Lydia's Reviews > Girl in the Arena

Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines
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did not like it
bookshelves: 2013, reviewed, no

Girl in the Arena really interested me at first. Gladiator fighting in an urban setting? Neat. But I was so, so disappointed and ended up struggling to finish this book.

Let's begin with the world building. Girl in the Arena takes place in an alternate world where basically everything is the same, only gladiator fighting is a thing. A big thing. Let's stop here. Why would millions of people watch two guys hacking away at each other (and one eventually being murdered) and be okay with it? Not sure. The book doesn't explain that. I don't know about you, but I really can't picture a "fight to the death" in the current world we live in.

I have no problem with a "fight to the death" kind of thing that takes place in an alternate world. What I DO have a problem with is how the author never made it believable. Not once did I think, "Yeah, okay, I can picture that." Not. Once. The entire premise of glad fighting and the fact that everyone was okay with it was just ridiculous to me. You can put whatever fantastical, crazy things in a book, but what makes a book GOOD is when it makes the reader believe that it's possible. This was not the case with Girl in the Arena. It's like the author didn't even try to make it seem believable.

Moving on from that mess. So this one guy (I forget his name) picks up Lyn's (the protagonist's) bracelet during a fight to the death with her latest step-dad. And for some random reason that was picked out of the air for the sole purpose of being a flimsily disguised plot device, Lyn now has to marry the dude that picked up her bracelet. Ick. This is not explained at all. It's literally just, He picked up my bracelet and now we're betrothed. What kind of idiot even THINKS about putting her bracelet in a place where it could get picked up by some guy? Lyn, apparently.

If I had a random bracelet that would cause me to be engaged to a guy if he touched it, you bet your butt I'd lock that thing up in a freaking bank vault. Or I'd hunt down Eddie Redmayne and throw said bracelet at him.

So Lyn is betrothed to this guy, kind of. The same guy who killed her favorite step-dad (she had seven). And for some reason that I'm not going to even begin to rationalize, she acts civil towards her step-dad's murderer. Now, I don't know about you, but if someone killed my dad and I was expected to get married to them, I would not be nice.
Every decision of Lyn's makes absolutely. no. sense.

Also, the constant pop culture references (Skype, Scarlet Johansson, etc) combined with the gladiator fighting didn't make me think of Girl in the Arena as probable. No. Instead, it took me out of the story even more.

And the TITLE! Get this: Lyn isn't even IN the arena. Like, at all until the very end when she walks out there for about two seconds and does nothing.

The only interesting character was Lyn's little brother who's a seer or something. And that's not explained, either. The only small, redeemable thing about this book was that one plot twist.

I should be given a medal for finishing this book.
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Reading Progress

January 23, 2013 – Shelved
Started Reading
March 13, 2013 – Shelved as: 2013
March 13, 2013 – Finished Reading
March 24, 2013 – Shelved as: reviewed
January 29, 2014 – Shelved as: no

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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Angela I felt EXACTLY the same as you about this book...


message 2: by Lucy (new)

Lucy I agree with you all accept for one thing… In a society where gladiator exist and they often fight to the death (for whatever reason society would let this happen) you have to understand death must be more accepted. In our lives death is one of the scariest things that can happen, but in a book where people fight to the death it is still terribly sad just not as rare to them, Also, the protagonist in her life knows her Dad is a gladiator. She knows that he might die and that he himself has killed people. It's not like this is unexpected, there was a high chance he was going to die and the man that killed him was doing the exact same thing as the father. If someone killed my father I would be furious, but I don't live in a society where murder is expected.


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