in this book. It’s too good for people to not want to read. More importantly, WHEN IS BOOK TWO COMING OUT?! Ugh. So anxious to see what happens next!

    P.s. Thanks for the pingback! I greatly appreciate the support. ^.^

    1. Hey! I’m glad you liked my review, that makes me all happy and blushy! And I’m sooo excited that you’ll be picking the book up sometime. This romance definitely got me all doe-eyed and swoony. As a general rule, I need any hint of romance to keep my interest in a book but this one was like, punch in the gut, “I love it” good, lol! ^.^

    1. Awww!! That’s a huge compliment B!! It really is! I’m so glad that you enjoy my reviews! I get so much anxiety over writing them up that sometimes I consider whether or not I should even put them up, so thank you so much! What a lovely thing to say!!! ❤️❤️
      And yes! Gambit is a very good one! A quick read too it goes by really really fast so def a weekend read!

      1. There’s no need for any anxiety. Your enthusiasm is fabulous and drives great energy into your words 🙂
        Quick reads sound right up my street now too….you are not helping my tbr pile 😉

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