Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Gamers (Gamers Series Book 1) - Thomas K Carpenter



Title: Gamers (Gamers Series Book 1)
Author: Thomas K Carpenter
Genre: Sci-Fi
Published: 2011
Formats: Paperback/Ebook

Available at:
Amazon
The Book Depository
Smashwords
Kobo
Amazon UK

"Gamers" by Thomas K. Carpenter is a fun and enjoyable adventure through a world littered with references to video gaming, both modern and classic. As someone who grew up playing video games, I couldn't help but smile throughout the story as I recognised the various references.

The story itself follows the antics of a High School girl named Gabby. High School is this world is based around taking part in LifeGame which is a virtual augmented reality where students receive points based on various actions they may perform throughout the day. The student's score in LifeGame at graduation is then used to decide if they can go on to University or if they are demoted into taking on a "lesser" job. However, Gabby soon discovers there is more to her augmented reality than she ever knew and so begins her adventure to learn the truth whilst still trying to ensure a successful graduation.

I found the novel comprise of two parts, the first part basically set up the world, characters and overall series plot in a relatively slow and detailed manner that had me rather intrigued and interested. Then, the second part develops into an action-packed fast paced adventure through Gabby's graduation test, which takes the form of a Role Play Game (RPG) where she encounters, giants, dragons and many other fantasy related clich├ęs. Both sections of the novel entertained me for rather different reasons. The first part got me hooked into the overall story and the opportunities that may appear in the remaining books of the series, whilst the second part just basically took me on an enjoyable ride through a virtual fantasy world that reminded me strongly of my own online RPG playing days.

One of the warnings I need to make about the book though is in relation to the language used. The story is infused with quite a lot of Massive Multiplayer Online Role Play Game (MMORPG) terminology that could be very confusing to someone who has not been involved in some of the more hardcore online RPG games. I managed to understand most of it but if for example the word "Debuff" means very little to you then you are probably going to struggle a little to follow the story. Personally, I enjoyed this use of online slang, but my wife constantly tells me I am gaming geek so that could be why.

The only issue I personally had with the novel was probably in relation to the characters themselves. They all just felt a little bit flat and un-developed, even Gabby herself didn't mean much more to me that being an intelligent hacker caricature. Some of the issue here is that the characters can change their appearance, roles and so much more based on which aspect of LifeGame there are in, therefore it is hard to really find a core personality beneath it all. I just hope that in the sequel we get to see more of the "real world" and gain a better understanding of the characters themselves.

Overall, I found this to be a fun, light hearted adventure story that offers the opportunity of a deeper and more dystopian outlook in future novels. If you are someone who has been involved in playing MMORPG over the years then I suspect you will find aspects of this book to be highly entertaining and enjoyable. The whole thing felt a little bit different from many other dystopian books which I appreciated and I now look forward to reading the sequel.

Challenges Book Counts Towards:
Ebook Reading Challenge (The Eclectic Bookshelf)
Ebook Reading Challenge (Workaday Reads)
Free Reads Challenge
Speculative Fiction Challenge