When Qwyne’s brother contracts a lethal illness she enters the Arena - a multi-round fight-to-the-death tournament - to afford the doctor care to save him.
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Drama, Romance
Intended Audience: New Adult (18-25 Years)
Length: Likely Around 45-60 Chapters, 45,000-60,000 Words
When Qwyne’s brother contracts a lethal illness she enters the Arena - a multi-round fight-to-the-death tournament - to afford the doctor care to save him. Her mother, unwilling to lose both her children after already losing her husband, begs Qwyne to reconsider entering, claiming some gains aren’t worth the losses. A man who loved Qwyne since childhood warns her “the Arena changes even the best kinds of people.”
Fixated on saving her brother, Qwyne ignores them and enters. She is given a mask and nickname. She meets a woman named Adya who must follow in her family’s footsteps and survive the first three rounds of the tournament to honor them. They promise to help each other in the Arena and introduce themselves to Aeryne, the previous winner and Qwyne’s idol. He takes interest in Qwyne and tells her to meet him after Round One
Inside the Arena, Qwyne and Adya meet Dray, a wealthy nobody who entered seeking fame. They work together to complete Round One.
Qwyne receives a portion of earnings for completing Round One and gets her brother into a hospital. However, his condition is worse than expected and Qwyne needs more funds to cover his treatment. Qwyne meets with Aeryne and he groups with her as she reluctantly enters the next round.
Aeryne, Qwyne, Adya, and Dray struggle through Round Three. Aeryne and Qwyne bond, relating through poverty-stricken pasts. Due to similar wealthy backgrounds and mutual goals for fame, Adya and Dray also bond. Both couples spend more time around each other and less as a group. They overcome the challenges.
Exhilarated and full of self pride, Qwyne barely survives Round Two and deposits the funds for her brother’s care. With the extra money, she goes on a shopping trip, and experiences the seductive feeling of buying luxurious items. Although she could opt out of the tournament, pocket her earnings, and not risk death she chooses to enter Round Three so she can afford more frivolities.
Aeryne lies to Qwyne, claiming Adya and Dray plan to kill her. Smitten, she believes him and Qwyne and Aeryne kill Adya and Dray. As Adya dies, she tells Qwyne she’s changed. Aeryne and Qwyne survive the round, killing other participants.
Qwyne exits the Arena and fights with her mother, who watched the tournament and tells her she is becoming a monster. Her mother says Qwyne chose money over family by entering Round Three.
Qwyne is so close to achieving riches and fame. She enters the final round of the tournament. The trials are deadly and Qwyne suffers a permanent injury. The competition comes down to her and Aeryne. Aeryne, haunted his past and obsessed with winning, prepares to kill Qwyne. But Qwyne’s desire to rise above her past consumes her and she kills him first.
Qwyne exits the Arena bloodstained, rich, and famous but has ruined her relationships. Even her childhood friend doesn’t want her. She stares at the banners hailing her as winner, regretting entering and letting the Arena change her.
- Qwyne’s main character arc is her learning the fundamental knowledge her mother and friend tried telling her at the beginning of the book that she wasn’t ready to hear: Some gains aren’t worth the losses and violent, greed hungry tournaments like the Arena change even the best kinds of people. The opening and final images express this, since it shows her romanticizing the banners at the beginning of the novel and detesting them at the ending once she has won the tournament.
- The main plot arc for the A story begins with Qwyne’s goal to afford her brother’s medical care but the arc changes in the B story as Qwyne’s new goal becomes winning the tournament, achieving the grand prize and fame granted by victory.
- Set in a post-war cyberpunk dystopian society where citizens live atop man-made floating islands and killing each other for fame, money, and the public’s entertainment is idolized.
- A lesson that a real life battle royale shouldn’t be as romanticized as it has been in current popular culture.