As an avid fan of UFC, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to read this book. It was my first foray into Women’s Fiction in the subgenre of Sport, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m delighted to be a part of the blog tour, sharing my review with you today.
Aliyah, a mixed race Australian lives a solitary life as a computer specialist in London. She is born with an exceptional intelligence but her gifted mind does little to alleviate the pain she carries inside since her childhood.
One day Aliyah stumbles upon a mixed martial arts gym. Like many fighters before her she finds peace in a sport that is seemingly violent. She takes on training with a military discipline as an easy substitute for any meaningful bond in her life. Her journey to her debut cage fight is challenging, but it does nothing to prepare her for the biggest fight of her life.
Girl Fighter explores the motivations of a mixed martial artist, the challenges of women in combat sport and the unseen struggles of a brain injury survivor.
Night picked the perfect format to tell this story; the first part of the book is the weeks coming up to the fight, and the second part details Aliyah’s life after the fight. What I really appreciated was the direct focus this book has, it does exactly what the blurb states and doesn’t go off on a tangent at any point, making every page an interesting one!
Aliyah came across as a very likeable character, and more importantly, a believable one. This entire novel could easily be placed in the non-fiction category, that’s how much I believed in it and connected with it emotionally. To the outside word, Aliyah appears very closed off, but, as the reader, you are privy to her inner thoughts and the whole picture of her life and so you are able to offer understanding and empathy, where her work colleagues could not. This is a nice reflection of reality, because you cannot see hidden injuries, such as brain trauma, and this is an issue in society today, just because you cannot see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.
Aliyah’s life is very much compartmentalised into two boxes, work and fighting – however, her life is anything but straight forward. After the fight, Night’s portrayal of Aliyah’s injury was very well done, it wasn’t over-written and this, again, allows the reader to believe in the story. You are further engaged in this novel because in the second part, the narration switches from third person to first person and this allows you to experience first-hand the aftermath of the trauma.
When deciding to read this novel, it may help if you have an interest in MMA but it isn’t essential. This novel isn’t laced with fighting, yes, the cage fight is detailed, but I’d say there are only two incidences that are a bit brutal to read. However, Girl Fighter is Aliyah’s journey, coming to terms with her injury and having to re-evaluate her life – a coming-of-age story, if you like, encompassing themes of: women in sport (MMA), brain trauma, and psychology. And for that reason, it may appeal to a wider reading audience.
I really enjoyed this novel, and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to read it. Without hesitation, I would recommend Girl Fighter.
This book is available to buy from: Amazon UK
*My thanks to Cameron Publicity and Marketing Ltd & Anne Cater (Random Things Tour) for providing me with a copy of this book and inviting me to participate in the blog tour*
Cyan Night is a self-professed martial arts junkie with training in Chinese Martial Arts (Wushu), Thai style boxing (Muay Thai), Brazilian Ju Jitsu, Judo, Fencing and MMA. She grew up in Asia, holds degrees in Design and IT from universities in London (where she lived for 61⁄2 years) and currently lives in Melbourne.
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