Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Speculative Fiction - Alternate Reality
Edition: Hardcover; Library
Page Count: 324
Pub. Date: October 13, 2009
Reading Challenge: Young Adult, Local Library, Speculative Fiction
My Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)
Amazon.com: 3.5 stars
Goodreads: 3.15 (Average)
Recommended For: Fans of dystopian novels. YA readers.
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...
Girl in the Arena was mostly girl, without the arena. I have to be honest, the initial summary really grabbed my attention. Neo-Gladiators? In an alternate reality resembling contemporary times? Count me in!
But what it surprisingly lacked, was, in fact, gladiators and the action that came with the word - or at least what I was expecting. An intriguing story from the standpoint that the world Lise Haines created is truly bewildering with the super-advanced technology and twisted idea of entertainment (makes you wonder if something along these lines isn't too far off...) but most of the action that I was expecting was packed in towards the end.
Girl in the Arena is primarily about a girl whose life was always a gamble. Lyn never really had a choice in where her life was going and finally had enough of it. Always having to follow the rules laid out by the GSA (Gladiator Sports Association) because of a contract her mother signed to be a gladiator's wife. A future she too was destined to follow. But that wasn't the kind of future Lyn wanted. She wants to take back what is hers and live a life under her own terms. And that means fighting the man who murdered her father. The man she is required by law to marry.
There were a few anecdotes tossed in that contributed to the story on an emotional level, such as Lyn's struggle to be her own woman and keep her family together. That in itself conveys a strong message, but there was not much else. And it was a bit disappointing.
Overall consensus: Girl In The Arena started off well, continued in a mediocre stupor, and ended with a tiny bang. My complaints are few, in all honesty. A little on the slow side and the format was a bit confusing and choppy at times, but if you don't mind a fairly steady read with little action and some tension here and there, then this is just what you're looking for.