Leon is entering a tournament for gladiators for the first time. He is completely inexperienced except for his training from his youth. Inside the arena, he meets Jason for the first time, the local champion. Leon has to rely on all of his training, with magic and with the sword, to survive the tournament and be a champion.
This was a very quick read. At only 54 pages, it's more of a novella than a full novel, but for all that it did deliver on its promise. The tournament was the sole focus of the story, with hardly any character development or back story. There were brief mentions of Leon's family, and of his training as a child, and that's really it.
Although the inner life of the characters was missing, the action of this book was well written and realistic. As the author noted in his afterword, the tournament structure was easy to follow, and had a nice pacing. I wished as a reader that the story was more fleshed out, with more of Leon's back story, or even of Jason's back story. I also would've liked to know more about some of the other characters that Leon met in the tournament, like the baker he came across while wandering the town. It seems like there might be a love interest there in future installments, but based on what was given to me as a reader, I can't make any assumptions.
Overall, however, it was an entertaining read, and I did enjoy the introduction of magic into the gladiatorial combat.
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