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  • Writer's pictureSofiya Pasternack

Review: Arena

Title: Arena Author: Holly Jennings Genre: Science Fiction Series: Team Defiance #1

Blurb The RAGE tournaments–the Virtual Gaming League’s elite competition where the best gamers in the world face off 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 the masses.

And though their weapons and armor are digital, the pain is real.

Chosen to be the first female captain in RAGE tournament history, Kali Ling is at the top of the world–until one of her teammates overdoses. Now she’s stuck trying to work with a hostile new teammate who’s far more distracting than he should be.

Between internal tensions and external pressures, Kali is on the brink of breaking. To change her life, she’ll need to change the game. And the only way to revolutionize an industry as shadowy as the VGL is to fight from the inside…

What I Liked If you are familiar with MMORPGs or FPSs at all, you’re going to immediately relate to this book. If you have no idea what a “muhmorpug” is, it might take you a minute to get into things. As a veteran World of Warcraft MMORPG (that’s Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) player, the VGL RAGE tournament immediately reminded me of PvP and arena matches.

What I Would Have Liked to See Less mentions about how pretty Rooke (the new guy) was. For a while, it seemed like Kali’s only thoughts were about Rooke being handsome and annoying.

My Favorite! Rooke wasn’t just some hot guy to parade around the team’s space. His contributions–physical, mental, and metaphysical–made it possible for Team Defiance to become a team again, and when he made sounds with his mouth, he could even be funny sometimes. And he provided the key to getting the team to ultimately work together.

TL;DR I definitely recommend this book for anyone who has ever enjoyed a video game, or who loves totally sweet battle scenes, or who enjoys strong* lady protagonists.

*I mean actually strong. Kali is a compelling character who is physically powerful but who has human flaws and shortcomings, and who operates independently as a character.


FTC disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review! All opinions are my own.


meet sofiya!

Sofiya Pasternack is a mental health professional, the highly-distractible author of Jewish MG and YA fantasy, and prone to oversharing gross medical stories.

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