Written by: Lise Haines
Released: October 13, 2009 by Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books
Summary: It’s a fight to the death—on live TV—when a gladiator’s daughter steps into the arena
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.
First off, this was absolutely nothing like what I had pictured in my mind. Granted, I think that that would have been a little different had I of read the summary closer... but we all make mistakes. Nope, I was picturing a more historical, maybe steampunk, take on the entire gladiator aspect but instead it was modern and completely believable.
Really, I could picture this happening, especially with the obsession for the American Gladiators (was that what it was called?) and the thrill of blood-sports (like hockey). The writing was just so flawlessly engrained in modern day life that it wasn’t hard to believe that this was what was really happening in someone’s backyard and about to take-off into a more underground movement. Heck, for all I know there is an underground Gladiator’s league and I’m just completely out of the know.
Lyn was a great character who I found to be both strong and powerful. She was a character who cared deeply for her friends and family and who only thought of them. Like Thad, her little brother. Now, Thad is supposed to only be eight years old in the novel, unless I read that wrong (I did stay up all night reading this in one go), but he’s always described as being quite big, though a little mentally slow. Now, maybe it was my imagination and how I pictured the character or maybe it was the wording surrounding his descriptions, but it always seemed to me as though he were more like twelve or thirteen. Can anyone shed some light on this point for me? Still, I liked the Oracle bit with his character. It was not only great for foreshadowing major events within the book without spoiling them but it also gave a lot of intensity to the story.
Anyways, the love triangle between Lyn, Mark and Uber was one where I was hesitant to take a side. I don’t know, maybe the best friend types are always doomed, but by the end of the book, I would have married Uber had I the chance. He was just so gentle and caring, completely going against the gladiator stereotype. Mark just seemed a little too rash. I wish that there had been a little more to this – like a sequel – where you could find out what happens.
In the end, I’m giving this book a 9/10. I would highly recommend it if you’re looking for something different though not all full of the paranormal. It’s hard to classify this book other than YA and alternate universe, but nonetheless it’s great.