A fast-paced and gripping near-future science fiction debut about the gritty world of competitive gaming….
Every week Kali Ling fights to the death on national TV.
She's died hundreds of times. And it never gets easier....
The RAGE tournaments - the Virtual Gaming League's elite competition where the best gamers in the world compete in a no-holds-barred fight to the digital death. Every bloody kill is broadcast to millions. Every player is a modern gladiator - leading a life of ultimate fame, responsible only for entertaining the masses.
And though their weapons and armor are digital, the pain is real.
Chosen to be the first female captain in RAGE tournament history, Kali Ling is at the top of the world - until one of her teammates overdoses. Now she must confront the truth about the tournament. Because it is much more than a game - and even in the real world, not everything is as it seems.
The VGL hides dark secrets. And the only way to change the rules is to fight from the inside....
©2016 Holly Jennings (P)2016 Penguin Audio
this book was essentially a harlequin romance novel with some gaming sprinkled on top, which is fine if that's what you like, but it's not what I was looking for.
It's a refreshing take on a classic over-corporatized, virtual reality future and a compelling read about self discovery in a world of competitive virtual reality gaming. Tackling corruption, philosophy, teamwork, over commercialization, and duality of a real world/game world interface, the question isn't really will they win the championship, but what will they learn about themselves while they compete?
It isn't standard hyper violent, noir mystery, dark future. It's just a pro athlete being her best in a sport anyone familiar with Playstations, Xboxes, and MMOs can understand.
I really wanted to like this. Being a gamer I thought this would be right up my alley. It started off that way but quickly turned into a young adult love story fill with teen angst and confusion. I don't mind love stories in books but the author seemed to have diverged from it being a book about a futuristic eSports team to a very detailed, gushy love story in the previous setting. It was too much for me, I did a lot of eye-rolling.
Also, the author doesn't seem, at least to me, to be a gaming enthusiast at all. They make game references as if they were taken off of the early history of video games wiki page. Sure, you'll get classic mentions like Mario, Zelda, Street Fighter but then no references to anything in between those classics and this future where eSports have taken over. What about all of the current eSport games or basically anything else modern, which would in fact be classics by the time this book takes place. I think this issue really hit home when the author finally mentioned something somewhat modern when she said (paraphrasing) "people were dressed up as Halo soldiers". Really? Can you at least look online to get their correct name, "Spartans"?
If some of the over-the-top romance could be cut out I think there is a very solid book here despite my issues with lack of solid gaming knowledge.
TL;DR: Was looking for something along the lines of Ready Player One, instead got Divergent in a video game setting written by someone who clearly is not up to date on gaming.
P.S. The writing was fine and the narrator was very good.
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