The Race: Training Days by Joan De La Haye

September 1, 2017

Please note Training Days is a direct sequel to The Race and it is likely this review may contain spoilers if you don’t read that first. You have been warned. How you choose to interpret that warning is entirely your own business.

After winning The Race, Joanna Parypinski’s journey takes her from a castle in Germany to the wilds of Siberia, plunging her ever deeper into a world of political games and deadly intrigue.

Once again, she must fight to survive, but how can she be victorious against an opponent she didn’t see coming?

Sometimes my brain cries out for nothing more than a bit of good old fashioned pulpy entertainment. Last year, in a move away from horror, Joan De La Haye released a thriller called The Race. Its premise couldn’t have been simpler – a race, first past the post wins and when it comes to your competition, there are no holds barred. I was intrigued by the idea of the global conspiracy that surrounded it all. I liked the suggestion that a shadowy organisation controlled by the great and the good was running everything in the world based on the outcome of a bloody gladiatorial challenge. Wars, elections, economic growth and share prices were all directly or indirectly linked to the winners and losers.

When her first race began, Joanna Parypinki was a complete innocent thrust into an event she didn’t understand. Surviving and winning, more through luck than judgement, she is now beginning to appreciate the extraordinary new world she has become a member of. Sure, being a contender in The Race is potentially fatal, but if Joanna can survive long enough the fringe benefits could turn out to be worth the risk.

The action picks up immediately after the outcome of book one and in some respects, I suppose Training Days could be viewed as a pause in the main narrative. The plot takes a step away from the action of the ongoing races and delves into what is going on behind the scenes. Though the races determine the outcome of global conflicts, there is still a lot of infighting and bad blood between all the race patrons. Von Zimmer, Joanna’s patron, seems particularly good at rubbing his fellow patrons up the wrong way. With a single notable exception, Von Zimmer, the race patrons all appear to be scumbags of the highest order.

Once this series is completed, I’d love to see it collected into a single volume. I enjoy the episodic nature of each book so far, but honestly, I think it would work better as a single larger book. That said, this is just a personal preference on my part. I guess I’m just an impatient old so and so.

I’m firmly of the opinion that any novel that describes itself as a thriller should do exactly that. The good news is that Training Days accomplishes that task and then some. I can’t wait to see where this series goes next. I can only hope the bloody madness and ass-kicking continue.

I forget, did I mention there are swords? You can’t beat a good sword fight, can you?

I’ve been thinking about what music best captures the tone of The Race and Training Days, and I think I’ve found the perfect fit. I’m sure we can all agree hardcore action requires some hardcore tunes. I would suggest you turn your attention toward the soundtrack for Blade: Trinity. The tracks Fatal and Weapons of Mass Distortion both seem particularly apt.

Training Days is published by the author and is available now. I’d heartily recommend picking up this series and giving it a go. Mayhem, sword fights and more action than you can shake a pointy stick at. What’s not to love?

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