Vain Empires
By Brandilyn Collins
Challow Press
PB, 315 pages

Vain Empires begins when six contestants arrive on the set of a reality show that offers the fulfillment of all their dreams as the prize. All it takes to win is to learn which of the seven deadly sins each of them represents. Simple, right? Wrong. The contestants realize their shot at happiness comes with a cost: each of them has a damning secret… and those secrets are about to be splattered across TV screens all across the world. To solve the mystery, the characters – and the readers along with them – receive clues twice a day. Tensions skyrocket as contestants scramble to piece messages and hints together. By the time the three days are up, all of them – even the winner – will go home utterly destroyed.

Dark, twisted and suspenseful, the plot made it impossible to close the book and go to sleep at a decent hour. Also, despite a few patches of awkward dialogue, the characters felt believable and real. Unfortunately, as the story progresses, the characters all prove to be despicable human beings, which made it difficult to root for or empathize with any of them. As a result, the major plot twist at the end packs none of the punch that was intended. With that being said, Vain Empires was still a decent work, and I would recommend it to anyone in the mood for a little suspense.

Reviewed by Sonya Downing. Sonya is a professional writing major at Taylor University.