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The Pros: The narrative arc is handled well, despite being kinda cliché. The main character is written fairly well. The fight scenes are nicely done--really, that's the strongest part of the book. They held my interest.
The Cons: The story can't figure out what it is. The fight scenes are too infrequent and mostly too quick to really be a novel about MMA stuff, but the main body of the story--the narrator's descent into stripping--isn't very sexy. It's like a porn film shot as a PG-13 movie. By the time something dramatic happened narratively (about 60% of the way into the story) I had gotten too bored to care and gave up. Although several of the characters are strippers, the scenes of them actually doing anything sexy are written as if the author doesn't actually find strippers hot and so he gets through the scenes quickly, with minimal description and no sex. It's like the author is a straight guy reluctantly trying to write for a gay and female audience
So if you're buying this hoping for sexytimes, there really aren't any (at least not in the first 2/3s of the story). If you're buying it for a gripping novel about fighting matches, you're gonna have a lot of talk about being a stripper to skip over.
Those who read the book blurb might expect a story full of steamy descriptions of oiled up men and their conquests. This is not that book. I wish I could edit the description for this one...
The main character, Aaron Glass, just wants to fight. His day job won't pay for the training he desperately wants, and when he's offered a chance to make some extra money stripping, he takes it. Aaron suffers a trauma, and struggles with PTSD. He messes up, tries again, keeps working toward his dream. The stripping scenes are matter of fact, while the fight scenes are focused more on Aaron's thoughts and the choreography of the moves.
The ending was a bit abrupt. I'd have appreciated one more chapter.
The big question for me is always, "Would I read more from this author?" Yes. I liked the writing style. I'll be interested to see what else this author comes up with.
The opener was so good that it drew me into a world I would never normally enter. Aaron Glass I do not understand, but he makes a sound friend and an awful enemy. His world is one that leaves me bewildered. And none of that spoils a fast paced and solid read