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Monday, April 3, 2017

Gauntlet (Review)

Plug back into the dangerous world of virtual gaming, in the next thrilling novel from the author of Arena.

Kali Ling isn't afraid of dying. She's been killed hundreds of times in hundreds of different ways. And she knows there are things much more terrifying than death...

There's a new game in town. A brutal, winner-takes-all, international video game tournament between the world's most elite players, promising fame, prestige, and unbelievable fortune. But there's a catch. The game uses new VR pods guaranteed to push digital warriors to their physical and psychological brink—adapting every time a gamer makes a move.

As the first female captain and youngest team owner in VGL history, Kali is used to defying the odds. But as the all-star tournament heats up, her determination begins to waver and the pressures of media, sponsors, and the game itself begin to put cracks in her hard-set convictions.

If Kali's Team Defiance is to survive, they'll have to find a way to be stronger than ever before. But battling the system may prove too difficult for even the most hardened of fighters...

Read my review of ARENA!
Gauntlet
Arena #2
Holly Jennings
Pub Date: 4/4/17
Ace Books
Genre: Science Fiction
Amazon | B&N | Kobo

The sequel to Holly Jennings' futuristic debut is finally here! Gauntlet revives with the fierce warrior, Kali Ling, taking over duties as owner of her team Defiance. Not only is she now in control of her team's sponsorships, image, and morale, when the team is invited to a new international all-star league tournament, she still has to play as team captain. The road to victory is even more treacherous as Kali's enemies form not just inside the virtual games, but also in real life.

Kali is still the leader we love to cheer on. Even more so in Gauntlet than in Arena, because this time her teammates are in the crossfire. Before, Kali struggled with addiction to virtual reality, but with Tamachi Industries' new virtual pods playing the game for extended periods of time is safer. Standing up to the VGL  and pointing out their unsafe practices in Arena brings consequences that manifest throughout the competition. Her team's morale begins to fall along with their performance and their personal relationships.

When I started Gauntlet I honestly didn't know if I was going to gobble it up like candy or drag through it. I genuinely wanted a follow-up to Kali's story, but I couldn't fathom it taking on a completely separate form from the first novel. In the beginning it seemed to take on a similar path as Arena as readers are taken into a career boosting tournament with Defiance. However, Holly Jennings does that indescribable thing she does where by the end of the story I saw so many ups, downs, twists and turns that the end point is not where I expected to find myself. To have such sophisticated plot lines in a story about characters playing video games is an art and Jennings is a master artist.

Gauntlet broadened the science-fiction aspect of this series and seemed to spend more time in Kali's real futuristic world. The introduction of international teams widens our view of her reality and presents challenges for Defiance in terms of measuring their strength and capability to function as a team. The Arena series and reached a new level and I can't wait to see further progress!
*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review*

Previous Review:  Geekerella by Ashley Poston

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