Sunday, March 20, 2011

Girl in the Arena - Lise Haines

Published: Oct 2009
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Pages: 336
Copy obtained by: Purchased e-book
Summary: Goodreads


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.


I originally heard about this title when talk was spinning about The Hunger Games.  Many bloggers were comparing the two and not spitting out great reviews about Girl in the Arena.  Because of this I declined to read it although it does have a beautiful cover (and you know I'm a sucker for beautiful covers!)

In my humble opinion though, it should not be compared to The Hunger Games.  They are completely different on so many levels.  Girl in the Arena is more about an antiquated culture that was brought back into the modern world.  It's really interesting how separate Gladiator culture was from our regular modern day world and how some people shrank away from members of that society just because they lived by different rules.  It's similar to how some people stare at the Amish community.  Fear and curiousity brought about by the unknown.

Anyway, I digress.  Because of the rules of the Gladiator culture, Lyn must marry the man who killed her step-father.  When I first read this on the back cover, I thought she was treated more as a "prize" for killing but as the story reads, Uber was not the "murderer" she pegged him to be.  In fact, he was doing his job as a Gladiator and was incredibly remorseful. 

A couple things I should mention about this book.  Lyn as a character was not a sissy girl.  At one point during the story, she actually shaves her head.  (I guess if they pictured her like that on the cover, it wouldn't be so appealing).  She seemed to take responsibility for her life and sometimes had to act as a surrogate mother to her younger brother.  Her mother was very annoying throughout the book.  I'm sorry but she reminded me of a spoiled housewife that had never grown up out of high school and would rather be best friends with her kids than their parent.

I was surprised at the ending in this book but it left me with questions about their lives and the direction of their lives.  I enjoyed the novel as a whole but I would have liked to see a bit more info at the end.  Overall, if you are going to read this book, please don't listen to the chatter and compare it to the Hunger Games.  If you do, you'll be disappointed.  They are totally different...


  1. Oh I hate when books get compared to other books,when they are completely different. I admit,I saw this and immediately thought of the Hunger Games. I thought it was the book that had the essays about the hunger games. Great review, thanks for setting the record straight.

  2. Great review! I've been meaning to read this book for awhile.

    And I agree. I'm not a big fan of books being compared to other series even if they're series I love.

  3. I can see how some people easily compare the novel to The Hunger Games but the two really are different from each other in so many regards. Girl In The Arena was, in itself, an okay novel but I could never say I fell completely in love with it.

  4. Sounds like an interesting read.. I loved your review but, did you enjoy reading it?

  5. I did think it was interesting and kept me interested but like Midnight Bloom, I didn't completely fall in love with it. One of the things that I enjoyed about this book is that it made me think about this Gladiator society and how interesting it is to see a different society exist within our modern day rules.