Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines

Girl in the Arena
Lise Haines

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...

For fans of The Hunger Games and Fight Club, Lise Haines’ debut novel is a mesmerizing look at a world addicted to violence—a modern world that’s disturbingly easy to imagine.

I went in this expecting something like The Hunger Games. It's suggested in the summary, but just the whole feel of the book screamed it. So, I went for it. But I was let down.

The first half of the book is just Lyn struggling to understand losing her father and the fact that now they'll lose everything. She helps take care of Thad and keeps her mother stable. She makes everyone believe she's really considering marriage. She even develops feelings for Uber (yes, the gladiator's name is UBER). The idea of her fighting doesn't really come in until the second half of the book. She doesn't step INTO the arena until the last 20 or so pages. Kind of defeats the purpose of the book.

The world itself wasn't explained much though. The whole idea of gladiator's wives and the very proper way they had to live came through VERY well. But the history and the other rules and the actual fighting itself were very breezed over. I found myself pretty confused as to whether we were in modern times or the future or if it was a dystopian...I'm still not 100% sure.

I did like the characters though. Lyn was very strong and her protectiveness of Thad made me think of my own little brother. Thad was adorable and Uber was adorKable. Lyn's friend Mark was pretty awesome too. Her mom was kind of flighty, but I didn't dislike her either.

I will also give Lise the credit for some awesome plot twists. There were two big ones that kicked in the last third of the book that totally threw me. One I didn't call until about a page before it happened, the other I had NO clue about.

This was another case of a wrongly advertised book. The title and the plot give it a TOTALLY different feel and if it'd been given ones more appropriate to the book, I probably wouldn't have picked it up at all. But it was somewhat enjoyable, especially towards the end.



  1. I've heard really mixed reviews on this one, so I don't think I'll read it, but great honest review! :)

  2. I have read some reviews about this one and they all said that the cover was very misleading. It's probably one of the reasons why I haven't picked this one up. The cover is just too good. :) Great and honest review!

  3. I sort of hated this book. That sounds awful, but I thought it was just so boring. The marketing made it sound so interesting, and like you said, very HUNGER GAMES-esque. Definitely wasn't. I should have gotten this one from the library instead of buying it.

  4. I must be in the minority that really enjoyed this one. Sorry you didn't. :)



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