Arena One: Slaverunners (The Survival Trilogy #1) by Morgan Rice
New York. 2120.
American has been decimated, wiped out from the second Civil War. In
this post-apocalyptic world, survivors are far and few between. And most
of those who do survive are members of the violent gangs, predators who
live in the big cities. They patrol the countryside looking for slaves,
for fresh victims to bring back into the city for their favorite death
sport: Arena One. The death stadium where opponents are made to fight to
the death, in the most barbaric of ways. There is only one rule to the
arena: no one survives. Ever.
Deep in the wilderness, high up in
the Catskill Mountains, 17 year old Brooke Moore manages to survive,
hiding out with her younger sister, Bree. They are careful to avoid the
gangs of slaverunners who patrol the countryside. But one day, Brooke is
not as careful as she can be, and Bree is captured. The slaverunners
take her away, heading to the city, and to what will be a certain death.
Brooke, a Marine’s daughter, was raised to be tough, to never
back down from a fight. When her sister is taken, Brooke mobilizes, uses
everything at her disposal to chase down the slaverunners and get her
sister back. Along the way she runs into Ben, 17, another survivor like
her, whose brother was taken. Together, they team up on their rescue
What follows is a post-apocalyptic, action-packed
thriller, as the two of them pursue the slaverunners on the most
dangerous ride of their lives, following them deep into the heart of New
York. Along the way, if they are to survive, they will have to make
some of the hardest choices and sacrifices of their lives, encountering
obstacles neither of them had expected—including their unexpected
feelings for each other. Will they rescue their siblings? Will they make
it back? And will they, themselves, have to fight in the arena?
I wasn't sure what to expect with this one. It was heralded as being like The Hunger Games but clearly that reviewer had not read Blood Red Road because it was basically that story. It wasn't even hinting at it, it was basically copy and paste with a different location and a more proper way of speaking.
It didn't even feel like it was an apocalyptic time though except that we were reminded every ten seconds that there was a war -- and yet buildings were still standing and after 100 years, Apple and Trump Towers were still dominating. Seems kind of strange and unrealistic and as if they were thrown in there to remind the reader that this was taking place in New York. The first person, present tense was not needed in this story and made it feel bulky.
Ben was boring and I still don't know what his brother's name is. He barely said anything in the entire story and yet Brooke was excited by his presence and made sure to go back for him. Like it was mind boggling. There was zero development of his character -- or any character for that matter -- and yet Brooke risked everything for him. But the same can be said for Logan. Mysterious, enigmatic Logan who was only mysterious because the author didn't give him a real introduction. Then there was a love triangle? I guess? Because she wants both of these guys but literally knows their names and nothing else about them.
The world building was horrible. The author made it seem like this could happen -- the political parties could get so divided that people would go to war for them, but if someone honestly believes that the government would suggest raising taxes to 70% and people would be okay with it clearly do not know anything about people and their money. Especially since it was apparently during a depression? It just seemed like she had this "idea" and thought, hmm how could this happen? And made up this random story that wasn't plausible and rolled with it. The worst part is that apparently this only happened in the US but during this time none of the other countries in the world did anything? Especially Canada?? Like we just sat back and watched it happen and were like cool story bro??? That makes absolutely no sense.
But if you could get past the bad world building, the lack of character introduction and development, you get to the plot. And that was directly lifted from Blood Red Road. It baffles my mind but here it is. "A young girl has one of her siblings taken from her so she goes to find them and has to fight to death for a spectator sport and ends up doing really well. So well in fact, that she ends up being able to escape and kill the leader. Then with her merry team of folks, she can escape to regroup and bring down the government." That is what the plot of both of these books are. And Blood Red Road came out first so.....
And if you look past alllll of that, there are still so many other plot holes in this story. Like this girl is involved in multiple car crashses, says she has broken ribs galore, gets bitten by a snake, and yet can still fight and run, etc. without any issues whatsoever. Yeah right.
I just can't even. I have a lot more complaints but you will be spared. I will not be picking up the rest of the series because I have already read it. If you want to read this story, but better, pick up Moira Young's Dustland Trilogy.
Overall: 1.5/5 stars and I am not really sure why. Maybe because I finished it and am rewarding it with my perseverance. Not really a good reason but ehhhh.