Arena, by Holly Jennings (book review) – virtual reality, too-real pain

book cover of Arena by Holly Jennings published by Ace Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comVirtual reality is safe combat, right?
Not in this future professional gaming league!

Oh sure, VGL gamers only die digital deaths in this near-future tournament, but every kick and sword strike causes true bodily pain. And when the lines between reality and the Arena start to blur… watch out!

Go to the publisher’s site here to read an excerpt as you port into the Arena with Kali, facing pain and death from more than just game opponents!

Would you fight in virtual reality if you could feel the pain?

Book info: Arena / Holly Jennings. Ace Books, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As first-ever female captain, Kali wants to lead her virtual gaming team to the top, but when Nathan’s death in real life erases him from VGL record books and she starts to flip uncontrollably between reality and game-world, the teen begins to question this system that entertains the masses with make-believe sword duels that leave marks on the gamers.

New teammate Rooke challenges Kali to lead using The Art of War and other books that she studied with her Chinese family as a child – but is a tournament win all that he wants from her?

Keep the viewers happy – put on a great show as you win!

Keep the sponsors happy – party hard in public after you win!

Keep the team owner happy – train even harder so that you win more!

This near-future world celebrates the illusion of winning as camouflage for its too-real problems of addiction, rage, and control.

What do you think?

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