So recently I went and had a little bit of a book spree from a offer that Waterstones had, and one of the books that I bought was Arena 13 by Joseph Delany, you might recognise his name from the Spooks Apprentice series. I love that series and when I saw he had a new book series out I had to buy it, well I have now read it and here is my review.
Welcome to Arena 13. Here warriors fight. Death is never far away . . .
Leif has one ambition: to become the best fighter in the notorious Arena 13. Here, punters place wagers on which fighter will draw first blood. And in grudge matches, they bet on which fighter will die.
But the country is terrorized by the creature Hob, an evil being who delights in torturing its people, displaying his devasting power by challenging an Arena 13 combatant in a fight to the death whenever he chooses. And this is exactly what Leif wants . . .
For he knows Hob’s crimes well. and at the heart of his ambition burns the desire for vengeance. Leif is going to take on the monster who destroyed his family. Even if it kills him.
Taken From Goodreads
So I really liked this book but I didn’t love it and there was a couple of reasons for this, but first lets start with what I did like about the book.
I really liked the way in which he described the feelings in which Leif would have while fighting, such as making himself go from being scared and nervous to allowing his body to do the battling and not his mind. Not only that but I also liked the way he would describe the feelings that Lief would have for the different people in his life such as his tutor and the tutors daughter. For me it just made it a lot easier to connect with Lief because of this, otherwise if it wasn’t for the description of this it would have been very hard.
I also liked the descriptions of the different parts of the books, such as the Wheel and the house where they all lived. Just the way he desecribed everything it made it a lot easier to be able to imagine what the place looked like which just overall makes for a better read. He even goes into a lot of detail in some areas such as what the blood on the floor was like, to that the blood that was on the Hobs shoes had to be Kern’s it was just amazing.
But the parts I didn’t like where how overall the story was just an overused storyline from a lot of different fantasy novels especially recently. It is where the main character parents are dead and the reason why they are dead is because the villain kills them and the main character swears revenge. I just feel like if this story type is going to be getting done again and again then something would have to change and I am quite sad to say in this first book that nothing did change, he tried to fight the Hob but the Hob just stopped him and swore that one day he would kill every single person that Lief loved and then after he had suffered he would come and kill Lief himself. For me that was the only part that had seemed to change with the storyline and in my opinion the last 60 pages of the book was where it really started to come on it is own. So for the book to become quite good then you have to read 200+ pages, I’m not really sure if it worth it.
The next part I didn’t like is something that I’m starting to notice a lot more in books and it is really starting to annoy me, the violence and anything gruesome is described in a lot of detail to make it easier to imagine what was happening, but not a single swear word or sexual reference was used. This shit annoys me, I’m sure that my grandparents would rather me read the word FUCK instead of being told how the veins of the head that had just been cut off and given back to the Tutor looked. So they are okay with death and head getting chopped off and souls being eaten but as soon as BITCH, BASTARD or FUCK is used it is not allowed, well you know what that is bullshit.
Anyway, overall if you want to read a good book that is written really well and actually makes you want to read the next book, but doesn’t contain any swear words but a lot detail in the gruesome parts then this is a book for you.
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