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Death's Kiss
New Year's Eve 2054 A virus, later named the BlackJack, struck and killed 3/4 of the world's population. Only those who were 21 and younger were not infected. Treaties broke off. Countries severed connection to the outside world. And the country of Yliria built its own invisible walls. Thirty-eight years later... Yliria is now at peace. But nothing is gained without sacrifices. Yuri's life was perfect. Family. School. Career. Then there's Ryoma. Her one true love. Nothing could go wrong when she has everything planned out. But on the night of their anniversary, it did not end with a kiss. Ripped from their normal lives, both Yuri and Ryoma woke up from a dream to face the real nightmares. As a punishment for their parents' treason, they must serve the government--the System--as the new Aces of the Court Department, assigned to oversee and maintain peace and balance during the weekly Shuffle. ONE WEEK. 13 LIVES. Armed, not with a weapon, but the same virus that destroyed the world. The Aces must escape their new fate. If not, the only path left in their future is the one covered in blood.
Jamie Michele for Readers’ Favorite

Death's Kiss by Regie Khemvisay is a post-apocalyptic dystopian novel set in the future near the turn of the next century, following the Black Jack. This plague ravaged indiscriminately, killing all of those who were over the age of twenty-one. With the passing of time, the youth who survived have slowly, carefully, and painfully rebuilt their lives, pushing past what was lost and finding some semblance of peace in Yliria. Some. There is, though, the matter of The Shuffle. “Our lives meant nothing. Yes, we held high seats in the Joker System, but a crime is a crime. During our final trial, rather than taking our lives, they decided that taking our children’s lives was a worse punishment. They promised to leave you alone until you reached Twenty-one years old as a saving grace for all our contributions. They want you in the Court Department as Aces.”

Death's Kiss by Regie Khemvisay is a wonderfully written and fresh new twist to the genre of young adult dystopian novels. I loved how the primary players had gambling names given to them, which highlights the gamble of lives at stake with The Shuffle. At the introduction, we are told as little as Ryoma is, and the system of Aces and Jokers is revealed with the restrained hand of a skilled author. This is a fast-paced story that is heavy on the suspense and action, and I expect it will find a wide and adoring audience among the far-reaching readership of young adult fans.