Kirkus Reviews QR Code
FIGHT GAME by Kate Wild


by Kate Wild

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: July 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-439-87175-4
Publisher: Chicken House/Scholastic

Freedom Smith is a direct descendent of Romany boxer extraordinaire Hercules, yet somehow as a result of anti-Gypsy sentiment and prejudice, he finds himself using his innate fight talent to infiltrate an illegal game. Wild’s character development is about on the level of Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider series, yet the suspense is strong as the story develops and the evil management and abuse of the children and even adult fighters becomes clearer. The culture of the Gypsies underpins Freedom’s attitudes in some ways, but never comes across with any vibrancy. Java, a somewhat peripheral female character, provides a balance of background and class in an odd counterpoint to Freedom’s physical agility and heroics. As the source for some of the more unlikely elements at the end, Java joins a cute little sister to add a tender element to the hard-hitting action. Although Freedom claims to use his talent as a last resort, it’s clear that he gets into a zone where the world slows down and pain fails to penetrate in a normal way. If readers see the action as sport, they will likely appreciate how Freedom vanquishes the evil, but for others, the horrible brutality of the situation will be overwhelming. (Fiction. YA)