Saturday, November 28, 2009

Girl in the Arena by Lisa Haines
*acquired from the local library*

What if bloodsports were legal?
What if Roman gladiators still existed and were a major part of our society?

These are two questions that popped in my mind right away when I began to read this book. This book takes place in modern times except that gladiator fighting has still continued to press on. Yes, this would be classified as another steam-punk novel. Yes, I am about done with my educational dissertation on what exactly a "steam-punk" novel is and what it contains.

The main character is a girl named Lyn. She has been raised in the GSA -- Gladiator Sport Association. Her mother has been married to seven gladiators and learning what happens when she is no longer allowed to marry a gladiator(there are very specific rules to the GSA). Yes, you figured it out. Her seventh step-father dies and the whole book takes an interesting twist.

The gladiator culture has its own set of standards from the types of clothes you were, how you conduct yourself in public, during fights, etc. Lyn is expected to attend the Gladiator Wives College, like the other Glads daughters she knows. It was interesting to read about how to conduct yourself, what clothes to wear, etc. as you could find similar comparisons to our American culture.

Another reviewer of this book posed these questions and these were the same things that I was thinking about when I finished the book.

What if violence like this were an everyday part of life?
What would the media do to keep the bloodletting going?
How far would they go... until people said, "Enough"?

We are a culture who expects that next "shocking" moment and yet we sit and will criticize the person/people involved. And then we wait for the next moment. We are a contradictory society. This novel really makes you stop to think how we would react. I have my own predictions and thoughts, but this is not the place to post those thoughts.

Overall, I thought this book was an entertaining read. I was disappointed in the fact that there was not more fighting and violence(shock value! Where was it?). However, I did like the twist the author put in the novel when Lyn is forced to make a major decision. A cool read that I recommend you check out. Another book with a solid, strong willed female main character.
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