Saturday, December 26, 2009

Book Inspection: Girl In The Arena by Lise Haines

Plot Sketch: Lyn is the daughter of seven gladiators. What the heck does that mean? Her mother, Allison, married this guy Frank. He was part of the Gladiator Sports Association (GSA) when it first started out, when it was still underground. They found his body by the cemetery. A couple of weeks later, a couple of representatives from the primitive GSA came to give Allison some money and offer to help her get through the loss. Mouse, Lyn's second father, was one of them. Then GSA got legalized, and it blew up. Allison was a model Glad Wife who knew all of the rules and bylaws that the family had to live by. Including the one that says that a Glad Wife can only marry seven times, and then she's done. Finito. So basically, the story starts with Lyn's seventh father, Tommy, going up against a glad named Uber, and Lyn offering Tommy her dowry bracelet as a token during the fight. Oh and did I mention that dowry bracelets can only be touched by your father? If some other male touches yours, you have to marry him. So, Tommy loses Lyn's in the fight, and Lyn has to find a way to get out of marrying Uber. That's what the book revolves around.

Verdict: No Love. I wanted to like this book, I really really wanted to like this book. If you'll recall, I asked Santa for this book in my Dear Santa letter! This was one of those books that I finished at 1 in the morning and then got so fired up and pissed off about that I had to get out of bed and tell Monster (who was still up playing Star Ocean) all about the plot and how stupid and ridiculous the whole thing was. I haven't vented about a book this vehemently in a long, long time. For starters, Lyn shaved her head, and the girl on the cover who is obviously supposed to be Lyn had long flowing hair. WTF. Secondly, the book is titled GIRL IN THE ARENA. Dude, Lyn is in the Arena for like 20 pages. I thought I was going to read a book about this kick-@ss girl who tore up the women's gladiatorial circuit or something. Wrong. Additionally, I didn't follow most of the logic in the book. I can't go into much detail without spoiling it for you, so I won't, but let me just say this: D-U-M-B. I feel like I wasted my time. And I feel even worse about it because I was so excited for it.

The Gauntlet:

At what location does most of the story take place?
Boston area in an alternate version of reality where Neo-Gladiators are present and killing each other for sport.

What is the main character's name?
Lyn G.

Does I Heart Monster like the main character?
While I want to like her, I don't respect her or most of her decisions. I can't get my head around the logic behind most of her decisions and I guess that makes her a rather shallow character to me.

How long did it take I Heart Monster to finish the book?
actual reading time: about 7 hours otherwise about a week - it is the holidays after all!

Did I Heart Monster get stuck at any points in the book? If so, why?

Is this a good read for Monster?
There's no way he'll read it after my synopsis and smashing of it to him. No way at all.

What, if anything, would I Heart Monster change to make the book more interesting?
I would have liked to have seen the climax more detailed. It felt rushed. And I would have liked to have seen more characters that were relatable. This is supposed to be an alternate version of reality and I kept thinking that no one I know would act or react the way these characters did. Maybe it was supposed to be their circumstance that made them do the things they did, but I can't imagine making the decisions they did if I were in their shoes. Picture me reading the book and shouting, "Stupid!" "Ugggggh." and then shaking my head. Yeah, it was pretty much like that. I just hoped it would be worth it. I hoped wrong.

What was I Heart Monster's favorite line?
I'm the most famous person you'll ever meet.

How many chapters were in the book?


Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Publish Date: October 13, 2009
ISBN-10: 1599903725

Acquire It:


**sorry the cover picture is so small! I couldn't find a larger one.**


celi.a said...

I got really excited for this one too, and then ended up putting it down about 30 pages in. It just didn't work for me. I loved the premise when I read the blurb... what went wrong?

I Heart Monster said...

Celi.a, soooo many things went wrong. SO many. I wish I could detail them out in the Inspection, but I don't want to spoil it for anyone who has it on their shelf. After I wrote the review (which I thought would calm me down), my mind was still reeling even after I vented some more to Monster and I'm pretty sure I dreamed about what was wrong with the story. Oh geez. It's haunting me.

Kate said...

I am really disappointed that you did not like this. This book has been on my want list for a very long time and now I am reconsidering it. I think I will have to see if I can get it from the library now instead of buying it. Thanks for the inspection.

NotNessie said...

So sad... I have really been wanting to like this book too.