Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Gauntlet by Holly Jennings

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…

Add to Goodreads –

Book 2
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

5 I-couldn’t-put-the-book-down stars

After reading Arena about a year ago, I feared being lost at the start of Gauntlet, but the two books flowed together seamlessly, with no confusion to be had.

Without giving away spoilers… what a thrill ride! I was gripped the entire time, feverishly clicking the pages to know what happened next. At the end, I wanted more immediately.

Kali is a strong role model throughout. After making mistakes in Arena, compassionate and fierce Kali is trying to protect her team at all costs. An unknown location surrounded by publicity, catering to professional virtual-gamers, The Wall is in her hometown – at the start of the novel, she tries to figure out how this will affect her and her people, which spirals into the major plot… one I won’t spoil.

As a new team owner, Kali has to deal with political maneuverings, sponsors, image, misbehaving teammates, and the publicity surrounding it all. The very reason she bought a team is slipping through her fingers as she tries to play their game by their rules, losing herself in the process.

As for romance, the gossip-mongers are using false reports to tear Kali and her team apart, but some of the strife comes from within. These situations and emotions were very real, hitting human nature. There was a large thread dealing with the drug HP. One of the closest teammates is addicted, struggling, and Kali has to be the tough-love, refusing to be the enabler after they all lost Nathan in the last installment.

Now, let’s get to the gaming…

WOW. I am beyond impressed at the level of imagination the author uses within Gauntlet. As the reader, I could envision the game arena with lifelike accuracy. Fantasy readers shouldn’t have any issue connecting to this portion. But, for those of us who are gamers, we’ll ‘get’ it and be totally immersed into the heart-pounding action.

With this new ‘development,’ I was unsure whether or not what happened in the arena wouldn’t affect them outside of it. With the political maneuverings targeting Defiance, I wasn’t so sure they’d respawn, wake up in their pods, or just be poof. This lent to a thrill ride of epic proportions.

Recommended: Young adults and the young at heart gamers will appreciate this book. Gamers of all ages who do not read could most likely be swayed into giving it a try, which would most likely turn them into avid readers. When a person doesn’t like to read, it’s usually because they haven’t found the right book to flip that switch in their brains. Parents, if you have gamers kids, I’d give this series a try to see if they will catch the reading bug. Adults who love to read but your partner doesn’t, maybe they’re always playing video games (lol), buy them this book and read it together. While the series is narrated by a female, Kali, she is fierce, flawed, and rational enough to appeal to all genders.

I cannot wait for the next in the series. The next book’s setup in Gauntlet gives me the feeling it’s going to be the most epic of them all.

Young Adult age-range: 12+, depending on the maturity of the reader. Virtual-reality game violence. Mild cussing. Kissing. Fade-to-black sexual situations. Addiction.

Also Available in the Arena Series

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

For reviews & more info, check out our Arena post.

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, speculative novels, and comic books, which inspired her to create stories of her own. Eventually, her passions converged and she started writing about the future of video games. She lives in Canada.

Connect with Holly

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Arena (Arena #1) by Holly Jennings to read and review.

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