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Publisher's Summary

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire's most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie's escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time.

With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?

©2015 Annie Douglass Lima (P)2020 Annie Douglass Lima

What listeners say about The Collar and the Cavvarach

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Book 1

I really like the book. My favorite part was the emotional intelligence of this book. From the beginning I knew I was in good hands. She raises some difficult questions through the course of the story and doesn't always give the answer.

1 person found this helpful

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What a great story

This was an amazing story. Amazing characters that draw you into the story. It is heart wrenching at times and then will make you furious in the next moment. I don't think the description does the story justice. It is about Bensins desire to save his sister Ellie from a life of slavery but it is also so much more than that.
Bensin & his sister Ellie have always been slaves. So far Bensin has a collar but Ellie does not. Their owners are not very nice, always lashing Bensin & just being mean all the time. Bensin decides that they should try to escape. But they get caught by a watch officer. So his owners decide to sell him. That is where Steene Mavvins enters the life of Bensin & Ellie. Steene buys Bensin because of his amazing cavvara shil abilities thinking he can train the boy to become a champion & also hire him out to make extra money. Bensin soon discovers that Steene is much nicer than his previous owner but still doesn't tell him about Ellie. Steene has never owned a slave before or had children so he has a lot to learn. Bensin works hard & Excells in his cavvara shil. He even makes friends with officer Sheego who arrested him after his attempt to escape. Bensin has one obstacle standing in his way of winning the tournament and that is Jayce. He is a spoiled rich brat who will do anything to stop Bensin from beating him, including cheating.
The narrator did a phenomenal job with all the voices and made the story even better. Very talented. A great story that you will devour immediately. I can't wait for book 2.

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Baskerville Book Reviews

As I often say, I didn’t read the summary for this book before I requested is a review copy or listened. I bring this up here because I feel like the summary somewhat misrepresents what the story is about. While freeing his sister is Bensen’s biggest motivator, the “people closing in on her” is a very minor aspect of the story.

The world doesn’t seem all that different from the United States, possibly other ‘western’ nations. One of the few changes is the legal slavery. I got the distinct impression the made-up kingdom, currency, etc. were used so it wouldn’t seem too similar to any real nation.

The protagonist, Bensin is completely and utterly determined to get what he wants. The fact that he doesn’t give up, not for anything is a trait that I respect. In a world where he’s the underdog and looked down on for being a slave, Bensin never lets that stop him. He makes a name for himself and means the respect of the people around him.

The book ends on a cliffhanger, much to my annoyance. But it didn’t piss me off as much as other books for two reasons. The first was the awesome preview of book 2, which has me excited to listen to it. The second is because it feels like part 2 and not book 2. If you read a few reviews of this book and it sounds like something you’d enjoy, make sure to get both parts. I’ve noticed there’s a part 3 and a novella, but I’ll see how things go with part 2 before I look into obtaining those.

The martial art of the series ‘cavvara shil’ is pretty well fleshed out. I’ve never heard of it but I was seriously starting to wonder if it was a real sport. The combat is very well done and easy to follow, which is what led to me wondering this.

My only other complaint is Bensin and his sister having green eyes, how it’s made note of in the story. Green eyes are rare as hell and not a single other character’s eye color is mentioned, as far as I can remember. I wouldn’t have taken issue with it, but I’ve been reviewing a LOT of books the last couple of months. Authors always seem to point out characters with green eyes, like we’re something exotic. It’s starting to get annoying. I did a search online and found an article talking about this issue, so it’s not just me imagining things either.

The narrator overall does a great job. My only issues with the audiobook are minor. At one point, the audio repeated the same dialogue twice. Which from previous experiences with Audible narration, has nothing to do with the book’s dialogue. The other 2 are a strange echo, likely due to a poor attempt to overlap the dialogue.

I feel this book is worth a read, I enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to at least listening to part 2.

NOTE: This copy was provided to me free of charge as a digital review copy. The opinions stated in this review are mine and mine alone, I was not paid or requested to give this book a certain rating, suggestion, or approval.

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Bensin won me over

I received the audiobook as part of the author's blog tour. Normally, I don't care for sports-related plots, but I have to confess, the poor little slave boy (teen) Bensin won me over. With a feel of a post-modern sci-fi (or perhaps urban fantasy), but also reminiscent of ancient Rome, the world was both familiar and unique.

But it was Bensin's worries and loyalty to his little sister that intrigued me so much. *Note: Though they are slaves, and Bensin fights a violent sport, The Collar and the Cavvarach is a "clean" story, meaning Ms. Lima didn't include the oft-obligatory over-description of the arena's bloody goings-on.

All in all, I enjoyed The Collar and the Cavvarach and I think most Fantasy readers will too.

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Great narration of the first book

I love this series. I read books 2 and 3 then book 1, but listening to this audible, was wonderful. I picked up nuances that I hadn't remembered while reading the ebook. Well done. Great action and adventure.

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AN ABSOLUTE MUST READ

I love this book! Bensin is easily one of the most selfless, hardworking, determined characters I have ever read. His love for his sister and his enduring efforts to see her freed from slavery makes him an easy hero to root for. The characters are well-written and believable. I love the thrilling plot, along with the impressive cavvara shil scenes. The character Bensin is an athlete, trained by his owner and coach, Steene, in the art of cavvara shil—an exciting sport which combines swordplay and martial arts. Through their training, Steene and Bensin become unlikely friends, building a father/son relationship that is often overshadowed by their owner/slave dynamic. Still, the characters are lovable, flaws and all. The worldbuilding is rich and realistic (disturbingly so—honestly, it feels too possible) and the plot is a true page-turner. Just wait until the climax; it's a nail-biter! I love the themes of found family, loyalty, and never giving up, no matter the odds.

As far as the audio, I thought it was nicely done. I didn't particularly love Steene's accent, but I did love how the narrator portrayed his temper! Bensin sounded very much like how I imagined. Overall, the story was brought to life in a way that made this fan smile, and I know I'll be listening to it again on my next road trip.

This is simply a fantastic book. I guarantee the first chapter will suck you in and not let you go. An absolute must read.

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Characters that you’ll be cheering for!

A fun and refreshingly clean read that has terrific world building and heartwarming characters.

Set in a world where slavery is the norm, but technology and life is the same as our own, the story follows a young man who learns to hone his skills as a fighter to overcome his own fears and to right some family wrongs.

Though the plot develops slowly, it did not drag. Instead, it allowed you to get to know the main character, Benson, very well. But I would have liked a little more intrigue along the way, hence the four stars.

I thought the narrator captured the characters perfectly! He really made the story come to life. Thank you Annie Douglas Lima for writing an excellent book, that touches on some difficult subjects with truth and grace!

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Exciting and poignant

The Collar and the Cavvarach is intense, exciting, and difficult to turn off when daily life required my attention. I'm impressed on how well it addressed the daily impacts of slavery on individuals and family. Perhaps most of all, it is a story of learning to trust and work with those who seem to be the enemy. There are no easy answers. Beautiful, powerful, and at times heart wrenching. I highly recommend this book. Now I need to go read the other books in the series to see what happens.

Narration is excellent. Every character unique. I knew which character was speaking as soon as I heard them. Totally engrossed in the story.

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Martial arts and slavery in a YA adventure

Annie Douglass Lima weaves an engrossing tale about a slave boy who competes in martial arts tournaments to try to win the freedom of his sister, who is also a slave. The story seems like it might have taken place now, with references to cell phones and healthy smoothies, but the theme of slavery gives the listener pause for somber reflection. The narration is engaging and keeps one's attention, making the audiobook seem shorter than its 12-hour duration.

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4.5/5 Stars The Collar and the Cavvarach by Annie

Summary:

A teen slave has one goal: free his sister.

Additional Comments:

- The society is a strange combination of advanced (cars, credit cards) and archaic (institutional slavery, big tournaments around an MMA style sport). There are things like credit cards, yet Bensin gets paid some kind of coin or cash because he gives his new owner the money. It’s a little surprising people would trust slaves enough to turn over their wages. (It’d probably be better to go with an electronic system – world equivalent of Venmo or something.)

- Bensin keeps his kid sister a secret, but that doesn’t make much sense. The fact that he had a sister should be part of his record. It’s mentioned the cop had to work a little to find out the info, but the slave office should have the info and have given it to the new owner.

- Bensin’s plan hinges on Ellie making it to new watch station where they don’t know her… but this world has computers. Standard procedure would probably be to check pictures.

- Book has a teen gladiator vibe to it.

- Great world-building – requires some suspension of disbelief to keep the plot moving, but it’s a familiar yet unique world.

- Most of the book moves at a steady pace, but that picks up near the end. It’s very predictable but highly satisfying.

- His sister is 5.5 but she’s in charge of the baby?

- Book ends abruptly because the last half hour is just a preview of the next book.

- End is good but a little too pat.


Conclusion:

Excellent start to an intriguing series.
Note: my ratings look a little weird b/c there's no 4.5. Would be cool if you could give half stars.
Second Note: I received a free copy from the author/narrator. I freely provided an honest review.

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  • Cat
  • 05-27-21

A heartfelt, dystopian Karate Kid book!

The Collar and the Cavvarach is a wonderful tale of a teenage slave boy seeking freedom for his 5-year-old sister. After an attempt at escaping from their current cruel owners, Bensin is put up for sale and eventually separated from his sister. However, he is determined to save her from a lifetime of slavery. As he finds himself owned by a martial arts expert, he begins training for tournaments, hoping to earn enough coin from his wins to buy his sister's freedom.

This is a well-written, nicely paced and exciting book. The characters are fleshed out, well-defined from one another, and easy to fall in love with (or hate, for the nasty ones). I especially loved how Ellie (Bensin's sister) was depicted, such as her actions and speech, for it felt very accurate for a young child, especially considering she has grown up as a slave. I'll also admit that, at times, it was a little difficult to wrap my head around the world that is the empire. As modern as it is, there is a strange - but still intriguing - mix of old and new. Due to this mix, even though there is plenty of world-building, you sometimes find yourself not quite sure how things work. Another small point that threw me slightly was Bensin's 5-year-old sister taking care of a baby. It felt a bit too young, seeing as I have children of the same age. However, it is not something that took away from the enjoyment of this book.

The Collar and the Cavvarach is a heartfelt, dystopian YA book with definite Karate Kid vibes. There are no harsh words or gory violence, so it's suited for both young and old readers. I enjoyed it, and I will definitely check out the next one!

Note: I listened to this book on audio, and there were some minor hiccups (especially at the start) that became a little jarring. But the narrator was otherwise great, putting plenty of emotion into each of the characters.