Author: Fonda Lee
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Publication Date: April 8, 2015
Format: Paperback, 360 Pages
ISBN-10: 0738743380 (Flux)
ISBN-13: 978-0738743387 (Flux)
Reviewed by: Zed
A rising star in the weightless combat sport of zeroboxing, Carr “the Raptor” Luka dreams of winning the championship title. Recognizing his talent, the Zero Gravity Fighting Association assigns Risha, an ambitious and beautiful Martian colonist, to be his brandhelm––a personal marketing strategist. It isn’t long before she’s made Carr into a popular celebrity and stolen his heart along the way.
As his fame grows, Carr becomes an inspirational hero on Earth, a once-great planet that’s fallen into the shadow of its more prosperous colonies. But when Carr discovers a far-reaching criminal scheme, he becomes the keeper of a devastating secret. Not only will his choices put everything he cares about in jeopardy, but they may also spill the violence from the sports arena into the solar system.
Quick & Dirty: Gravity-defying solar sports contests and a life altering secret.
Opening Sentence: Carr Luka woke from a nap three hours before his fight.
I am not a fan of any kind of sport, whether it’s football, basketball or golf, and although this book is based on a sport called ‘zeroboxing’ it had me hooked. Zeroboxing isn’t any sport you’ve heard of before, it’s an inter-planet sport that is like boxing but without gravity! This story is set on Valtego; which is best described as a sort of space-station in between Earth and Mars. I was fascinated by the concept of a gravity-defying sport that’s played on multiple planets.
Blake shook his head. “You’ve never been to that place, Carr.” Was it a good or bad sign that he was weirdly at ease, his eyes distant? “Where you know you can’t win…but you can decide not to lose.”
Carr Luka is training as a professional zeroboxer and despite his young age, he’s racing his way to the top. Life seems to be perfect for Carr; he’s excelling in his career, has a lovely girlfriend and just landed a solid contract with The Martian. Just as his dreams are coming true he learns a secret that shatters his self-pride and could cost him everything: his career, the love of his life and his dream.
Carr drank in the sight, letting its sweet flavour infuse his euphoria. Victory was a better high than a hundred bliss bombs. Perfect and real, lasting for days, even weeks, before being polished and stored in its own special nook of his soul, each win in his collection unique and everlasting, wanting nothing except more neighbours.
I loved the way this story is written: the author’s descriptions of Carr’s feelings, the fights themselves, how the planet’s look. It was all described brilliantly. Sometimes you can read the perfect storyline but the writing will let you down but in this case, even the dullest of events are depicted excellently.
Now he was on the up again. Attention could be good or bad, he decided, but it didn’t really matter. “Fighting isn’t a popularity contest,” he said.
Onto Carr himself; he’s an excellent protagonist: kind, hardworking and most of all, determined to succeed. The secret he uncovers devastates him (no spoilers), mainly because Carr has worked tirelessly to win and he’s so proud of this so it’s unfair to see how quickly one truth could take it all away! This could destroy not only his life, but of those he holds dear.
“You were perfect.”
“What do you mean? I didn’t do anything.”
“You looked confident, you paid attention, you were serious, but funny, and you didn’t act like a prima donna or a jerk. You have no idea how rare that is, for a sports celebrity?”
Once Carr learns of the truth, he struggles with what he should do. He’s come too far to go back but the guilt is eating him away. Can he give up his life’s work or will he continue to live in fear? Whatever the decision, everything as he knows it has changed…
This is a fantastic read and it surprised me how much I enjoyed it and I hope you give it a chance too!
A shudder of distaste ran through Carr, along with a strange and immense fatigue. Why was all this happening to him? There was a time, not that long ago, when things were a lot simpler. When he knew who he was, and what he wanted, and the world seemed like the sort of place that would reward him if he worked hard enough, and each step he took went forward, toward something better.
FTC Advisory: Flux provided me with a copy of Zeroboxer. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.