Sunday, May 11, 2014

Caged Warrior by Alan Sitomer

Caged Warrior
Author: Alan Lawrence Sitomer
Publication: May 13, 2014
By: Disney-Hyperion 
3 Stars

McCutcheon Daniels' life is full of bone-cracking violence. As a star fighter in the gritty underground Mixed Martial Arts circuit in the poorest section of Detroit, McCutcheon fights under the tutelage of his volatile and violent father, not so much for himself but to survive as protector of his beloved five-year old sister, Gemma. We get to know McCutcheon as he battles opponents who are literally trying to kill him. Mr. Freedman, his science teacher, spots his intellectual potential, befriends him, and encourages him to enter the lottery for a scholarship to an elite charter school so he can obtain a first-class education. He is at first dead-set against the idea, and of course his tyrannical father forbids it. But the school's headmaster, Kaitlyn, a student assigned to be his guide, and Mr. Freedman continue to encourage him to consider it.

His father and the Priests, the local Mafia-like crew that run Detroit's organized crime, have other plans for McCutcheon. For them, he is simply a tool to make them money. And when that cash flow is threatened, his father hits McCutcheon where it hurts most-he hides Gemma and threatens his own son that he'll never see his beloved sister again if he doesn't play by the Priests' rules.

For the first time in his life, McCutcheon reaches out for help. Mr. Freedman turns out to have a very mysterious past and not only helps McCutcheon find his sister but also his mother who had simply disappeared on McCutcheon's 13th birthday. All seems well, but happy endings aren't really something McCutcheon feels he can rely on. And he may be right.

A ferocious novel, Caged Warrior is like a great fight movie, a tour-de-force of relentless conflict, but one that is leavened with rich characters and meaningful and loving relationships.

That's it? was my initial reaction when I reached the end. I thought this was a stand alone but that ending makes me wonder...

Caged Warrior is well-written, action packed and too fast paced at times. I liked "Doc" a lot and was really happy to see a character who was not only good at his sport but intelligent too. His discipline and his devotion to his little sister was commendable as well.

My issues with this story lie in how fast and how easily the conflict wrapped up. And the "romance" was virtually non existent, blink, and you'll miss it altogether.

I guess I was expecting more from this. More grit, more fight, more relationship development and definitely more blood. This IS about MMA fighters after all.

1 comment:

  1. I'm really confused by the book description. Is that the whole book? Is there something else that is going to happen? I feel like... the description sums everything up... Also, I like romance, but I also like blinking.