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Arena [PDF / Epub] ★ Arena Author Holly Jennings – Thomashillier.co.uk Every week Kali Ling fights to the death on national TV She's died hundreds of times And it never gets easierThe RAGE tournaments the Virtual Gaming League's elite competition where the best gamers in Every week Kali Ling fights to the death on national TV She's died hundreds of times And it never gets easierThe RAGE tournaments the Virtual Gaming League's elite competition where the best gamers in the world compete in a fight to the digital death Every kill is broadcast to millions Every player leads a life of ultimate fame responsible only for entertaining the masses And though their weapons and armor are digital the pain is realChosen 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 s stuck trying to work with a hostile new teammate who s far distracting than he should be Between internal tensions and external pressures Kali is on the brink of breaking To change her life she ll need to change the game And the only way to revolutionize an industry as shadowy as the VGL is to fight from the inside.

  • Hardcover
  • 336 pages
  • Arena
  • Holly Jennings
  • English
  • 04 March 2016
  • 9781101988763

About the Author: Holly Jennings

Holly Jennings is a self proclaimed nerd and lover of all things geeky and weird As the firstborn to a sports enthusiast it was soon discovered that the only games she'd ever learn to master involved consoles and controllers Her childhood was spent crushing virtual foes racing on simulated tracks and rescuing digital princesses As a young adult she fell in love with English class speculati.



10 thoughts on “Arena

  1. Shelby *trains flying monkeys* Shelby *trains flying monkeys* says:

    The beginning of this book totally sucked for me You have Kali Ling who worked her way up in the virtual gaming leagues and now she is participating in the RAGE League Which is the best of the gamers gaming is now as big as the Superbowl She and her team must look out to please their sponsors keep their fans and that kinda stuff boringKali is friends with benefits with one of her team members The whole team parties so she thinks nothing about when he is dosing really heavy one night Drugs are VERY easy for them to get He overdoses not a spoiler chill out with Kali in his bed So her boss knows he needs to get another team member for the tournament coming up So enters the hot guy Something's wrong she announced in a hushed voiceI stopped dead What?I was gay before I entered the office And then that happenedShe pointed to the guy standing with Clarence on the other side of the room My mouth dropped open and my swirling stomach became an inferno spreading heateverywhere elseThat's right after her 'friend with benefits' died I almost went the DNF road right there BUT I'm trying to be better about the uitting of books so I kept on truckingHer team is in pretty much shambles for a bit adjusting to a new team member and after the death of one of their own Then the boss man tells Kali and the new guy Rooke that they have to play up a romance for the cameras We've been there before haven't we?Kali realizes that she is not dealing with her previous guys death very well and FINALLY starts acting like she has some sense She with hot guy Rooke's help of course starts to incorporate her lessons on Taoism and the pitfalls that come with being a professional gamer No one knew about except the gamers themselves A victim of the minefields that was the life of a virtual gamer Drugs Alcohol Obsession Mental Illness All shrouded in darkness by a world faker than the arena itselfShe starts to become that female warrior that she is known as That was the best part of this whole book As a reader I got to see a female main character in a book actually grow some Usually it's just all about getting the boy This one DID keep from doing that There was some touch of the lurvey dovey including one of the hottest first kiss scenes that I've read in a young adult book BUT the majority ended up being on her becoming her own kick ass person I was a poster child for the Chinese warrior No The Chinese American warrior A perfect blend Both sides as oneOne thing I did not get thoughThe virtual gaming stuff If our world has evolved to be to where the games are a form of highly paid rock star entertainmentwouldn't there be to it than a wheat field with taking your other teams tower after beating them to death? The same scene every single match and we are supposed to believe that the gaming world is addictive as crack? Crack is whack because I was not sold on that shit Booksource Netgalley in exchange for review I'm highlighting my friend Sh3lly's review even though Netgalley denied her she is who brought the book to my attention She is one of the best book promoters Start approving her

  2. Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin says:

    I thought it was pretty good and I had a crush on Rooke Don't judge me Lol

  3. Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ says:

    Review first posted at Fantasy Literature In the year 2054 virtual gaming has become a major sport with a huge following and the RAGE tournaments are the ultimate competition a virtual fight to the death between two five person teams The death matches take place in a simple virtual world a field of tall wheatgrass and two stone towers one tower assigned to each team The rules are simple ― kill everyone in a virtual kind of way on the opposing team ― but real world strength and skills translate directly to this virtual world so rigorous physical training and well developed martial arts skills in real life are criticalKali Ling is a member of Team Defiance which is favored in the main tournament But then things uickly start to go wrong for Kali and Defiance following the rule of bad things coming in threes First a stunning loss in the final game of the pre season to Team InvictUS sends Defiance to the loser’s bracket of the tournament where a single loss will end their chances Second just after the team’s owner names Kali the captain of the team Kali’s teammate and friend with benefits Nathan dies of a drug overdose in her bed necessitating a uick replacement ― and the new team member James Rooke is surly and unfriendly to Kali And finally as Kali stresses over the cohesiveness of her team and getting trained for the tournament and at the same time carries on with partying and clubbing at night as the team’s owner demands for publicity’s sake she begins to realize that she has a physical and emotional addiction to the readily available drugs and constant plugging into the virtual worldHP the latest designer drug is a favorite of gamers it enhances all of your senses basically making real life feel colorful and exciting like virtual reality The gaming league’s owners and sponsors are also part of the problem as they encourage and even insist on the gamers’ public partying exacerbating the reckless behavior and personal problems of the gamers At the same time the owners try to whitewash any problems like Nathan’s death from an overdose and hide them from the public’s eyes Luckily for Kali and readers who love hot romance the handsome Rooke begins to unbend enough to help Kali deal with her problems With the assistance of the Tao Te Ching the “Taoist bible” as Kali calls it Rooke is instrumental in bringing Kali back to good health and putting her back into touch with the Chinese half of her heritageWhile Arena takes place during the biggest gaming event of the year the focus of Holly Jennings’ novel is not so much on the game itself but on the lives of the players especially Kali as she attempts to come to grips with her own personal problems the problems with the gaming culture and her growing attraction to Rooke The virtual game itself takes a secondary role to the addiction theme and the romance subplot In fact the virtual matches themselves are rather colorless the same two stone towers and field of wheat are the virtual setting for every match which seems highly unlikely for a virtual world For better or worse this puts the focus on the physical battles and strategy of the teams but I never found it particularly engaging It’s also odd that in a competition where the gamers’ physical training is so vital the team owner and sponsors insist on their public partying every night even at the expense of their training and mental health Arena’s treatment of the troubling problem of addiction lacks depth and realism While lip service is given to principles of Taoism and therapy really it seems to just be lots of training and romancing with Rooke that gets Kali through her withdrawal period and uickly weans her away from her addictive behaviorsThis is definitely an adult novel with R rated language sex and violence but the writing style is superficial like I would expect from a young adult novel For example Kali’s first impressions on seeing Rooke are worthy of a romance novelMy mouth dropped open and my swirling stomach became an inferno spreading heat everywhere else His chiseled cheekbones and hard jaw looked as if the Romans themselves had carved him out of stone But wait hello a statue didn’t boast tanned skin or piercing dark eyes Along with his six foot frame and perfect build give him a couple of scars and he’d be a gladiator in true formThis shallow type of language and viewpoint and the predictable relationship between Kali and Rooke are symptomatic of the book as a whole Arena just isn’t particularly deep or insightful and despite the action scenes and romance I found myself getting bored and skimming through much of the second half It’s a lightweight novel that never really engaged my interest I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review Thank you

  4. ✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans) ✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans) says:

    Actual rating 15 stars Because it's Christmas and I'm feeling uncharacteristically lenient today Don't worry it won't last Disclaimer this book was NOT marketed as YA when it was released Cross my black withered heart hope to die and all that crap I did not go into this willingly I was despicably misledPresentingthe Adjectives Only Crappy Non Review AOCNR™ Because ualifiers are as dear to me as my murderous babies and I won't let them be shamelessly vilified as they have been in recent weeks The Anti Adjective League sucks The Anti Adjective League should be outlawed and stuff Revolt Resist Unleash the ualifiers Ha Take that you adjective loathing bigots☢ Friendly warning I'll be throwing in a few adverbs just to aggravate the prose zealots You are uite welcome➽ This wonderful story is● Silly very● Clichéd absurdly● Predictable awfully● Eyeroll worthy remarkably● YA ish nauseatingly● Flat dreadfully● Forced wretchedly● Repetitive extraordinarily● Decaf profoundly● Pretentious strikingly● Clunky scrupulously● Simplistic wonderfully● Boring eminently Don't mind me just trying to make an inconspicuous point here➽ The delightful heroine is● Immature utterly● Arrogant spectacularly● Unlikable thoroughly● Exasperating remarkably● Self righteous uncommonly● Whiny marvelously● Ungrateful highly● Infuriating unabashedly● Vapid notably● Patronizing horribly● Temperamental magnificently● Selfish tragically● Shallow stunningly● Stupid admirablyI love the girl I really do She puts me in the best of moods and stuff Yes this is indeed me without my make upAlso this book will teach you that some things are bad harmful unhealthy detrimental dangerous and atrociously wrong drugs alcohol partying too much and evil corporate machinations terrible horrendous shockingly ghastly stuff Stay the fish awayAlso also this book will teach you that some things are good wonderful excellent positive pleasing exceptional fine and beautifully sensational extreme grinning spectacularly caricatural one dimensional characters memory foam mattresses very comfortable self centered bitches juvenile views on Taoism redemption tropes galore and chiselled abs wondrous glorious stupendously splendid stuff Please do jump in with both pincers Yes this is indeed me in a slightly slaughterish mood» And the moral of this I Won't Reveal Who Recommended this Book Because I Might Be Nefarious but I'm not Completely Heartless and Also Because Reasons and Stuff Crappy Non Review IWRWRtBBIMBNbInCHaABRaSCNR™ is blatantly moralizing YANAwhatever is truly a thing of beauty Especially when it is as sub par and insipid and formulaic and trivial and stereotyped as this little story here Now can I please get a bloody shrimping medal for making it through this? Or preferably a bottle of whisky? It would be the charitable thing to do you know It is Christmas after all Even in my subauatic kingdomview spoiler hide spoiler

  5. Carrie Carrie says:

    Twenty year old Kali Ling has finally achieved her lifelong dream of becoming a professional gamer in the Virtual Gaming League’s RAGE tournaments The league has the best players in the world competing weekly in virtual reality tournaments the weapons are digital but the pain is real for the players They eat sleep and breathe their training and workouts but after hours they are expected to go out and make the club scene to smile for the sponsors and cameras but the drugs are easy to come by in this party life When Kali's teammate overdoses the league covers it up and immediately replaces him Kali struggles with dealing with Nathan's death and then the added pressure of being made the first female captain in competitive gaming Turning to drinking and drugs herself Kali battles her own demons Will she be able to pull herself out of the dark side of gaming and lead her team or will she become yet another victim of the lifestyle?Arena is one of those books that got off to a bit of a shaky start for me and I was wondering if I would like it at all By the end though I really did enjoy the overall book and the positive message that is mixed into the story Set in an athletic world where pressures from owners sponsors and fans have the players turning to drugs to cope with the pressure is something that is a very real and touching subject Kali was a very likable character that had many different demons to battle and a lot to live up to Watching her grow and struggle was certainly intriguing and you can't help but to root for her to find her way and develop an inner strength Drugs are a problem in all kinds of situations and here not only Kali but the whole team loses their friend to drugs and the story focuses on dealing with the loss and respecting their fallen teammate too What I didn't uite love about this book was the gaming aspect or at least how it was explained Taking place in the future players are no longer couch potatoes but athletes and beautiful I found it a bit hard to grasp that players can be stabbed and beheaded or killed in any number of ways in a game and somehow feel the pain but no physical carry over to the real world but one of the players jumped in a game and further injured their ankle Perhaps anyone who is a gamer would grasp the whole concept better but since the gaming is only the setting around the story it only brought my rating down a slight bitI received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest reviewFor reviews please visit

  6. Mogsy (MMOGC) Mogsy (MMOGC) says:

    35 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum soon as I heard about Arena I knew I had to read it – especially after finding out its premise and learning about how the idea was conceived As a lifelong gamer author Holly Jennings was inspired by eSports and its role in the future of video games as well as the current issues making waves in the industry today Needless to say my own fascination and love for gaming naturally led me to her debut novel but I was also curious and excited to see some of these social themes would be handled in the bookTurns out Arena is about a lot than its blurb promises One part science fiction drama one part action packed suspense and one part steamy romance the book follows the trials and tribulations of protagonist Kali Ling professional gamer and the first female captain in the Virtual Gaming League The year is 2054 and major technological advancements in virtual reality have vaulted video gamers into the spotlight Once hooked into the system players essentially become their avatars participating in encounters that look and feel real Player versus player arena battles to the digital death are broadcast live to the delight of millions of fans who see this as a harmless way to enjoy the brutality and bloodshed The VGL Championship game has become the new Super Bowl and its players are the world’s new celebritiesKali is living the life she’s always dreamed of competing for her shot at the finals when suddenly her team Defiance is hit by two major setbacks First they lose badly in the opening round to InvictUS a talented new team that has seemingly come out of nowhere to take the league by storm Second that very same night Defiance loses their member Nathan to a fatal drug overdose Traumatized Kali is haunted by scenarios where she could have saved Nathan if only she had seen the problem or done something differently The guilt eats away at her throwing her off her game It also doesn’t help that Nathan’s replacement Rooke is proving extremely difficult to work with Defiance now only has one chance to win the championship and no mistakes can be made In order to get her team back on track Kali will have to find her balance before she spirals further out of control destroyed by the very thing she lovesOn the surface Arena would appear to be every gamer’s private fantasy Games feel realistic and immersive than ever before Players are able to literally step into their characters’ shoes competing for higher stakes and greater rewards Gaming which once was a hobby ridiculed and looked down upon in the past as a frivolous waste of time is now the most popular sport on the planet There’s no longer a stigma associated with being a “gamer geek”; if you are good at the games you play you actually have the opportunity to go pro and be worshiped by a legion of adoring fans Holly Jennings plays up the intensity of the action both on and offline Every weekend teams of five meet in the arena and battle each other for victory but the rest of the time they’re either training rigorously to maintain peak physical condition or out there hitting the media circuit and club scene to maintain their image Just because gaming has reached a whole new level it doesn’t mean that the players have stopped roleplaying The scope of it has simply expanded with the RP happening in front of cameras for the entire worldAt the same time the dark side of gaming rears its ugly head In a lot of ways Arena can be seen as an allegory for some of the problems we see in gaming today like sexism and the stereotypes that gamers face Kali’s gender and half Chinese heritage is a point that comes up a lot in the course of this novel sometimes as a barrier and at other times as a selling point to be used by Defiance’s team owner The book’s narrative also encompasses the cutthroat world of professional sports exploring the physical and mental stresses of trying to stay relevant in a world where fandom is fluid and heroes are disposable as yesterday’s leftovers The VGL only wants to show its viewers the glamorous side of the sport covering up scandals like drug use Gaming addiction which is an issue the gaming industry faces today is addressed as well Where does the fun end and the obsession begin? And when a favorite hobby starts leading to unwanted obligations does that also take away some of the joy?I really enjoyed this novel precisely because it asks some of these important uestions However I was also a little surprised by the Young Adult vibes I got from it Some concessions were made sacrificing the complexity of the plot as well as the depth of world building We get little about the world outside the limited sphere of the VGL that we see through Kali’s eyes and the story is also on the relatively simplistic side with a predictable ending that ties things together a little too neatly There were some inconsistencies in the plot and character motivations such as the team owner’s insistence that the team going out to party instead of staying in and training when training is the clearer path to success and victory Staying visible for the sake of the sponsors is important but I imagine it would matter even to the sponsors to have their teams win I also wondered at lack of media coverage for InvictUS They are the rising stars killing the competition and should have been the ones dominating the magazine covers instead of Kali and Rooke’s love life yet no one seems to know who they are or where they came from because details like that are overshadowed by the heavier emphasis on the story’s romance In some respects I feel this novel might appeal to a teenYA audience despite its serious concepts and older protagonists This isn’t necessarily a criticism though since I can see Arena as a book with great adult and YA crossover appeal and I also freuently delve into the YA genre In the end despite some minor bumps along the road I did have an excellent time with this storyAll told this was a lot of fun Arena is a powerful and dynamic multilayered experience pure excellent popcorn entertainment for the win with some deeper themes to chew on for the bonus round If you’re a gamer or a reader with a passion for fiction about video games you have to do yourself a favor and check this one out Holly Jennings’ debut is a fast paced gripping read that will keep you turning the pages

  7. Lyn Lyn says:

    So this is going to be one of those reviews that begins “I really wanted to like this but ”Arena Holly Jennings’ 2016 novel about futuristic virtual gamer teams has some inspiration from Ready Player One with the gamer punk setting and there is also some cyberpunk references but this is Off to Be the Wizard than NeuromancerActually its teenage urban fantasy dressed up like an adult SF thriller but it has some non YA elements and actually some serious themes like addiction mental illness and drug culture Sex drugs and rock and roll life in the fast lane world of professional virtual gamers Sure they’re celebrity famous but there’s a rocky underworld to being a virtual warriorJennings is a talented writer and the good news is that she likely has some good writing in her and this has some good points and I can see where some people would like this and even sigh maybe a film series like Divergent but besides a cool idea and some good action there’s not much here

  8. ֆɦɛʟʟʏ ȶɦɛ քǟȶʀօռ ֆǟɨռȶ օʄ ƈʊʀʍʊɖɢɛօռʟʏ ƈʀօռɛֆ ֆɦɛʟʟʏ ȶɦɛ քǟȶʀօռ ֆǟɨռȶ օʄ ƈʊʀʍʊɖɢɛօռʟʏ ƈʀօռɛֆ says:

    20 JAN 2016 They denied me I didn't realize this was BerkleyPenguin or I wouldn't have bothered reuesting They always deny me PIlona Andrews is listed with a uote recommending this How could I not reuest it from Netgalley?

  9. JAIME JAIME says:

    I was certain that I wouldn't like this after the first four or five chapters until I ended up getting sucked into the story Once past the somewhat convoluted opening Arena turned into a pretty great story dealing with things like addiction leadership and GAMING Holly also touches on some of the real life pressures that pro athletes in all kinds of sports face not limited to the stupidly easy access to drugs and alcohol and loss of control I'm a ridiculous sports fan seriously check my Instagram and a tiny nerd So I sort of love the idea of pro gamers especially where the game is like a virtual Battle Royale Not that I could watch it if it was a real thing since I have no stomach for violence But reading about it was pretty sweet actual review to come closer to release

  10. Justine Justine says:

    Guess this was his way of making amendsAnd honestly a uniue battle simulation wasn't a bad effort Well for a girl like me Most boyfriends bought flowers or jewelry to apologize Mine had given me an arena full of virtual opponents A chance to test my fighting skills Kali Ling is a professional gamer who competes in one of the hottest eSports of the future It is virtual tower defense game where players armed with melee weapons and grouped in teams of five simply try to kill off the opposing team The twist with professional gaming of the future is that apparently the safety features are turned off so you feel pain when injured and also your physical and athletic prowess in the real world translates to an advantage in the virtual one As a result professional gamers are not only top gamers but top athletes as wellEarly in the book Kali's team suffers a near devastating double loss first in losing a match early on in a tournament and then by having one of the team members die from a drug overdose The owner of the team uickly replaces the fallen team member and Kali and the rest of the team are instructed to carry on and continue with the tournament The rest of the book deals with the how that plays outThe book tries to do a lot of things and is only successful at some of them One of the areas where it works is in capturing the culture of celebrity and the idea that an athlete under contract is merely a commodity This is something Kali has to battle and come to terms with How far is she willing to go to satisfy the owner of the team and the sponsors in the image conscious world of professional gaming?The immense pressure that must be felt by individuals in such a situation is very well conveyed It also provides a nice vehicle for the main character's personal growth and development The problem is that the issues explored are incredibly serious and I thought the way they were dealt with were far too simplisticKali lives on the edge in a world that encourages an image of endless partying coupled with perfection in performance at all times The result is a downward slide towards substance abuse mental illness and general instability Kali essentially pulls herself through all this by having a positive mental attitude which I thought was not only a bit too easy but dangerously insulting It plays into the stereotype that addicts are simply weak willed or don't really want to get better Living with addiction and mental illness isn't simply a matter of having a can do attitude and books like this make it seem like it's a pretty easy thing to get through something that is incredibly difficultOne thing I did not understand at all is why the author even chose to make the gamers top athletes as well? Was she trying to give legitimacy to virtual gaming by making it a real sport? Being very pro gaming myself I didn't think it needed any legitimizing and I personally didn't think the idea of having avatars perfectly reflect how individuals are in reality was necessarily an improvement in VR gaming Regardless anyone who has spent any time around athletes who are in training for an event would know that they would not be able to do drugs drink and party until late every single night yet still get up early and have their training and physical performance unaffected If she had chosen to have the gamers just be regular gamers and engaging in a partying lifestyle for the sake of the narrative I could buy that but I just didn't buy that they were doing high performance physical training on top on everything elseYou might think that with everything I've said above that I hated this book but surprisingly I uite enjoyed it while I was reading it In the end however I think this book is trying to do too many things If it had just stuck with the gaming and focused a bit on the issues there it could have been a lot fulfilling

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