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(Arena #1)

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  1,357 ratings  ·  387 reviews
Every week, Kali Ling fights to the death on national TV. She's died hundreds of times. And it never gets easier...

The RAGE tournaments the Virtual Gaming League's elite competition where the best gamers in the world compete in a fight to the digital death. Every kill is broadcast to millions. Every player leads a life of ultimate fame, responsible only for entertaining th
Paperback, 400 pages
Published November 1st 2016 by Ace Books (first published April 5th 2016)
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Holly Jennings The sequel GAUNTLET will be released on April 4, 2017.
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Average rating 3.64  · 
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Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
The beginning of this book totally sucked for me. You have Kali Ling, who worked her way up in the virtual gaming leagues and now she is participating in the RAGE League. Which is the best of the gamers, gaming is now as big as the Superbowl. She and her team must look out to please their sponsors, keep their fans and that kinda stuff. (boring)
Kali is friends with benefits with one of her team members. The whole team parties so she thinks nothing about when he is dosing really heavy one night. (
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
I thought it was pretty good and I had a crush on Rooke. Don't judge me! Lol =) ...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Review first posted at Fantasy Literature:

In the year 2054, virtual gaming has become a major sport with a huge following, and the RAGE tournaments are the ultimate competition, a virtual fight to the death between two five-person teams. The death matches take place in a simple virtual world: a field of tall wheatgrass and two stone towers, one tower assigned to each team. The rules are simple ― kill everyone (in a virtual kind of way) on the opposing team ― but real-world strength and skills t
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
Actual rating: 1.5 stars. Because it's Christmas and I'm feeling uncharacteristically lenient today. Don't worry, it won't last.

Disclaimer: this book was NOT marketed as YA when it was released! Cross my black, withered heart, hope to die and all that crap! I did not go into this willingly! I was despicably misled!

Presenting…the Adjectives Only Crappy Non Review (AOCNR™)! Because qualifiers are as dear to me as my murderous babies, and I won't let them be shamelessly vilified as they have been i
Jan 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Twenty year old Kali Ling has finally achieved her lifelong dream of becoming a professional gamer in the Virtual Gaming League’s RAGE tournaments. The league has the best players in the world competing weekly in virtual reality tournaments, the weapons are digital but the pain is real for the players. They eat, sleep and breathe their training and workouts but after hours they are expected to go out and make the club scene to smile for the sponsors and cameras but the drugs are easy to come by ...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

As soon as I heard about Arena, I knew I had to read it – especially after finding out its premise and learning about how the idea was conceived. As a lifelong gamer, author Holly Jennings was inspired by eSports and its role in the future of video games, as well as the current issues making waves in the industry today. Needless to say, my own fascination and love for gaming naturally led me to her debut novel, but I was
Feb 24, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
So this is going to be one of those reviews that begins, “I really wanted to like this but …”

Arena, Holly Jennings’ 2016 novel about futuristic virtual gamer teams has some inspiration from Ready Player One with the gamer punk setting and there is also some cyberpunk references, but this is more Off to Be the Wizard than Neuromancer.

Actually its more teenage urban fantasy, dressed up like an adult SF thriller but it has some non-YA elements and actually some serious themes like addiction, mental
Jan 20, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to JAIME by: Ilona Andrews
I was certain that I wouldn't like this after the first four or five chapters - until I ended up getting sucked into the story.

Once past the somewhat convoluted opening, Arena turned into a pretty great story dealing with things like addiction, leadership and GAMING! Holly also touches on some of the real life pressures that pro athletes in all kinds of sports face, not limited to the stupidly easy access to drugs and alcohol, and loss of control.

I'm a ridiculous sports fan (seriously, check m
Guess this was his way of making amends...And honestly, a unique battle simulation wasn't a bad effort. Well, for a girl like me. Most boyfriends bought flowers or jewelry to apologize. Mine had given me an arena full of virtual opponents. A chance to test my fighting skills.

Kali Ling is a professional gamer who competes in one of the hottest eSports of the future. It is virtual tower defense game where players armed with melee weapons and grouped in teams of five simply try to kill off the opp
4.5 action-packed stars!


Hear ye hear ye, gamers, sci-fi readers, kick-ass heroine lovers, Sword Art Online fans - you're gonna want to read this gem.

In the year 2054, competitive gaming is the biggest sport in the world and pro-gamers are the celebrities.

After a tragedy strikes her team, Kali─the first female captain of a pro-gaming team─begins to lose herself in the spotlight and pressures of the RAGE tournament, a gladiator-like championship of the Virtual Gaming League. Millions of people
☼Book her,   Danno☼
No, no, no-no-no.

I'm afraid I am having to dnf this one after 100 pages. It's just too silly. Which is not to say that it's horrible. The story has features of interest, and I think that if I were a middle-grader I might find this a really interesting read, but frankly it's pretty much on the level of the second book in the Divergent series, which is where I abandoned Veronica Roth.

And now that I think of it, one of the reasons I abandoned Roth's series was because of her lamentable treatment
Taylor Knight
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book a lot more than I expected I would.
I loved the concept and the world building was really interesting. I love the idea of VR becoming such a massive "sport" and the whole book felt futuristic yet obtainable. With VR becoming more readily available, I can definitely see gaming jumping to a whole new level.
I really loved Kali and I though she was a very complex character. I really appreciated how the author included Kali's struggles with being a women in a man dominated
WTF Are You Reading?
Arena is sadly a case of one step forward, and far too many steps back to count. Things to love about this book.

The Asian-American, kick ass, female lead.

The lesbian, equally kick ass supporting duo, that get their fair share of the action both singularly, and as a couple.

The corporate manipulation that leaves one very wary of unseen puppet masters and their insidious machinations.

The things that make this book eligible for the Wonder Of Flight award. An honor bestowed on those select few rea
Where do I start?
Hmm... Well. It's not bad, it's not amazing but I'd say it was a decent book. I enjoyed the gaming, training, industry, fighting, and Taoist aspects but the major setback for me was the silly teen romance. It ruined the book for me with the main characters anger issues and how she was so over dramatic. I get the addictions were affecting her but it really turned me away whenever it just focused on "relationship" building between Rooke and Kali.
I would say if you're looking f
Ashley DiNorcia
Mar 31, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff
This book would have easily been a 4 if the beginning had been more engaging. Honestly, I thought about DNF'ing a few times but I really try not to DNF books I've been sent for review. I'm glad I stuck with it because the last 1/3 was really quite good, and now I will definitely be picking up the sequel.

I love esports and honestly I'm just glad to be getting more books about it.

Thanks to Ace Books/Penguin Random House for sending me a copy to review. All opinions are my own.
3.5 stars

My favorite parts of this book by far were those that involved virtual gaming. It's a nice extrapolation of current gaming/e-sports, and was really fun to think about. I would love a whole book just about that! I also liked how it showed the celebrity culture that went with the top teams - everything done is for the camera and the sponsors, and at the same time, people have to train hard!

There is also a whole message about drug abuse and addiction. I didn't enjoy that part as much, and
Apr 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars rounded up.
When I started this book, I had no idea what to expect. I didn't even remember signing up for the giveaway on Goodreads. I was very pleasantly surprised by this.

I lked this, but had to read the first chapter twice because it was easier to understand after I knew what was going on. In this we have two different settings. One is the real world, the other is a virtual reality. There is a lot of action in this, and the author write those scenes very well.

 Charlie - A Reading Machine
This was a solid sci-fi story, perfect for the YA audience that likes some gaming in their books. It's not all fighting to the death in a virtual arena though, I'd have been fine if it had, and much of the characters time is spent dealing with their love lives.
The Arena is a game called RAGE that's pretty much the most popular thing in the world. Kali Ling is one of the top players in the world but because she is a female in a mans world it's been a bit tougher for her to gain the recognition sh
Haley S
Aug 23, 2017 rated it did not like it
Well...I didn't really read this book. I couldn't finish it. Unfortunately, the language was so bad I just couldn't read on. And, I am okay with some occasional swear word is okay with me. But every/every other thank you.
But, because I am reviewing this book for a publishing company I have to do an official review, which will be coming tomorrow.

Official Review:
Okay, so unfortunately, I could not finish this book. In the first few pages, there were so many curse word
May 31, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi, 2016
After all the hype, including a buy-me-now blurb from Ilona Andrews (one of my auto-buy authors), ARENA just...wasn't good.

At best it read like an after-school special and at worst, as a repetitive story and full of stilted conversations. The concept of immersive gaming is fascinating, especially after enjoying the heck out of READY PLAYER ONE but the execution here was incredibly lacking.

I honestly didn't care about any of the characters, despite their complex and myriad problems. What I did
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My Thoughts - 5 out of 5 Unicorns - I loved it!!!
***I choose what I read and review based on what intrigues me!! Yes, I got a review copy of this book, but no one tells me what to think, feel, or write about any book!

The cover is what attracted me to this book, but the description is what compelled me to want to read it! There are two covers, but this one is my first and favorite one!

I requested this book because it intrigued me, but then I was distracted by life, school, and other books. I’m s
Unfortunately, this book didn't capture me like I thought it was going to. I didn't hate this book by any means. I liked it, but it wasn't as awesome as I though it would be.

The first couple of pages of this book were really exciting. I was extremely intrigued and I loved the action. However, after that, the beginning portion of this book was really slow. There was some sex, drugs, and drama that honestly bored me. Most of the drama consisted of the team's desired "image" and how they keep the
** This book is one I requested and was sent for free from the publisher but that in no way affects my review or thoughts **

I picked this one up after reading the description of this book becuase I thought that this could be the next Ready Player One but focused on female gamers. That sounded like a great thing to me, and I have to say I wanted to see some girl-power gamers being represented. This book definitely started out out super strong in that way. We have a young warrior female, Kali, who
Dark Faerie Tales
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: Virtual gaming as a professional sport set the intensity and action of this novel but I really struggled with the main character at first.

Opening Sentence: This wouldn’t be the first time I died.

The Review:

Arena is set in the year 2054. Virtual gaming is now a competitive, professional sport as popular as the Super Bowl. I really enjoyed the opening to this novel, it reminded me a bit of Sword Art Online until the consequences of this world is f
Alexandria  Ang
Based on previous experience with books about virtual reality, I was quick to reach out to ACE publishing to request this stunning debut. And in short, this book did nothing but impress me. Arena brought the best of Ready Player One's thrilling and action-packed fight scenes and the snarky romance of any well-written New Adult contemporary.

Arena takes place in a society where virtual gaming has dominated and has become a well-recognized trend. Among the many virtual reality games, there are the
Stephanie Tiner
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
With the amazing advancements made in virtual reality, gaming has become a sport all its own. Kali Ling has been a gamer her entire life. Now she is the first female team captain in the Virtual Gaming League’s RAGE tournaments. Every week, Kali and her team fight to the death in the Virtual world on National television.
Though the fights are digital, every player feels the pain of their death. Kali is at the top of the virtual world, until one of her teammates dies of an overdose and leaves her t
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
What I liked:
1. I am in total awe of the world that Jennings has created. Not only is it completely realistic, it is something that could very well happen in our near future. Virtual Reality gaming is huge right now and I can definitely see our world taking this kind of turn with gaming.

2. I loved how the author left no holes in her plot. She even went as far as explaining how sports athletes failed to work in VRG and I really loved how she changed the face of a gamers. When you think of gamers
Oct 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Thank goodness Arena made a comeback!

My timeline of thoughts was pretty much:

- Oohh, cool.
- Mmhmm..
- Ugh, drugs.
- Maybe I'll DNF.
- Okay she's coming to her senses.
- Fuck yes, awesome.
- Too far.
- Hmm, okay awesome.

Arena was a super cool idea and I loooved the whole gamer/gladiator concept. It's like two of my greatest loves mated to become super great love. #weird

But then there was this whole drinking/partying/crazy drug scene that I honestly wish was cut from the book. I g
A cool idea but not a lot of depth. I did like a couple of things, but overall, it just didn't engage me. Also, it's definitely more New Adult than Young Adult, due to language and some other stuff, but it's got a YA tone.

Kali was the only one who seemed upset about Nathan's death, even though the team had been training together for a while. And for a few chapters, it didn't even seem as if Kali cared. The way addiction was addressed felt pretty unrealistic. Good luck kicking a habit when it's y
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Holly Jennings is a self-proclaimed nerd and lover of all things geeky and weird. As the firstborn to a sports enthusiast, it was soon discovered that the only games she'd ever learn to master involved consoles and controllers. Her childhood was spent crushing virtual foes, racing on simulated tracks, and rescuing digital princesses. As a young adult, she fell in love with English class, speculati ...more

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Arena (2 books)
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