Arena One: Slaverunners

Arena One Small

Arena One: Slaverunners (The Survival Trilogy 1) by Morgan Rice

Published by Morgan Rice

 2 out of 5 stars

 Format: Audiobook (also available in a variety of formats)

Where to start? Hmmm……..

Arena One is the first in a trilogy (yes there’s three of them, sadly) that many are calling a Hunger Games rip-off. Brooke and Bree survived the war by hiding in their dads hunting cabin up in the mountains, life in the US has been decimated by a civil war that turned nuclear (insert endless political rants here), the survivors are split into several groups the ‘bio victims’ or ‘crazies’ that survived the bombs, the slave runners and their counterparts, and those, like the sisters, that got out and are living a basic life scavenging to survive. The girls are starving, winter is here and food is scarce, they can’t have fires as they don’t want to attract the slave runners (which are exactly what you think they are – they take the survivers, turning them into slaves or take them to Arena one to fight to the death for entertainment).  But of course Brooke’s younger sister Bree is taken when Brooke is away and she has to get her back, thus starts an endless journey where she faces challenges beyond imagination and fights to get her sister back. Along the way she meets Ben who’s brother is in the same car as Bree, and they work together (insert cliched  love interest here, the triangle comes later).

I really don’t know what to say. The book was like an early Jackie Chan film, or some low budget Van Damme movie. Dialogue was horrendous, the plot ridiculous and everything was so far from believable that it might as well have had pink unicorns in.

The writing was shocking (I’m paraphrasing here to give you an idea) ‘I was shocked, I couldn’t believe my eyes, there was an amazing array of jars in front of my shocked, amazed eyes, I blinked away my amazement, still shocked and was amazed to see they were still there, and to my further shock and amazement they were full of amazing products’ and on and on. This girl used ‘shocked’ ‘amazed’ ‘unbelievable’ and didn’t believer her eyes on every other line, in many cases using the same words over and over again. You may think I’m exaggerating but I’m really not. It would make a good drinking game, take a shot every time she’s amazed, you’ll be out cold by page 3. Its not just her amazement either, its the descriptions of everything that are repetitive – the spiked walls of the cage had large spikes sticking out, ready to spike their next victim (or something like that).

Then there was the superhuman healing abilities of Brooke, she broke ribs, crashed cars, she was bitten by snakes, had an infection that was so bad she collapsed, but one dose of penicillin cleared it right up, she was starved, punched, shot and so on and so on, yet manages to drive humvees at 100mph and more, jump off buildings and more.

The characters were completely unlikeable, Brooke needs to be shot down with her ‘me me me me’ attitude, which she pretends is about her sister, but in reality is about how the loss of her sister affects HER. She is a right bint (I love that word). Ben is worth nothing, he can’t fight (yet somehow survives – how?!), he’s a wimp and in all honesty the sort of guy I’d of left behind.

There was a lot of discussion about Rice’s politics and the bias in the book, as a UK reviewer I don’t really know a republican from a democrat so can’t comment, what I can say is that it was yet another thing that was beyond belief (see I’m channeling Brooke now). To expect the world to sit by and watch as the US destroys itself, not likely.

So, I hear you say – why two stars? Because it was a train wreck, but one you can’t look away from, whereas some books (**carrier of the mark**), I just wanted to end, I enjoyed the guilty pleasure that Arena One is. Once you get past the stupidity that is the plot, the characters and the writing, and accept it for what it is – a fun piece of dumb action, you can enjoy it. I would even go so far to say that I’d consider book 2, maybe not yet, I need to be unamazed for a bit, but one day.



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