Carnegie Medal winner Theresa Breslin explores the dangerous world of cage-fighting in this dark and powerful new novel.
Escaping from a troubled home and struggling to survive on the streets, the abandoned tunnels of the London Underground are a perfect sanctuary for Kai. Along with other teenagers running from their pasts, he finds somewhere to belong in this strange community of outcasts.
But Kai is now facing a very different kind of fight. Every night, led by the enigmatic Spartacus, the runaways must become cage fighters, each fight broadcast to the outside world via YouTube. With gambling profits from these videos racking up, Kai and his friends hope to be able to start a new life.
Yet treachery and danger are never far behind, and a new arrival threatens the order that Spartacus has worked so carefully to maintain. And then there is the looming finale, the last battle between Kai and his nemesis Leo: the Kill Fight...
As soon as you turn the first page, it will definitely have you focused on the story ahead. Crawling through the darkness will eventually lead you to page one. At this point, the mind will sharpen and flex with these powerful words "Blood has a stale taste. Brings back a memory". You will suddenly find yourself transported into a dangerous world of cage fighting. With a narrative this strong, you will be hooked in like a pro boxer and soon be rocking on the ropes of fantasy in a blink of a punch.
This is a brilliantly written story full of highs and lows over a period of just one week. Within a very short period of time, you will meet the characters and intimately get to know most of them. Their troubled teenage lives and backgrounds pull the narrative together like a vice. Homeless, being alone and afraid, they are all in search for a place to belong, but will they find it?
This story was inspired by an ever increasing number of young people living rough on our city streets. The author skilfully draws together her feelings and emotions into the characters very sensitively - it is a delight to read. The story is very much in keeping with the daily struggles of teenage life, for some young people. The sense of being different is evident and explored within this book; it makes you think about how our minds consider and act upon every day issues. It's a real reality check and one that every reader, regardless of age, should and will connect with. It is very thought provoking.
This is a great social story that captures the bonds of friendships. It is very topical and cool with a dark and edgy killer kick. There is a great sense of wonder and intrigue pulling together contemporary ideas and placing them underneath the mysterious streets of London.
The fighting scenes in the story, perhaps needed a little more work, as they lacked a little bit of realism for me within the story. However, the rest of the plot was fantastic and worked really well; it was maybe a little predictable in places, but so what? The ending was climatic, explosive and tied up all the loose ends very nicely. This is a very satisfying read and one of the best books that I've read from Theresa. It is throughly engaging and is based on a great concept. Great reading and a book, I would really recommend!