Don't get me wrong, this book started off really good-- think Hunger Games meets aliens. But I had several issues with it that made me dislike the book in the end…
But first, let’s focus on what was good!:
Callie Hayes started off as an amazing protagonist. First off she realizes that something is wrong, and once she gets into the Arena we realize that she was right. She is ten feet deep in a big, stinking pile of ‘Oh SHIT’. Her refusal to be coaxed into trusting immediately was awesome. She used her brain, and I liked that, because honestly, who doesn’t love a strong, smart female protagonist?!
The love story between Pierce and Callie was also pretty great. Predictable, but cute. With just the right amount of denial and refusal to fall in love in the Arena.
But then…there were negatives as well, and the book slid down a sad, boring slope.
On to the bad:
The beginning of the book moved along quite nicely, then I hit the hundred page mark…and the pacing died. With about 400 pages to go… This book could have been 120 pages, 200 tops. Instead it dragged on and on and on…
The characters were so sadly developed. 96% of the characters were just there as an excuse to drive the love story, not because they should be there. The biggest indication of this was Callie’s relationship with her best friend. News flash- best friends do not forget that each other exist for half of a book.
I could hardly imagine the Arena or it’s strange inhabitants. I have no concrete idea what a Trog, a Watcher, or a fire curtain looks like. I think the only one we REALLY got descriptions for was Pierce…and these descriptions were mostly about how cowboy-ish he was.
I am not a huge fan of Christian allegories as it is, but when I am smashed in the face with an allegorical meat tenderizer, I HATE it. It was forced, and poorly written, and honestly it ruined the book for me. I could have lived with the slow pacing, but when the ruler of the aliens turned into God figures I lost it. It was not well done like C.S. Lewis in the Narnia books (which I LOVE) no…it was overdone to the max.
This book could have been a four star deal…but with the pacing and being smacked in the face with a poorly written allegory, I have lowered the rating to a measly 2 star book.