Saturday, April 24, 2010

Girl in the Arena

Title: Girl in the Arena

Author: Lise Haines

Pages: 336

Rating: ****

Summary (from Goodreads):It’s a fight to the death—on live TV—when a gladiator’s daughter steps into the arena
Lyn is a neo-gladiator’s daughter, through and through. Her mother has made a career out of marrying into the high-profile world of televised blood sport, and the rules of the Gladiator Sports Association are second nature to their family. Always lend ineffable confidence to the gladiator. Remind him constantly of his victories. And most importantly: Never leave the stadium when your father is dying. The rules help the family survive, but rules—and the GSA—can also turn against you. When a gifted young fighter kills Lyn’s seventh father, he also captures Lyn’s dowry bracelet, which means she must marry him...

Review: I really enjoyed this book. I won it from The Compulsive Reader a while back, and I finally got around to reading it. The plot was fairly unique (more than once I was reminded of the Hunger Games), the characters were great, and there were just enough "What?!" moments to keep you guessing. But let me just get this out of the way: the dialogue bothered me. No quotation marks were used, so dialogue looked like this:

--I just don't know, I said. I shook my head and turned away.
--It'll all work out, he reassured me, though there was no possibly way of knowing.

It made the story hard to follow in some places, and I couldn't tell what was more speech or just her thoughts. It was somewhat distracting.
Other than that, which really doesn't have much to do with the story, I loved it. Lyn is a take charge, kick butt girl who doesn't let anyone fight her battles for her (no pun intended). She has a lot on her plate, but she balances it all gracefully.

The writing, for the most part, was pretty good. There were a few parts in the middle where there would be a really long run on sentence that wouldn't really go anywhere, but it just went on and on, throwing in a detail here, a bit more information there, and finally she would try to end it DRAMATICALLY. See what I mean? I only noticed it in the middle of the novel; the beginning and ending were much better.

The other little problem I had with this book is the same thing I had with the Hunger Games. They treat life like it is so disposable. Death isn't a major concept, like a character dying is normal. And I guess in the life of a gladiator you have to get used to it, but life is still a life. Death is still an ending, even if suddenly it's a sport (which disgusts me, don't even get me started). For much of the story, I had to forget the fact that the point of this "sport" is to kill your opponent. The winner isn't the one who scores more runs or the most baskets; it's the one who's still alive after the match. Which sent chills down my spine while reading.

But the story doesn't focus that much on the actual fights; it focuses on Lyn's life and the trouble she has as part of the Gladiator world. The GSA, the association that runs the sport, has many constricting rules and regulations members have to follow. Lyn is trying to break free of that and have a normal life for her and her little brother, but it isn't easy.

This really was a very good book. My issues were slight; I tore through this book in a couple days. I had to know how everything turned out for Lyn. A great read.

Recommended for: fans of The Hunger Games and kick-butt female protagonists.

But don't just take MY word for it. Watch this video, and I dare you not to want to read Girl in the Arena afterwards:


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Sorry I messed up on the first comment. I like your book reviews so I got an award for you.

  3. I really want to read this one since I'm a big kick-butt heroine fan - Graceling being one of my favs. Thanks for the review!