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Arena Review

Wow! Wow! Wow! It’s been about a month since I finished Arena by Karen Hancock, and still I’m struggling to find the words to describe how much I loved this book. This is the 20th anniversary edition, and I can certainly see why it stood the test of time! From superb world-building, to a perfectly-paced plot to the captivating writing style to an amazing cast of characters (and character arcs!!!) to the exquisitely-handled allegory, every aspect of Arena was absolutely stellar.

I really loved Callie as a main character—she was perfect for this story and her responses to all the craziness around her, as well as her personal growth were natural and served the story so well.

The supporting cast was varied and lively, each person adding something special without taking over. All characters remained distinct, which was really impressive considering there were so many. I think my favourite thing about the supporting characters was the camaraderie between them all. Their interactions were natural, realistic, and entertaining.

I enjoyed the subtle, but beautiful romantic thread. The characters really grew together as their relationship progressed, and it really added levels of light-heartedness, as well as depth, exactly when needed.

The world-building was absolutely stunning! Immersive and brilliant, Arena will take you through a variety of fascinating landscapes—some familiar, some far from it!

I’d recommend it to fans of Ronie Kendig and Nadine Brandes, as well as anyone who enjoys sci-fi or fantasy.

Note: I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit tours. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.


To celebrate her tour, Karen is giving away the grand prize of a $40 Amazon gift card and signed copy of Arena!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter (US residents only).

About the Book

Book: Arena

Author: Karen Hancock

Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: April 16, 2022

A Journey She Did Not Choose Will Change Her Life Forever

Transported surreptitiously to a terrifying alien world, with limited resources and only a few cryptic words to guide her, Callie Hayes finds herself engulfed in a perilous battle for freedom – for her very life. After agreeing to participate in a routine psychology research experiment, she must unravel the mysteries shrouding her only route of escape or risk succumbing to the deadly deception of the Arena.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Karen Hancock has won Christy Awards for each of her first four novels—Arena and the first three books in the Legends of the Guardian-King series, The Light of Eidon, The Shadow Within, and Shadow over Kiriath. She graduated from the University of Arizona with bachelor’s degrees in biology and wildlife biology. Along with writing, she is a semi-professional watercolorist and has exhibited her work in a number of national juried shows. She and her family reside in Arizona.

More from Karen

Arena was not my first novel. The Light of Eidon was. In those days, however, Christian publishers were not interested in the fantasy genre because it had too much magic and wizards and such, despite the publication of the works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. They were softening to science fiction, however, and thanks to Kathy Tyers, Randy Ingermanson, John Olson and others the door was opened in 2001 for what is called “speculative fiction.” Arena fit right in, and was published by Bethany House in 2002. It went on to win a Christy Award, which started the ball rolling for the Guardian King series. Three out of the four Guardian King books in that series also won Christy Awards, at which point I was the first speculative fiction author inducted into the Christy Award Hall of Fame in 2013.

I am thrilled to have Arena appear again in this 20th anniversary edition with a new cover and in limited-edition hardcover. Oasis Audio will also be producing the audiobook, for the first time, so it can be available for every type of reader.

Blog Stops

Inside the Wong Mind, April 30

For the Love of Literature, May 1 (Spotlight)

Rachael’s Inkwell, May 1

Beauty in the Binding, May 2 (Spotlight)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 2

Texas Book-aholic, May 3

Inklings and notions, May 4

For Him and My Family, May 5

deb’s Book Review, May 6

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 7

Tell Tale Book Reviews, May 8

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 9

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 10

Blogging With Carol, May 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 12

Through the Fire Blogs, May 13

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