Thursday, January 21, 2010

Girl in the Arena

Title: Girl in the Arena
Author: Lise Haines
Genre: YA
Page Count: 324
Why I read it: book blogger recommended
Grade: C

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.

My review:
Wow, what a disappointment.  The premise of this book was so interesting, and I thought it would be kind of awesome.  There were so many things that could have been done better, and just about the only thing that was good was the idea for the story.

The first problem I had was that I felt disconnected from the whole story.  To me, there just wasn't a whole lot of emotion to it.  There wasn't any getting caught up in the action.  There was a whole lot of telling, but not very much showing.  I guess it was just vastly different from what I expected it to be.  And I'm also thinking a better title for this one would have been Girl NOT in the Arena.  I think the cover and blurb were a bit misleading.  In fact, it seems that if you've read the cover blurb, you have, in essence, read a shortened version of the story.

The second problem was the writing.  I hated the dashes instead of quotation marks.  I'm bothered when authors try to do something different in this way.  Make your story different--make it awesome, that's really all you need to do.  You don't need gimmicks.  There were also a lot of sentences that just made no sense.  I'd read them over and over a few times, and still couldn't figure out what it was really supposed to be saying.  Sometimes I felt like it was the author's attempt at being clever, but I just didn't get it.  Again, the disconnect.

All in all I wouldn't recommend this one.  I gave it a C grade because I didn't hate it, I just didn't really like it.  It was a very quick read, and it wasn't boring, it just didn't live up to it's potential.

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