Review: Warrior Girl

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Warrior Girl by Matt Lazar and Amanda ThomasTitle: Warrior Girl
Author: Matt Lazar and Amanda Thomas
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Series: N/A
Stalk the authors: Book Website | Book Facebook | Matt’s Twitter

Summary

A beautiful young Korean girl, Sun Hi Kim, is beginning her first year at Oxford University. Thousands of miles away from home for the first time, she struggles to adjust to a different culture.

Sun Hi befriends two English boys. Miles is a handsome final year student who is also captain of the Oxford rowing team. Adam, a first year student who is also a hunk, hero-worships Miles, his rowing idol. Sun Hi knows that she’s naive and has never had a boyfriend, let alone an English boyfriend. Her first forays into desire very nearly end in disaster.

Between rowing, her studies, boys, and an arrogant roommate, Sun Hi often feels overwhelmed. Playing World of Warcraft is the one thing she can do to escape her problems, at least for a little while.

Review

This isn’t the best book I’ve read this year, but there’s something kind of charming about it. Though the prose is really simple and there’s a lot more telling rather than showing, I felt compelled to keep turning the pages. Maybe it was because I felt I could relate, somewhat, to Sun Hi’s problems. Or maybe it was because I was looking for an extra special something. Whatever the reasons, I finished this book rather quickly. We meet Sun Hi when she’s arriving in Oxford. She’s never been out of Korea before and she knows no one there; feeling ostracized in a new country, Sun Hi’s only solace is World of Warcraft (forever known in the rest of this review as WoW).

Reading the summary of the book, I thought it was going to be this literary YA novel that intertwined the virtual reality of WoW with the real world. I guess I was expecting something like Code Lyoko or .hack//Sign, which would’ve been quite fascinating. However, it was quite grounded in the real world and except for a few passages of game play in the real world, (you never get to be really encompassed in WoW) you would’ve never known about the virtual world. The gamer in me (the gamer hiding deep, deep inside of me) was a bit disappointed with that, but it wasn’t anything that ruined the novel for me.

One of the things that really bothered me were the explanatory things the authors would put in parenthesis. It kind of pulls me away from the world for a bit and I find it annoying. Just because I’ve never lived in England or attended Oxford doesn’t mean I don’t know that Michaelmas term means the winter term. Or that a non-playable character is called NPC. Because the novel seems to be presenting itself to the geekery world with the inclusion of WoW in it’s summary, I had hoped that the authors wouldn’t feel the need to explain certain terms in parenthesis — hey, we watch Doctor Who and Sherlock and we play video games. I’m pretty sure the geekery world knows the terms that are explained and if they’re not familiar, they can always look it up. But I digress.

There was this automatic hatred toward Sun Hi Kim from a character named Kaito Suzuki and I found it interesting. I don’t know what the reasoning behind that was (for more drama?) but it’s freakishly correct and would’ve been more correct if Sun Hi herself felt prejudiced against him. There’s this sort of tension between Koreans and Japanese that I think the Western World is unfamiliar with and reading the novel, some might even be confused. Why the automatic dislike? It stems from World War II, when the Japanese took over Korea and tried to destroy Korean culture and tried to turn them all Japanese. Once the Japanese left, it sort of strained the country and as a result they had their civil war. So the Japanese aren’t Koreans favorite people and the novel tried to justify this hatred because Kaito was a rich boy and he refused to have a peasant be better than him. I think the novel would’ve benefited from seeing a little bit more of the academic competition from the two.

The romance was sweet and took it’s time. I’m so relieved that there were two boys fighting for her attention and yet she wasn’t spending the entire time worrying over who liked her and if so-and-so was going to ask her out. She knew why she was in Oxford and it was refreshing to read a female character keep her head and stay focused on why she was there. There was time for her to get to know each of the men who were vying for her attention and for once it wasn’t the female lead who was struck with love at first sight, but rather the men. And though one pushed themselves onto her, the other realized who she was and — get this — gave her space. I know, it’s a crazy concept in a time where people are ga-ga over 50 Shades of Grey and the idea of a man who doesn’t listen when a woman says, “No.” But it was so sweet and so refreshing, I couldn’t help but not to love the character and hope that Sun Hi chose him.

In short: If you’re looking for a quick, easy read Warrior Girl is for you. It won’t make you scream at the book and give you all the FEELS, but it’s sweet and charming and you won’t regret yourself for reading it.

Recommendations

Anyone looking for a story to read about a soft-spoken character who becomes stronger and more confident at the end. It’s a sort of Cinderella-tale!

Last Words

I’m so glad I received this book when I did. I was so science-fictioned out and was going to break down if someone gave me another sci-fi book to read. This really helped my reading (and writing!) slump. This novel truly was a breath of fresh air for me.

I received this book from the publicist in return for a fair and honest review.

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