They echo ominously in the darkness as they get closer. There is a rattling of keys, and the door to my cell is pushed open. Light floods the interior, and I raise my hands to my eyes, blinded. They are tall and muscular, and looked to be dressed in slaverunner uniforms, with their black face masks.
I slowly lower my hands as my eyes adjust. There are five of them. The one standing in the center silently holds out a pair of open handcuffs. It seems they are waiting to take me somewhere. I quickly survey my cell, now that it is flooded with light, and see it is a simple room, ten by ten feet, with steel floors and walls, and nothing in it to speak of. And no way to escape. I slowly run my hands along my waist and feel that my weapon belt has been stripped and taken away. It would be no use in trying to fight these soldiers, who are well-armed. Either way, this will be my ticket out of here.
I walk slowly to them and turn around.
I feel the cold, metal cuffs clamp down on my wrists, way too tightly. Then I am grabbed from behind, by my shirt, and given a shove out into the corridor. I stumble down the corridor, the slaverunners right behind me, their boots echoing like a group of Gestapos. The halls are sporadically lit by dim emergency lights, every twenty feet or so, and each offers just enough light to see by. It is a long, sterile, hallway, with metal floors and walls. I am shoved again, and increase my pace.
Each step is agony, as my body protests, but the more I walk, the more the stiffness begins to loosen. I am surprised to see that the room is filled with hundreds of slaverunners. They are lined up in neat rows along the walls, forming a semi-circle, dressed in their black uniforms and facemasks. We must still be underground somewhere, as I spot no windows or natural light, the gloomy room lit only by torches placed along the walls. They crackle in the silence. In the center of the room, on the far side, is what I can only describe as a throne—an enormous chair built atop a makeshift wooden platform.
On this chair sits a single man, clearly their leader. He looks young, maybe in his 30s, yet has an odd shock of white hair, sticking straight up and extending out in every direction, like a mad scientist. He wears an elaborate uniform made of green velvet, with military buttons all along it, and high collars framing his neck.
He has large, grey, lifeless eyes, which bulge open and stare back at me.
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He looks like a maniac. I stumble forward, towards the center of the room, and am guided to stand before their leader. I stand about ten yards away, looking up at him, the slaverunners standing guard behind me.
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I scan the room for any sign of Bree, or Ben, or his brother. There is no one. I am alone. I wait patiently in the tense silence, as the leader looks me up and down. There is nothing I can do but wait. Apparently, my fate is now in the hands of this man. He looks at me as if I were a thing of prey, and then, after what feels like forever, he surprises me by slowly breaking into a smile.
It is more of a sneer, marred by the huge scar running along his cheek. He begins to laugh, deeper and deeper.
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He stares down at me with glistening eyes. He voice is unnaturally gravelly and deep, as if it belongs to a hundred-year-old man. I stare back, not knowing how to respond. You are the one that managed to chase us all the way into the city. Into MY city. New York is mine now. Did you know that? He clutches the arms of the chair and I can see his arms trembling. He slowly shakes his head. Or come all the way down to my home. You knew it would mean certain death.
Arena One: Slaverunners (Book #1 of the Survival Trilogy)
And yet still, you came. As he stares at me, summing me up, I feel more and more uncomfortable, bracing myself for whatever is to come. A stupid, young girl. Not even big, or strong. With hardly any weapons to speak of. How can it be that you killed so many of my men? That is what is valuable in this world.
Yes, that is what is valuable. How could you? This is MY city! He sits there, trembling, for what feels like forever. My sense of apprehension deepens; clearly, my fate is the hands of a maniac. Finally, he clears his throat. Almost like mine. I admire it. It is enough to make me want to kill you quickly, instead of slowly. Yes, you are just like me. Few have managed to survive out there, all these years. Few have such spirit…. So, instead of executing you now, as you deserve, I am going to reward you. They are careful to avoid the gangs of slaverunners who patrol the countryside.
But one day, Brooke is not as careful as she can be, and Bree is captured. The slaverunners take her away, heading to the city, and to what will be a certain death. Brooke, a Marine s daughter, was raised to be tough, to never back down from a fight. When her sister is taken, Brooke mobilizes, uses everything at her disposal to chase down the slaverunners and get her sister back.
Along the way she runs into Ben, 17, another survivor like her, whose brother was taken. Together, they team up on their rescue mission. What follows is a post-apocalyptic, action-packed thriller, as the two of them pursue the slaverunners on the most dangerous ride of their lives, following them deep into the heart of New York. Along the way, if they are to survive, they will have to make some of the hardest choices and sacrifices of their lives, encountering obstacles neither of them had expected including their unexpected feelings for each other.
Will they rescue their siblings? Will they make it back? And will they, themselves, have to fight in the arena? Grabbed my attention from the beginning and did not let go. This story is an amazing adventure that is fast paced and action packed from the very beginning. There is not a dull moment to be found.
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I never thought it would be something I would enjoy. Well, I was very pleasantly surprised at how addicting this book was. ARENA ONE was one of those books that you read late into the night until your eyes start to cross because you don't want to put it down. It is no secret that I love strong heroines in the books I read.