- Looking For Group by Alexis Hall
Looking For Group by Alexis HallHot
So, yeah, I play Heroes of Legend, y’know, the MMO. I’m not like obsessed or addicted or anything. It’s just a game. Anyway, there was this girl in my guild who I really liked because she was funny and nerdy and a great healer. Of course, my mates thought it was hilarious I was into someone I’d met online. And they thought it was even more hilarious when she turned out to be a boy IRL. But the joke’s on them because I still really like him.
And now that we’re together, it’s going pretty well. Except sometimes I think Kit—that’s his name, sorry I didn’t mention that—spends way too much time in HoL. I know he has friends in the guild, but he has me now, and my friends, and everyone knows people you meet online aren’t real. I mean. Not Kit. Kit's real. Obviously.
Oh, I’m Drew, by the way. This is sort of my story. About how I messed up some stuff and figured out some stuff. And fell in love and stuff.
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So, my own personal Geekdom is for books and movies, not games, so I wasn't sure whether that would be an issue or not, going into this one. It was. Yes, there is a glossary, but I don't read the contents page (because, why do you need to, really?) and I didn't realise there would be one to help me navigate the Gamer Talk. At the same time, having it at the end of the book was kind of counter-productive, because it was all over by then and I didn't know I could have flicked back and forth to check definitions. Maybe if it had been mentioned somewhere that it was a must-read for non-gamers or if it had been at the beginning, to be studied beforehand, things would have made more sense.
Another thing that confused me was the 1st person blurb, only to delve into a 3rd person story that read more like a 1st person in the wrong tense. The flighty thought process of Drew's teenage-indecisive mind didn't belong in 3rd person the way it was used. If there's going to be a 1st person blurb, then the book needs to be 1st as well, otherwise you end up feeling how I did – confused and disappointed, because I'd set myself up for one thing only to be handed another.
We started off straight into Game Land (as I'll refer to it from now on, because it's simpler that way). We had a request for a new team member, then Drew, our MC, filling out the application and giving us a little history as to why he was moving teams. This was all fine (except for the jargon that didn't make any sense to me) but there was one big formatting issue – fonts. Now, normally I don't notice fonts when I read a book and this is honestly the first time I've ever mentioned them in a review. But it's necessary, because on page 1 alone we have 3 different fonts, two utilising bold. This was a problem in two ways – 1, it was one form for one application, so I don't understand why it had to be in three fonts in the first place and 2, because it messed with my eyes. Seriously, reading those first few pages made me tired and burned my eyes, because I'd just grown used to reading one font when another one made it's way into the page.
All throughout the book, (after the first few pages) there are only 2 fonts used – the one for Game Land and the overall story. I get why they have to be different and it works, mostly, but it was still a lot to take in, initially. Also, the intro to the Game Land characters wasn't easy or simple; about a dozen were thrown at us on the first go and it was hard to keep track of who went by what name and, later, which Screen Name belonged to which Real Name.
So, in these aspects, I found the book hard to read and follow. I'm only taking off one star because the rest of the story made up for it and, after a while, I stopped reading the whole [group] [Orcarella] stuff and trying to figure out who was who. It was far easier to jumble them all up into one [Team] and ignore the nuances. The only two I kept track of were the two MC's [Orcarella] Drew and [Solace] Kit. And, quite honestly, I would feel like even saying that would be giving too much away, but it's already given away in the blurb. Which is another thing that said too much.
So, quick run down of the Cons:
- Game Land was confusing to navigate, for a non-gamer
- too many fonts
- the Lingo was confusing without the help of a glossary (which you can argue I was too blind to see, but really, who reads a contents page anymore? I didn't know that I had to be immersed in the gaming world to understand half the stuff talked about in the story, so I didn't know to read Gaming for Dummies beforehand.)
- Chapter 1 took 11%, which is a little excessive, even for a 300+ page book.
- The excessive use of 'noon' 'nerf' got irritating after a while.
Onto the Pros:
- I loves the chapter headers and dividers and how they linked into the title.
- The characters were fun and interesting to read about
- the attention to detail in the Game (whether it's real or made up doesn't matter; it still took a lot of effort and attention to get it into that kind of detail) was incredible
- Gamers would love it
When it comes to characters, I grew to like and then love Drew. He was geeky, fun and had a life outside of his gaming world, but he was also overreactive, emotional and grumpy, which made for interesting reading. On the flip side, Kit is his complete opposite. Still a gamer, he's shy, subdued and doesn't have a life outside of his gaming world, but he's okay with that. He's cool, calm and collected, but can be emotional when things pile up on him. Together, they were a cute couple and it was always fun to see them so self assured in Game Land but so nervous and uncertain in Real Life.
And, yes, this is a story entirely suitable for YA readers. There's no hanky panky on page. Which seemed to fit with both characters and was a nice change. There was some really cute flirting, good giggles and a lot of banter, with some super cheesy, geeky lines/jokes thrown in quite frequently at the beginning.
I'd say the book is a story of two halves. For the first half, Drew and Kit are finding their way in Game Land and with each other. That's where all the fun stuff happens, including a very nicely handled freak out about whether or not Solace was a boy or girl and then the realisation that Solace is a He and how Drew was going to handle that. However, on the flip side, the second half is much darker and more emotional. That's where things get serious, unsure and heavy; where the bad stuff happens.
Overall, if you're a gamer, then you're going to love everything about this story. If not, then maybe read the Glossary first. Without it, you'll feel like you're flailing through half the book and constantly wondering if you're missing out on some deeper/hidden meaning, because you don't know what the heck they're talking about.
On the plus side, the awkward teen part, the romance and the acting Game Playing was a lot of fun to read. The drama and the challenges not so much fun, but character building and just as important as the fun stuff.
A solid 4, but could have been a 5 without the confusion.