My name is Kimberly and I'm the reader/reviewer behind Wit and Sin. Wit and Sin is a website that provides honest reviews and publicity. I primarily read and review Romance titles, but I also review Urban Fantasy, New Adult, Young Adult, Mystery, and Non-Fiction titles. In addition to Wit and Sin, I am a reviewer for Joyfully Reviewed (pen name: Shayna) and Romance Junkies (pen name: Lily).
Arena is a thrilling, high-octane read that will appeal to gamers and non-gamers alike. Holly Jennings’s debut is like an excellent popcorn flick – blockbuster action, cool characters, a hint of romance, and a story that will keep you glued to your seat.
In the near future, virtual gaming has been taken to a whole new level. Pro gamers are like athletes, complete with all the perks and problems that come with fame and fandom. Kali Ling has loved gaming all her life, and even among her teammates is known as the “warrior.” Kali has worked her butt off to go pro, and at twenty has become the first female captain in RAGE tournament history. But when one of her teammates dies, Kali begins to realize she’s losing her grip on reality. The lines between what’s real and what isn’t, what’s image and what’s truth, are blurring, and unless she does something, she’ll lose herself forever.
I absolutely loved Kali. She’s got a strong voice, a sometimes ruthless personality, and her dedication to the game and her teammates is absolute. Yet Kali isn’t invulnerable, and it was fascinating to watch her struggle to overcome the obstacles – many of which she has created for herself – in front of her. As Kali realizes her problems with addiction, she begins to peel back the layers of the world around her. Helping Kali is her new teammate Rooke, an enigmatic warrior with secrets of his own. Rooke, along with Kali’s other teammates Derek, Hannah, and Lily, are an interesting and diverse group. The dynamic of the team is one of the things I liked best about the story. The banter between them and the way they grow, work, and bond as a team balanced out the book’s action sequences perfectly. I also love that Ms. Jennings seamlessly worked Kali’s Chinese-American heritage and the teachings of Taoism into the book. Ms. Jennings truly made this a well-balanced story.
I’ve seen this book compared to Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One and Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, but having never read the former and with only a passing familiarity with the latter, I can’t honestly say how Arena compares. Taken on its own, Arena is tons of fun to read and the world Ms. Jennings has created has so much possibility that I can’t wait for the sequel!
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.