Two Minute DNF Review: Arena by Holly Jennings

Monday, June 27, 2016
Title: Arena
Author: Holly Jennings
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: N/A
Pages: 336
Published: April 5th, 2016
Source: ARC via NetGalley
Rating: DNF at 17%

A fast-paced and gripping near-future science fiction debut about the gritty world of competitive gaming...

Every week, Kali Ling fights to the death on national TV.
She’s died hundreds of times. And it never gets easier...

The RAGE tournaments—the Virtual Gaming League’s elite competition where the best gamers in the world compete in a no-holds-barred fight to the digital death. Every bloody kill is broadcast to millions. Every player is a modern gladiator—leading a life of ultimate fame, responsible only for entertaining the masses.

And though their weapons and armor are digital, the pain is real.

Chosen to be the first female captain in RAGE tournament history, Kali Ling is at the top of the world—until one of her teammates overdoses. Now, she must confront the truth about the tournament. Because it is much more than a game—and even in the real world, not everything is as it seems.

The VGL hides dark secrets. And the only way to change the rules is to fight from the inside...
In 2054, the world's gone to crap and video games are people's preferred method of escapism. Because of this, elite gamers have become monster celebrities as  Virtual Gaming League tournaments are broadcast on every tv in FuturisticCity™. Team Defiance is the odds on favorite to win as they're undefeated, but during the last match of Elderscrolls D&D RAGE
pre-season, they're utterly decimated in record time. This, oddly ruins their entire standing and places them in the bottom half of the brackets. So either the pre-season is two games, in which case their "undefeated" record is bull, or this tournament doesn't make any sense.

Despite the fact that here, 40 years in the past, women make up 47% of video game players, it's unheard of to be a woman in the VGL and Team Defiance employs three. Of course, one of them is Kali, the super badass half-Chinese Warrior and eventual team captain. She's the respectable one.
[I wore a] traditional Chinese cheong-sam dress in style--high collar, tight waist, and a long slit over one leg. But also Americanized--shimmering white and no pattern like the pods' cores. It cut several inches too low down the chest, only a pin's width wide, to reveal a hint of cleavage. A symbol of demure, deadly beauty. Tasteful. Acceptable. Desirable, even.
That's not problematic in any way.

The other two women are "feminine and musical" Hannah and Lily, the "scantily clad Scandinavian warrior" with pigtails. They're lesbians who make out in front of men for ratings.

The world building is bad: as I mentioned, there's a huge disparity between the male and female players and it leads to a lot of girl-hate and Kali judging everyone's looks. The virtual reality that requires the team to be in peak physical condition. (But that apparently doesn't extend to the truly Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas levels of drugs everyone does.) It was a total miss for me and I couldn't even force myself to skim to see if the action picked up. It's too silly.


  1. I quickly exited this one as well. I just couldn't any longer. I had to stop when one of the lesbians said that the Main love Interest was so good looking, she would go straight for him.

    I was fucking done.

    1. Man, I guess I lucked out that the pub never approved me for this one .__.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Copyright © 2015 Ageless Pages Reviews. All Rights Reserved.

Amelia Theme by The Lovely Design CO and These Paper Hearts.