The Eye of the Cyborg, The Thrill of the Fight
Review of Kay: Capital City Arena Champion, Book 4 of EFC
By Tom Pahlow
Filled with action and subtle intrigue, book 4 of Earths Final Chapter introduces gladiator arenas to the world of a post-apocalypse Earth. Surprises and twists are punctuated by gore and the thrill of the fight as we join the audiences of the arena in howling for blood.
In the book, written by Julian Fernandes and Illustrated by Maria F. Loscher, we follow Kay as she fights through the ranks of Capital City’s arena. Along the way, Kay faces threats both inside and outside of bloody gladiatorial combat as attempts are made on her life and shrewd businesspeople bargain with her life.
But all is more than it seems, both with Kay and those around her. Fernandes does a great job of hinting that there is more to Kay than meets the eye. My insatiable need to understand mysteries drove me while reading the book. Who is she? Why is she in the arena? How is she so good? All these questions were tantalisingly dangled in front of me by Fernandes as I devoured this one.
As if my curiosity wasn’t enough to keep me hooked. The book has a nice mixture of intense action with slower exchanges with each side feeling the other out and probing for information. The pacing made me feel for Kay as her life went from adrenaline-inducing fights to the death to subtle conversational fencing. All underpinned by the understanding that Gladiators are merely property to the people of Capital City.
At times the fighting felt a little unbelievable as Kay faced more and more unfavourable odds. Her survival in one particular fight should have been non-existent as she took on the role of a one- woman army. Fernandes used these moments in the interest of building her legendary status and establishing her overwhelming drive to survive. In that context, I can understand the dramatic scaling up of the threats. If I’m being completely honest, while unbelievable, the fight was incredibly exhilarating to read and had me cheering with the crowd for more blood.
As I’ve come to expect from Earths Final Chapter and Fernandes, Kay: Capital City Arena Champion, built on the feeling of a world that is changing. Giving us a glimpse of a larger world, outside of the story and filled with agendas and secrets. It left me with a whole new range of questions that are going to keep me reading EFC for a while yet.