Bloomsbury USA Children’s- August 17, 2010
Rating: I liked it and want to share it
Recommendation: For fans of the young adult genre, fans of girl empowerment, females who like fighting sports
Lyn, the daughter of seven gladiators, is forced into an impossible situation when her seventh father dies in the arena. The GSA has changed the rules; when Tommy dies he loses his ranking and honor and at the same time Lyn, her mother and brother lose the house that they lived in and all that the survivors were promised. On top of all of that, the rules now state that Lyn must marry Uber, the gladiator that killed her father. Lyn decides that she would rather die in the arena than be forced into marrying Uber and becoming a glad wife. But even that choice has a cost that she is not aware of.
I have to admit that I chose this book solely on the cover. Everyone knows something about gladiators. It’s not surprising that the image that comes to mind is that of a muscled man in sandals, shirtless and with a shield of some sort. The cover has a picture of a young girl in full out gladiator gear. An image that challenged any preconceived notions of what a gladiator is. This may not happen often, but the cover was really a foretelling of the story it held within its pages. I have to say that I love Haines’ mastery of language and storytelling. There are moments where I felt as if I was watching the story live, as if I was part of the audience in the bleachers or home watching the story unfold through the paparazzi’s eyes. It was weird because I was able to feel and understand Lyn’s struggles as she did.
The cover made me think that Lyn would be a tough, kick-butt chick who had always wanted to challenge the way that things were done. But, I’m not disappointed to discover that Lyn is only dealing with the situations as life and the GSA present to her. She is a girl of substance and intelligence. It’s not just that she doesn’t like the GSA, the violence of the gladiator fights or the injustice done to those who chose this path. Honestly, I don’t know if any of that even entered her mind. She wants to make a choice about how she will live her life and she wants the freedom to make that choice.