I met Alex in a bookshop in Paris several years ago when I was on tour. She was at school then and a fan of Spooks. Now she is at University and over the years I have been very grateful for her help with French translating.   Here is a review I asked her to write of Arena 13.  

Joesph Delaney has always been a highly talented novelist. Having read the "Spooks Apprentice" saga when I was a teenager, I must say I was very curious to discover the universe of Arena 13. I wasn't disappointed! 
Arena 13, the first book in a new saga, allows us to rediscover all the elements that made The Wardstone Chronicles such a great saga: there's the young hero, secrets, a dark universe... 
However Arena 13 is different: it's set in a dystopian world but there are fantastic elements. Moreover, the Arena and the fights can make us think about gladiators in Ancient Rome. 
Joseph Delaney managed to create a new world, he gives us details about the society and all the beliefs and histories concerning the Arena. 
Leif remains mysterious, I really want to know what will happen to him! However, some parts are quite "gory" and that could be a problem for some readers. 
 

Joseph Delaney a toujours été et reste un écrivain talentueux. Ayant lu la saga "l'Apprenti Epouvanteur" étant adolescente j'étais curieuse de dévouvrir l'univers d'Arena 13. Et je n'ai pas été déçue ! 
Dans ce livre, qui marque le début d'une nouvelle saga, nous retrouvons ce qui a fait le succès de l'Apprenti Epouvanteur : un jeune héros, des secrets, un univers sombre...
Mais Arena 13 est différent : l'histoire mêle un monde dystopique au surnaturel et aux "combats de gladiateurs". 
Joseph Delaney réussit à créer un monde totalement nouveau, nous donne des détails sur la société et les croyances entourant l'Arène.  
Leif reste mystérieux, ce qui me donne envie de connaitre la suite de son histoire ! Toutefois, certains passages sont très "sanglants" ce qui pourrait être un frein pour certains lecteurs.