THIS SERIES IS MEANT TO BE UNREALISTIC FUN. If complete believability is a must, it might not be for you... but if you like the sound of an awesome female brawler standing toe to toe with huge men and monsters in brutal fistfights on sheer toughness and badassery, maybe it is.After winning her spot from a seven foot kickboxer, goth singer and self styled Gothic warrior FreTHIS SERIES IS MEANT TO BE UNREALISTIC FUN. If complete believability is a must, it might not be for you... but if you like the sound of an awesome female brawler standing toe to toe with huge men and monsters in brutal fistfights on sheer toughness and badassery, maybe it is.After winning her spot from a seven foot kickboxer, goth singer and self styled Gothic warrior Freya enters an evil billionaire's underground fighting tournament. She finds herself right at home battling aristocrats, sumos, thugs, ninjas and psycho killers for the title of "greatest in the world." But what will she face if she makes it to the final round against the mysterious Grand Champion?...
|Format Type||:||Kindle Edition|
|Number of Pages||:||30 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Gothic Gladiator Reviews
Like his Last Minute Replacement, which I reviewed earlier this year, this short story is set in the world of organized combat sport, and features a kick-butt female fighter. The differences, though, are significant. That story was an exercise in realistic fiction, and set in the context of legitimate mixed martial arts competition. Our story here is set in the darker context of illegal underground fighting, where the rich and depraved can afford to pay to watch dangerous, no-rules combats that can leave contestants maimed or dead. It also springs from a different kind of pulp tradition: that of outlandish adventure with a protagonist who can handle anything, whether that capability is realistic or not, and with speculative fiction elements as part and parcel of the story. To enjoy it properly, you have to check your reality meter at the door, and sit back for the ride --and Wong takes us on quite a ride! :-)Protagonist Freya Blackstar appears in two earlier stories, Gothic Warrior and the Dark Man and Seeds of Despair, neither of which I've read; it would probably be better to read the stories in order, since some of her earlier adventures are alluded to here, and those stories might explain more of her background. (But as my rating indicates, I enjoyed this one as a stand-alone!) She's a self-styled Goth, and lead singer in a heavy-metal rock band, when she's not fighting. (I don't know a lot about Goth sub-culture, and I'm sure it's not monolithic; in her case, the main attributes seem to be a liking for the color black, and a penchant for dark-themed song lyrics --though in this story, we don't get to "hear' her sing.) While Blackstar isn't a Scandinavian name, her first name, and a few references to Norse mythology, hint at some Viking ancestry. More importantly, she's an extraordinarily strong young woman, with a thick skull, more than usual endurance and will power, considerable hand-to-hand fighting ability, more courage and pride than common sense, and a genuine liking for fighting --not for the pleasure of hurting people, since she's no bully picking on the weak, but for the physical challenge it offers. Fight her fair, in a sportsmanlike way, and she'll reciprocate. Discard the rules of human decency in a fight, and you'll find that though she's no sadist or killer, she can be both ruthless and savage. Either way, she fights to win. Where she's headed in this tale, those qualities will come in handy.Some of the events in this story cross into weird fiction territory (as is the case in the other stories too, apparently), and wouldn't happen in the real world. The illegal fighting tournament run by an evil billionaire is an improbable, melodramatic set-up, an extreme situation to call forth the most primal realities (positive and negative) of human nature and behavior. It's true that not every aspect of the physical combats here is unrealistic. Freya is believably quicker moving than her heavier, more musclebound opponents, keeps her cool in a crisis, and often wins fights by superior smarts and/or by a knack for doing the unexpected. A level of will-power and faith in herself such as she has would genuinely make some difference. So would her sheer fighting skills, which I'm guessing are partly natural and instinctive and partly learned the hard way, in years of street fighting. But several other aspects ARE unrealistic. I've often said that in martial arts movies/TV in general, the long-lasting fights are pure make-believe, to humor audiences who don't want them to end quickly; in real life, no two people could continue to sustain the amount of blows the combatants do and still stand, let alone keep fighting (no matter how gifted they are with will power!). That's also the case here. Fictional Freya could inspire the Energizer bunny to keep "going, and going, and going:" but any real-life counterpart, taking the pummeling she does, would quickly be out of action (and probably unconscious) with broken bones and internal organ and brain damage. (Ditto for most of her opponents.) And while it's certainly possible for a woman to be very strong (as some real-life women demonstrate!), and it doesn't take tall stature to be so (Freya's 5' 7"), it does take some muscles --more of them than the cover art in the other Freya stories suggest that she has, considering that here she's often doing things like lifting more than her own weight, etc. And I'm dubious as to whether any human (man or woman) could perform some of her feats.Fans of this kind of fiction, though, aren't drawn to it to savor the realism, which (at least in these kinds of particulars) is irrelevant. Rather, they want stirring action, with a protagonist they enjoy rooting for. Wong delivers that here, in spades. Most of the characters aren't very three-dimensional (Freya's gentle sidekick, Annabeth, is the best developed of the secondary characters, and the strong depiction of female friendship and loyalty between the two is a real plus here), but Freya's really well-developed as a person, and as the story progresses the reader comes to see her as someone much more positive than just a rough-edged brawling machine. And she has to make some real ethical choices here, before the last page is read --choices with a relevance to real life, that elevate the story. Despite the dark-sounding premise, and a LOT of violence (a couple of instances are grisly, though they're passed over quickly), the tone is actually surprisingly light; we're not afraid for Freya, since we fully expect her to lick any opponent she faces, and her streak of wry humor leavens the proceedings. There's no sexual content here, and only a few bad words, most of them not very rough. (Freya blurts out one of the only two f-words, in a sudden situation of shock and pain; but considering the type of social world she lives in, she's actually usually more clean-mouthed than many of her real-life counterparts probably are.)If you're partial to brave, tough fighting heroines, Freya Blackstar is a walking definition of the type; I think she'll earn an honorable place in your roster of those ladies, as she has in mine! I'm hoping to read more about her, starting with the other two stories listed above.Note: I got this story at a time when it was being given away free on Amazon. (I missed out on an earlier give-away of "Seeds of Despair," thinking it was a novel instead of a short story; the thumping noise in the background is me kicking myself! :-) )