Arena by Holly Jennings
Publishing Info: Ace | April 5, 2016
Status: Complete
Source: NetGalley eArc
         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...

This book isn't life-changing, and I'm not expecting it to. I liked the book; it's enjoyable, and it has an interesting story, but I only liked it because of the protagonist, she's half Chinese. The diversity continues with LGBTQ+ characters. Why 3.75?

The writing could be better: the romance, Kali Ling's characterization, some dialogue, etc. I loved reading the team's chemistry. I liked their banter and their vibe. They're a group of nerds that enjoy classic video games, respect. They were fun and easy going, but then it was all about Kali and Rooke. I'm thankful for the gradual build-up, but the story began revolving around them too much-almost nothing about the game and the team members. Their romance was a little too cheesy for me and suffocating.

In the beginning, I found Kali is arrogant and annoying, but she goes through a change (like every book character.) She thinks highly of herself despite little to no introspection. She also says pfft too much. You can make a drinking game out of it!

I loved the fight scenes! They were so gory and intense, that's what I'm all about! I was extremely pleased with it.

This is irrelevant but, thank you to the author for adding diversity and understanding the stereotypes. Being Asian and being good at video games should be separated. Kali's inner dialogue about this subject [being Asian in general] is very strong and I loved it. Thank you for making a Kali the first, female leader in a male dominant sport.

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