Do You Like Gaming? This Book is for You!

ArenaArena by Holly Jennings
Series: Arena #1
Published by: Ace Books on April 5, 2016
Genre: Action, Gaming, Science Fiction, Virtual Reality
Pages: 400
Source: NetGalley
Book Details
Rating: ★★★★

Every week, Kali Ling fights to the death on national TV. She s died hundreds of times. And it never gets easier...

The RAGE tournaments the Virtual Gaming League s elite competition where the best gamers in the world compete 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.

Thank goodness Arena made a comeback!

My timeline of thoughts was pretty much:

  • Oohh, cool.
  • Mmhmm..
  • Ugh, drugs.
  • Maybe I’ll DNF.
  • Okay she’s coming to her senses.
  • Fuck yes, awesome.
  • Too far.
  • Hmm, okay awesome.

I was so close to putting Arena down, but then the book got its shit together and I ended up loving it!

I adored the whole gamer/gladiator concept. It’s like two of my greatest loves mated to become super great love. #weird

But the drugs.. ughhh

There was this whole drinking/partying/crazy drug scene that I honestly wish was cut from the book. I get that it was semi necessary for the main character’s development, but ughh.. I hated it. I was so close to quitting the book because of it. If it weren’t for the MC’s spiral into chaos and insanely annoying drug issues, I think I could have given this five stars.

The gaming was fab though!

Luckily that phase ends and then it 100% focuses on the gaming, which was so.awesome. Then there’s this romance, which was equally awesome.

For a while I felt like the MC overdid it with some philosophical, deep thought stuff, but whatever. I kind of tried to ignore it.

Solidly entertaining

I had some issues with the details of this book, but those issues aside, Arena was solidly entertaining (except.. you know.. the part I hated). Particularly at the end—I was on the edge of my seat and pretty sure I started sweating in anticipation. I think my knuckles turned white from how tightly I was gripping my kindle.

I’m not sure yet if I’ll check out the second book though. I quite like the idea of this being a standalone. But we’ll see..

The Verdict


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I'm a 30-something California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). My three great passions are: books, coding, and fitness. more »

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  1. I’ve never heard of this book but I saw your post title and clicked. It sounds intriguing! It kind of reminds me of that one movie that I believe is called Gamer. Have you seen it?

    Also, how do you get the optional “rate this book” at the bottom! I love that!!

    1. OMG yes! What an awesome comparison! I have seen Gamer. It’s been a while, but I remember liking it. 🙂

      The rating feature is something I custom coded. I’ve been meaning to turn it into a plugin for ages, I just haven’t gotten around to it – hah.

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