Book Review: Girl in the Arena by Liese Haines

RATING: StarStarStar

It’s a fight to the death—on live TV—when a gladiator’s daughter steps into the arena

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.



Girl in the Arena fooled me – I thought I would see a lot of Gladiator action involving a girl. Alas, it was only once and I get to see it in only in the end. The plot was averagely executed when it could have been ruthless. I still like it though; the premise of a future world adapting the Roman ways is unique. This book is more of a family-oriented story with a slight touch of dystopia. I was excited for the dystopia element! But all I read was family drama. You see why I felt cheated?

On the bright side, I like Lyn’s relationship with Tommy (she loved him the most among her fathers) and Thad (she loved him whole – with his being ‘special’ and all). I like how Mark and his parents protected and helped Lyn in times of trouble. I like how Uber is considered one of the fiercest Neo-gladiators but usually appeared clumsy and awkward with Lyn. It’s strange how I like the supporting characters more than Lyn – I just did not see her doing enough (to take charge of her mother, to defy the GSA). She’s smart, though. All the things she did seemed all too late for me.

There are instances where I took a sharp intake of breath – moments triggered by man’s cruelty. These are the only times I was reminded that I am reading dystopia. Girl in the Arena bored me half the time. I won’t say that it’s a waste of time; I’d rather say I should have read another dystopia instead.



.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”


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