Thursday, 10 April 2014

Review: Arena One - Morgan Rice

Arena One - the first in a trilogy - struck me as a poor combination of Lara Croft, Blood Red Road and The Hunger Games; an interesting and chaotic mix. You'll find action, loyalties, love and devastation. With so much on the line, how do you know what is really worth fighting for?

Brooke is the daughter of a marine. She's a survivor. That's the one good trait she's inherited. She's also stubborn, like her mother. But that's a problem...

Despite not having the most original of plots (it was more of a mash up of other dystopian novels) this novel made me think more than other dystopians. It made me realise how destructive we, as humans, truly are and how selfish I, as a person, really am. I don't think I'd have the guts nor determination to do what Brooke did. I can admit (and am rather ashamed to do so) that I would have given up and lost hope. I would have abandoned everyone...

This novel is rather descriptive in the travelling aspect. It's very specific. You never leave the character; you're with her the whole time as she narrowly misses colliding with a crumbling building and as she turns a corner too sharply onto 59th street and then swerves on a patch of ice outside an abandoned apple store. I admit I did find this description very dry at times and extremely repetitive, y'know, like, "ok, ok, I get that you're driving, now something different happen!.." but it did help you to put yourself in Brooke's shoes, I guess?

Brooke's journey was not fun or exciting. It was not short and sweet. It was long, tiring and tedious. It made you appreciate just how hard things were for her and again highlighted how selfish I am because I know for sure that I would not be willing to sacrifice myself as often as she was willing to.

The characters weren't original but neither were they cliche. They were their own people but if you want to know their personalities in a nutshell then here they are. Ben is "the boy with the bread" or in this case "deer". He is another Peeta Mellark ALL over. Completely helpless but somehow manages to pull through. Then there's Logan. He's strong and is a born fighter, just like Gale. Brooke's sister is definitely a strong-willed "Prim" and Brooke is... hmmmm, I'm not sure. I guess she's a patchwork of the fighter within us all and protagonists from other dystopian novels.

I wasn't sure how I felt about this book when I was half way through reading it, it was slow and dull in places (and similar to other novels) but it wasn't a bad read, it just needed touching up - I suppose being self-published didn't help.

Morgan Rice has taken a running jump into the dystopian world and I hope that this trilogy stays afloat.

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