Gladiator (The Arena Book 1) by Casey Lea (Book Review)

One Arena. One Love. ONE DAY.

Happy-ever-after is never guaranteed but that’s the gladiator’s mission. It wasn’t his plan to fight to the death, but plans change. When Harvesters steal his wife, he tracks them down. The hunt takes all of his money and most of his self-control, but she’s worth it. He joins her as a slave forced to fight for his life without hesitation.

His wife is a deadly warrior, so it’s too bad she doesn’t know him. Memory stripped and struggling to survive she has no interest in the fool claiming to be her husband. He’s just another target standing between her and freedom, but not for long. She’ll take down anything and anyone in her way.

Can the gladiator live long enough to win his wife’s love? Unlikely. It’s the end of the season and the final day of fighting. They’re about to enter the Carnival of Death which leaves only a single survivor.

One of them must die.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 


Imagine waking up and not knowing who you are, what species you are, where you are, or how you got there. That’s how Gladiator (The Arena Book 1) by Casey Lea begins. Haze’s com (nicknamed Connie) informs him that he is on the slave-trading planet Vertigo. It claims he’s seeking work in the arena as a gladiator. Haze is confused. Nothing makes sense. 

Slowly, snippets of who he is resurface and, with it, a name. Silk is his wife, and he’s on a mission to find her. The path takes him to the Carnival of Death, a battle where many walk in, but only one will leave…alive. 

Haze will do anything, sacrifice anything to ensure Silk makes it to the center of the area (the maze) and claim the prize, the knife. However, there are several obstacles in Haze’s way. For one: the other contestants vary in size and species from an enormous dragon to a scrawny guy. Two, he has to face non-contestants who love to snack on the fighters: eels and wolves. Thirdly, there’s Umpyre, the guard of law, who is a stickler for following the rules he made up. And finally, the most challenging obstacle of all, Haze’s wife, Silk, doesn’t remember her hubby. 

The cards are stacked against Haze, but he is a tenacious S.O.B. He will battle creatures, contestants, and even his wife’s stubbornness. I won’t disclose what Haze is, but he’s not your typical lawyer. He puts fear in many, and you’ll understand why once you see him lose control. 

Many shall enter. Only one is supposed to win. The road to victory was hard. The fights were intense, bloody, and brilliantly written. 

There were several shocking developments as the day came to a close. I did not see the twists coming. I was left stunned, like the characters in the book. 

Who survives 24 hours of hell, aka the maze cut out of stone? That question will only be answered by reading the book. So read it! 

The story did end with a set-up for a sequel. I can’t wait to read it as well!


Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤1/2

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Meet the Authors

Casey Lea is the pen name for a mother and daughter creative duo, dedicated to sharing their passion for all things sci-fi and fantastical.

A doting grandmother with too much time on her hands took the opportunity to put pen to paper.  Her older daughter kindly placed the resulting scribblings in one of those new-fangled so-called “computing machines” and a writing partnership was born.

The Lea (pronounced Lee) half of Casey Lea now spends her days wrestling with words and her memory while reading aloud to any cat careless enough to settle nearby. Daughter Casey edits the results while wrangling her adorable offspring.

After a decade on the rollercoaster ride of indie publishing their shared passion for epic love and grand adventure, spiced with advanced tech and ancient magic, remains undimmed.


You can find us at:

Sci-fi Fantasy Authors /
Casey Lea | Facebook
 Casey Lea (@CaseyLeaBooks) / Twitter




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