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Arena Paperback – May 1, 2002
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Top Customer Reviews
Surprise. This book was a blast to read. Hancock created characters I cared about. "Arena" has an excellent balance of romance, action, and suspense. The author paced the story in such a way that I couldn't wait to discover what happened to the characters. By the end of the first chapter the protagonist is already in deep trouble.
A few times I wondered "where did that come from?" (like the armor of the characters, for example). I may have just missed some things since I read the book quickly. It didn't mess up the story, however. Sometime in the future, I will have to reread "Arena," and see if I just skimmed over some of these introductions too quickly.
Hancock's "Arena" reminds me of something Connie Willis would write. To be honest, with all the action and fighting in this novel, any thirteen-year-old aethist science-fiction geek would devour "Arena" with relish. The allegory to a Christian lifestyle is there, but not over done.
I would love to see this book turned into a movie or mini-series on the sci-fi channel. People would probably enjoy it as much as "The Matrix" and, trust me, the ending is much better.
The book's protagonist, Callie, is a young woman in her mid-twenties who has yet to find her place in life. She has a low-paying job but yearns to be a painter, and her family is all in the business of trying to find her a man. She is trapped, frustrated, and floundering. In need of money, she accompanies her friend to a psychology experiment promising to help her get more out of life. Unable to back out at the last minute, she finds herself transported to the Arena, a whole world that cannot yet does exist - the mother of all obstacle courses. About all she has to guide her is a suggestion to stay on the white road and a manual, most of which is gibberish to her. She gets off to a bad start, quickly discovering just how dangerous a place the Arena can be.Read more ›
I am a Christian, and quite a strong one, but it has been awhile since I have been unsatisfied with the level of intimacy I have with God.
I also thought the love story between Callie and Pierce was captivating. It was so well-written, and I love the fact that Callie only started to become attracted to Pierce after she got to know him. So many novels start with love at first sight. Their romance actually caught me by surprise (okay not entirely, but it was not obvious at the beginning that they would fall in love). I also thought Hancock did a great job of showing that Callie and Pierce struggled with passion and attraction to each other. People aren't perfect, even born-again spirit-filled Christians. I thought it made them seem human, and I was able to relate to them!
All I have to say is, this book has changed me and the way I see God. I highly recommend it!
The story quickly progresses as Callie struggles to survive and somehow get back home. In the course of her struggles she faces the limits of her own intellect, learns how much of her own effort is futile, and begins to understand faith in a much deeper way. And learns how to maintain contact with, well, God. And meets Pierce who is at first arrogant and obnoxious, but... well, you'll just have to read it. It's quite exciting and it will keep you turning pages.
Yes, it's an allegorical story about a Christian's spiritual journey; you can also read it as a plain old whiz-bang adventure story. It works either way.
Author Karen Hancock makes it clear from the beginning that this is a Christian book dedicated to Jesus Christ. For the most part she handles her material deftly and without preaching, but there are times when the theology becomes just a bit heavy-handed. And there are times when she offers too much explanation for all the strange happenings, rather than just showing the reader. Sometimes there is too much blood and gore, too much danger, too many impossible situations, but--hey! I still kept on reading, and so will you. This is not a perfect book, but a good one and an uplifting one as well. I recommend it. Reviewed by Louis N. Gruber
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is in my top 5 books I've ever read. I even wrote the author to ask if there would be a sequel. (There isn't)Published 13 days ago by Amazon Customer
I read this to check to pre-screen for my tweens. I would have trouble recommending it for under 16. Read morePublished 1 month ago by rmhcolo
Outstanding... one of my all-time favorites! I have read it so often my copy is becoming frayed, which is why I needed it for the Kindle! Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
This was my favorite book in high school, and after unearthing and rereading it, I still love it. I'm not one that usually enjoys "Christian fiction", but the story and characters... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Hannah
We lent this book to a friend who misplaced it and had to have another copy-glad we finally broke down and bought it. A great re-read. Read morePublished 5 months ago by CleaningCrazedMom
Excellent read; very enjoyable. I also got a lot of spiritual insights from this book. I am always glad to find something enjoyable that is also beneficial.Published 7 months ago by JM Fisk