Book #45: 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…

**I received a copy of Gauntlet via NetGalley for an honest opinion. No compensation was given.**

Gauntlet is the sequel to Arena. It is set about a year after the events of the first book and shows the difficulty Kali is having as an owner, team captain, and a team member. The first book’s main focus (drugs, addiction, and image) makes a reprisal in this book, but I felt it was just to show that our problems will always be a constant battle. Which makes sense.

Our problems don’t go away with the first solution. Sometimes we have to fight to keep what we want.

Now, these issues are still important, but they aren’t the main focus in this book. There is actually a main antagonist in this book! The missing antagonist wasn’t something I cared for in the first bool. So, I was pretty excited to see Kali and co. go against a force that is more than just internal. One that has a lot more power.

I can’t give too much away because the book would be ruined. Even though I found it easy to figure out who the main antagonist is, it didn’t take away my enjoyment of the book. The action is good, the drama between teammates is realistic, and I found myself rooting for Team Defiance all over again.

The downside? The book ended on a messed up cliffhanger and now I have to wait for a third book to come out. I just hope the virtual underdogs can muster up something amazing!

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