Friday, September 18, 2009

Review GIRL IN THE ARENA by Lise Haines

Girl in the Arena
by 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. (goodreads)

Placement on Shelf:
Reaching new heights

I was really quite surprised by how much I liked this book. It sounded interesting, but I was afraid it was just going to be gory and awful. But I ended up really liking it. It is quite a commentary on our society's obsession with violence, and where that could lead. It is set as though it is modern day, and that this "Glad sport" started during the Vietnam war and then just expanded. It is a haunting story, Lyn is a bold and tortured narrator, and the story kept taking me places I was shocked to have gone to. The writing was surprisingly beautiful.

Overall, I recommend this book to older teens (high school age or above) and adults.

I would almost have to go with R for violence (if it were made into a movie, or if you picture it in your head. But the writing is so beautiful that even though it's graphic it wasn't as disturbing as I expected it to be). I would still say it's okay for a mature teenage reader. It's not over the top, especially considering what the storyline is about - Gladiators that fight to the death. There is some language, disturbing scenes and violence (of course).

I also wonder if there are going to be any more books with these characters. It resolves to a degree, enough that I'm okay if there aren't. However, there are quite a few questions that are left unanswered.


Aubrey (AKA Stacey) said...

Thanks for the review Sara! This is definitely one I need to read. It was marketed as "for fans of Hunger Games and Fight Club". Although I can't say I loved Fight Club, I did love Hunger Games! And the concept made me curious.

Jena said...

I have had my eyes on this book for awhile now, I can't wait to read it!

Ratliffs said...

The first thing I thought of when I started reading your description was Hunger Games! I think this will be an interesting read! Thanks!

C.R. Evers said...

great review. Sounds like a book I could get into!