Diane's Reviews > ARENA

ARENA by Karen Hancock
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's review
Aug 24, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: science-fiction, kindle, favorites, christian-fiction, read-in-2011
Read in August, 2011

Harrowing adventure, mystery, and loads of fast-paced action – I could not put this book down! At least for the first half, I couldn’t.

The premise is that a young woman agrees to participate in a psychology experiment. She becomes alarmed during the screening and tries to back out, but is not allowed to. Instead she finds herself thrown into a matrix-like “arena” where she must find the exit back to the real world.

But the arena is huge, a world of its own, filled with predatory bio-forms, almost-human-looking figures that stalk her movement, and occasional holograms. The road she has been told to follow forks and then forks again, and at times will disappear, while the instruction manual she has been given is mostly gibberish. To survive, she joins a group made up of others like herself, some of whom have been trapped in this strange arena for years, and she learns how to shoot and take cover.

However, about halfway through the book, the author brings the characters into a temporary place of safety, and reveals the mystery of the arena. The fast-paced action suddenly slows to a crawl, and things move slowly for a few chapters. When the action finally picks up again, the story is less compelling as much of the mystery is gone, but it is still an exciting ride to the end.

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