Book Reviews, YA book reviews

Contender: The Challenger (Contender #2) by Tara Matharu – ARC Review

My Rating ~ Five Stars

RELEASE DATE:  14 May 2020

Format: Paperback

Pages: 400

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Source:  Hachette Australia





In a realm of monsters and warriors, Cade is an unwilling contender in a deadly tournament controlled by the brutal alien overlord Abaddon.

Cade may have won the first round but the fight isn’t over yet. For his next battle he must duel a seven-foot-tall, clawed monster – the reigning champion of an alien race.


Desperate for anything that may give him an advantage, Cade sets off on an expedition into the jungle to scavenge weaponry to help him win. But there he is captured by gladiators, and before he knows it he finds himself participating in a deadly new game where the prize is his freedom.





Thank you so much to Hachette Australia for sending me a copy of Contender: The Challenger, in exchange for an honest review!

***As The Challenger is book 2 in the series, there may be spoilers for book 1, The Chosen, in my review!***


There are some things I am all the way there for in books, and prehistoric creatures is firmly in that box.  I really enjoyed the first book, The Chosen, but I absolutely LOVED The Challenger! I think I said it before in my review of the first book, but an author who not only includes dinosaurs in their book, but actually writes about more than just a T-Rex, has my whole heart (not that there’s anything wrong with T-Rexes, of course, just that we rarely get to see some of my other favourites, such as Megalodon and Kronosaurus – this book had both of those and more!)

But, before I get totally sidetracked just fangirling over dinosaurs, let me also say that this book had a brilliant story line with non stop action and adventure.  Where book one felt a little like information overload at times, The Challenger threw us directly into the action.  After the last battle at the end of book one, the remaining characters are trying to recover and find out what they are supposed to do next.  When they discover one of them will need to engage in a terrifying battle, they set out to find armour to give them some advantage. With friendships now firmly formed, I was much more invested in the characters and their fate too.

Once again there were plenty of really interesting history tidbits (I don’t often pause to look things up while reading a novel, but I did a few times here, simply because my interest was piqued over some subjects and I wanted to know more).  With some truly epic battles and more than a few heart pounding moments, I’d recommend picking this series up if you’re looking for something a little different (or simply need a dinosaur fix, like me 😁)



Image from my Instagram account

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