I had high hopes for this book. I chose to read it because it was on several lists of books that are similar to The Hunger Games and because the five-sentence synopsis I had read sounded so great. As it turns out, the synopsis was better than the book. To start, it is very difficult to read. Thoughts are sometimes italicized, but sometimes they aren’t. Sentences containing hyphens are usually dialogue, but sometimes they aren’t. It’s very confusing. In addition, it is written like a rambling diary.
Then, of course, there is the token sardonic teenage girl. I’m willing to put up with them, as with Hoffman’s Green Angel, for the sake of an intriguing plot, but the problem is this: Haines has no intriguing plot. In fact, there is very little plot to the story and it all builds up to an epic fight that turns out to be not so epic.
I kept reading because I really hate the idea of starting a book and not finishing it; I always feel as if I’ve wasted my time in so doing. In this case, finishing the book was the bigger waste of time. If you are looking for a good gladiator read or something on the level of The Hunger Games, look elsewhere. I give it one star.