Thursday, June 2, 2011

Gladiator Girl / R. H. Watson

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Speculative Fiction/Science Fiction

Approximate word count: 105-110,000 words

Availability Kindle: YES    Nook: YES    Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon or B&N store


R.H. Watson has studied mime in Paris and driven a cab while studying dance in New York City. A graphic artist, he currently designs websites and lives in the Midwestern United States. Watson did an interview on Kip Poe’s blog I liked 
that had a take on the choice between pursuing a traditional publishing deal or taking the self-publishing route.

I looked at the options, and decided to go with self-publishing. The difference was either spending my time marketing to publishers and agents, or spending my time interacting directly with readers and potential readers. With the changes in the publishing business, it seemed more exciting following the example of independent musicians, and going directly to the readers…

Although I suspect this same rationale applies to other self-published authors, this is the first time I’ve seen it articulated so well. For more, visit Watson’s website.


Lucy Star is the rookie sensation in Blood Battle, a sport made possible by a medical procedure allowing females up to age twenty-five to be reborn after serious injury or death. But Lucy’s secret history threatens her current relationships and even her life.


When William L. K. wrote the guest post for us on character driven science fiction, Gladiator Girl was the kind of book he was talking about as a positive example. The world R.H. Watson set his story in is futuristic, with cars that drive on their own, person-to-person communication that put today’s cell phones to shame, and medical practices beyond anything imaginable in our current world. Yet, when reading Gladiator Girl, the foreignness of this world fell away as I focused on the characters, especially the protagonist Lucy.

Despite Lucy’s almost superhuman skills when playing her sport, it is her human frailties and the fight to overcome them that make her likeable. Lucy’s past makes her leery of meaningful relationships. Her temper often threatens to get the best of her. It is these very human struggles that make Lucy’s story so good, and Gladiator Girl a worthwhile read.


The acknowledgements section contains the clues for sensitive types who might want to stay away from this book. One acknowledgment thanked a friend for many things including “advice on girl-girl sex.” Although not a large part of the book, there are a few sex scenes between Lucy and members of both genders. The author also thanked another friend for his “mastery of the f-bomb” which “informed the cadence of Lucy’s profanity.” Again, this isn’t overdone, but if you’re bothered by any strong language, now you know.

Format/Typo Issues:

There were a small number of typos and wrong words. The most common error was using the wrong word choice for homophones (sound alike words). Examples are “waive” instead of “wave,” “fare” instead of “fair,” and “pealed” instead of “peeled” along with the common “your” versus “you’re” issue.

Rating: **** Four stars


Author Valorie Baker said...

Great rating. I'm gonna check it out.

Anonymous said...

+1 In line for the sequel. :)