Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Review: Girl in the Arena

Title: Girl in the Arena
Author: Lise Haines
Published: 2009 by Bloomsbury
Obtained: Library
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...

I’m not going to lie. I really enjoyed this book.

Anyone who has read The Hunger Games will think the author of this book is being a copycat. Well, she might be. But this book is very interesting to me in it’s own way. (I would totally read it again) And anyone who knows me knows I am a massive Hunger Games fan, so I can make a correct comparison.

So the story goes, Lyn has had seven fathers because her mother has remarried six times, the max times a gladiator wife can remarry. Their culture is strange and fascinating. While the story takes place in today’s setting (with a bit better technology), the gladiator concepts of life and their rules seem older. Okay so Lyn is kind of a pacifist, she doesn’t like the glad lifestyle and doesn’t want to go to school and be a glad wife.

Complications arise when a young gladiator kills Tommy, Lyn’s seventh father. Lyn had given Tommy her dowry bracelet (the bracelet that only your father and the man you are to be married to can touch) to wear for good luck, but when Uber (the young gladiator who has a funny name when it’s said out loud…) picks it up that means she has to marry him or her family loses everything.

So, the reason so many people think this book is just some lame rip-off of The Hunger Games, is because the synopsis of the book makes it sound exactly like it. She has to fight a guy who she might like and so this is conflicting and such. Yeah. WELL, it’s actually a bit different than that. Most of the book is Lyn dealing with family problems (her mother is strange and her brother has mental health issues) and trying to decide what to do about her situation. The actual fight between Lyn and Uber is really in the second to last chapter or something and isn’t a major part of the whole book.

Uber was adorable. He was just so cute and endearing. He actually did like Lyn who might have liked him more if he hadn’t killed her favorite of her fathers. It was really fascinating to see their story develop underneath the mess of glad pressures and family problems. They went on a date and he came over a lot, and I was just happy when he was in the scene.
I didn’t really like her friend that much. Just sayin’.

So bottom line, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes The Hunger Games or likes dystopians (this isn’t your best for that, but it fits in the category sort of).
I really want a sequel. It ended with a maybe.

Rating: 9/10

Content Warnings: Mild language and violence (obviously…)

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