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The Challenger

(Contender #2)

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  389 ratings  ·  55 reviews
The stakes are higher than ever in The Challenger, the second book in the Contender YA trilogy by the New York Times bestselling author of the Summoner series, Taran Matharu.

The first battle is over, but the Game is just beginning...

Cade Carter and his friends have survived the qualifying round of the mysterious overlords' twisted games, decimated by the loss of so many of
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published August 11th 2020 by Feiwel & Friends
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Average rating 4.32  · 
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Adah Udechukwu
Aug 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Challenger is a fast-paced and awesome sequel.
Jun 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fierce battles to the death for entertainment, teens forced to kill or be killed and it all takes place on a strange new world where monsters really do live and survival is paramount. THE CHALLENGER by Taran Matharu continues his Contender Trilogy and book two shines like a beacon of Young Adult fantasy reading as Cade and his group must face both the loss of their friends and an impending battle designed to leave no survivors.

Taran Matharu is back and he has once again nailed action, adventure,
✨Brithanie Faith✨
Jul 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
5/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

As much as I loved book one in the Contender trilogy, book two was even better- and that's not something that I get to say often! You're not being lied to when people say that the stakes are higher in The Challenger!

You can expect to see more character development in this one- as well as the introduction to some exciting new characters, the exploration of the world that this story takes place in, and the prehistoric
Jenny (Bookbookowl)
Thank you so much to Hachette Australia for sending me a copy of Contender: The Challenger, in exchange for an honest review!

***As The Challenger is book 2 in the series, there may be spoilers for book 1, The Chosen, in my review!***

There are some things I am all the way there for in books, and prehistoric creatures is firmly in that box.  I really enjoyed the first book, The Chosen, but I absolutely LOVED The Challenger! I think I said it before in my review of the first book, but an author who
Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star
Thank you for MacMillan the free arc via edelweiss. I really enjoyed this book. Think of a cross between The Hunger Games and The Maze. There were so many distractions in the book I did not think we were really going to get to the main objective, but we did. Excited to see what happens next as I am not ready for this to end. Not much romance but surprisingly I did not care. That tells me how engaging the story is.
May 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received an advanced digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Challenger is the second book in Matharu's The Contender series and it does not disappoint. Cade finds his precarious situation quickly becoming even more tenuous, The challenges the characters face become even more complex and deadly with increasingly higher stakes. The characters themselves continue to evolve and mature, in an impressively realistic manner. The ever evolving relationships betwe
Fredrick Danysh
A gripping tale of a band of teenagers from different eras and countries forced to fight monsters in alternative universe. The prize is the fate of earth itself. Throw in gladiators and slavers and you have an interesting read despite a few typos. This was a free review copy through
Anais (atrailofpages)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, fanstasy-fun
Get ready for more action, thrilling entertainment and a return to this strange, wonderful world.
Monsters and survival is paramount for Cade and his group. They will encounter loss and so much more. There is a lot going on in this book and it has much to offer. There are times will it will seem predictable, but overall it is a great addition to this trology
Aug 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didnt love this as much as the first one. I think it struggled a bit being the middle book. The characters were still good and some of the new ones were amazing but the plot was a bit messy and too much time spent in one area and not enough in others. Also that ending was a massive cliffhanger!
Beth Mendelsohn
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley-arc-s
Thank you to NetGalley and McMillan Children’s Publishing Group for this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

I was sooo excited to see this sequel pop up on NetGalley! I really enjoyed the first book. The Challenger picks up shortly after the events of The Chosen. Cade and his friends have just survived their battle when Abaddon, their keeper, informs them that there is more to come. It is a competition among the immortal beings using the intelligent life forms from v
Aug 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Look. Of all the books? This is one where the MC (Cade) should not have ever asked or thought- "What fresh horror could they have prepared?"

But he did. And I screamed- NO DON'T ASK THAT. And Taran Matharu cackled. And I thought... DAMN IT, CADE.

link: Full Review at Novel Lives

Karen Barber
May 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Talk about leaving you hanging! A frustrating (yet fitting) end to a cracking story.
Picking up not long after the events of Book One, Cade learns that he is to act as the representative in a much bigger battle. It’s a threat he is ill-equipped to deal with, so the priority for the group at the start is to find armour.
Unfortunately, while searching for what they need the group are taken by slavers. Cade has to barter for his freedom - resulting in them being forced to participate in the emperor’s
Paige Green
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from netgalley. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: The Challenger

Author: Taran Matharu

Book Series: Contender book 2

Diversity: Middle Eastern main character and deaf/hard of hearing side character

Rating: 5/5

Recommended For...: Adventure, male lead, History facts

Publication Date: August 11, 2020

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Pages: 400

Recommended Age: 16+ (slavery tw, death, violence, gore)

Synopsis: Cade Carter and his friends have survived the qualifying round of
Dec 01, 2020 rated it liked it
* * *
3 / 5

Eh. It was okay. I think my main problem with this is series is that the concept is just ... weird? Weird alien god type things pitting different worlds against each other where the god thing for Earth just plucks people out from different timelines and just, I don't know, leaves them? It weirdly reminds me of the Maze Runner in that it just doesn't really make any sense??

The main redeeming feature of this book for me is that I LOVE a good gladiator setting with absurd epic battles i
Lauren loves llamas
Aug 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Content warnings: (view spoiler)

This series is straight-forward history-geek action adventure, and I am all here for it. This is the second book in a series, and I wouldn’t recommend reading it before the first.

Still grieving the deaths of his friends in the last battle, Cade and the other teens on the planet Acies have been given even worse news. Cade’s been chosen to battle one-on-one with another world’s conten
Aug 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
4/5 stars

While the series still does not live up to the love I had for Matharu's other series, I found this book much more enjoyable. The plot started much sooner and the cast of characters was kept limited, which made me somewhat attached to them. Not an awful lot, but more so. I wished that the plot had taken a slightly different turn since the goal now felt like the means to an end. The second challenge the kids had to face was only a minor part of the story, yet it starts the book and it end
Oct 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing

I have always loved Taran matharu’s books. This series was the second on my list because it has our history in it. The polish Kings armor, the spoken Latin (which isn’t a language anymore but some speak it through Europe. Even in our schools), the girls are from Europe anyhow. How the pirates slash slavers found out that Cade and his friends are 21st moderns. New Rome is Rome from Italy with their coliseum of death.
I love the weapons they used in the games. Old time weapons are cool and neat. T
Taran Matharu's back with the second book of his second trilogy - well, that's a bit misleading since Summoner has a full-length prequel and all, and who knows if he'll follow up this series with a prequel novel as well? For now, though, we're continuing to explore, through Cade's eyes, the mysterious world on which he and his schoolmates, and a few 80s girls, and a few Roman legionnaires, find themselves stuck, now facing some major new threats - most memorable among them, Caesarion, son of Jul ...more
Joe Boenzi
Oct 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In this second volume of the trilogy "Contender", author Taran Matharu re-presents the teens and young adults that fought against almost impossible odds to survive in the first volume of the trilogy. The main character is Cade, whom we met at the beginning of the story: a teen who was neglected and abused as a child, somehow framed for an impossible theft at his school and sent to a reform school where he endures more abuse. But Cade has an acute sense of justice. He learns to defend those whom ...more
Kaine Michaels
Mar 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I think that, even now, Matharu's writing continues to surprise and amaze me. This book was a really quick read without seeming to be rushed or have any left-out details. I did start it sometime between October-November of 2020 and then I had to take aa break and re-started it and finished it today. It is a really good balance of heavy themes with instances of humor, love, and hope shining through. I really appreciate how the romance is not overplayed or pushed onto the reader; as many books can ...more
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hodder, a2, a3e, 2020e, 2020arc
Trapped on an alien world, Cade and his friends have been waiting for the next round of the life or death Contest to begin. When they leave their safe haven to train for it, their paths diverge wildly...

I'll be honest; I went into this expecting more of what we had in the first book. I'd have been perfectly happy with that! It was good, exciting fun. This one has a completely different type of story line and adds several layers to what's going on, though.

I still think these are a shade below Tar
Amanda Bartoszek
Oh my word, I just devoured this book in a couple of days. I was totally engrossed from beginning to end.

Reading these books, you can see just how much research Taran Matharu has put into this. There is so much knowledge of so many eras, primarily with the dinosaurs and the Roman era, but he has put so much work into all of it.

As for the story itself, it is gripping and well-paced. There is not a moment when nothing is happening, and yet it's paced enough that you just catch your breath before y
Victoria Alyesa
Like the first it was a good story and an interesting concept that was developed even further, but although alot happened...I felt like it was not even half the way there. It felt like a quarter of a book. If it had been classed as a middle grae book I would have said different; the plotline and where it went is perfect for this age to read in one book. As a young adult book....I was losing depth, and I swear that scene with in the arena (not enough to be a spoiler) is exactly the same as anothe ...more
Aug 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Challenger is the fast-paced, action-packed sequel to The Chosen.

Dinosaurs. Gladiators. Aliens. What's not to love?

The Challenger begins shortly after where The Chosen left off. With a few less contenders to fight for Earth's survival, Cade and the remainder of his group are healing and recuperating, but the clock is ticking. They are feeling the urgency to start planning for the next battle. With few supplies, they need to search for more remnants to gear up, but Abaddon has other plans in
Craig Harrison
Nov 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
#spoiler free review.

Review copy of the book read, many thanks -Hodder and Stoughton!

I wasn't sure what to expect when I started with this series - teens transported to a different world or life with a survival aspect is pretty common place and it's nice to see Taran Matharu stand apart.

The Challenger is fast paced, interesting and has it's own unique twist on battle royale. There are a couple of eyebrow-raising moments which detract a little from the overall feel, but it flows well and the char
Mar 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Notes: I finished reading this book in less than twenty four hours and I'm writing this review at 5 in the morning after staying up all night long reading it so that should give a hint as to how much I enjoyed reading it. The story extremely progressed in the second installment of this series and I thought that it was a bit better paced than the first one which could be slightly slow at times. Cade underwent an extreme transformation which only kept improving his actions. I could tell that the w ...more
curtis :)
Sep 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn’t enjoy this quite as much as the first book, since it felt a little rushed - the writing felt a little... stilted? and the story didn’t progress as much as I’d have liked it to (and the ending also felt pretty rushed), and I preferred the dual timeline in book 1, with Cade talking about his time spent in Reform School interspersed with the main storyline, but I am definitely loving reading more about this world and these characters, and I cannot wait for the next instalment in this serie ...more
Oct 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Taran Matharu has put in so much work into his books and it shows. All of the historical data is so expertly mixed with the narrative being told. I am glad to have picked up his books because this novel is quite the ride.

I went into this expecting one thing and was completely caught off guard by where the story the best possible way. I am quite eager to see where how this series will end and I enjoy the history/sci-fi mixture which isn’t something I normally read.

Taran Matharu is quite
Nov 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Taran Matharu is the New York Times bestselling author of the Summoner series, which has been translated into 15 languages and has sold over a million copies in English. He was born in London in 1990.

Taran began to write the SUMMONER series in November 2013 at the age of 22, taking part in ‘Nanowrimo 2013’ and sharing his work on The shared sample of the story went viral, reaching ove

Other books in the series

Contender (3 books)
  • The Chosen (Contender #1)
  • The Champion (Contender, #3)

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