SYNOPSIS: After years of drifting through post-college life Russell joins Black Arts, a video game developer founded by friends of his from high school. He is unexpectedly thrust into a leadership role and forced to solve the mystery behind a bug that could ruin the new game and have more far-reaching consequences besides…
PROS: Written by someone with experience in the field; gives a sense of appreciation for things largely taken for granted in video games.
CONS: Nostalgia is expected to carry much of the book; very little conflict; uninteresting and shallow characters; confusing format and perspective shifts.
BOTTOM LINE: There is probably enough decent material here to fill a movie, definitely not enough to float a 400 page novel. There’s too much nostalgia and not enough substance.
You get a package in the mail from SF Signal. You rip it open, it’s Christmas in May! Inside is a hardbound copy of Austin Grossman’s latest novel, a fictional look inside the world of professional game makers. You’re excited to begin reading it. You haven’t read Austin’s Soon I Will Be Invincible but it sits on your overflowing shelf. You’ve seen some great review for Austin’s latest, comparing it to Ready Player One by Ernest Clines and Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club. You have read (and loved) The Magicians and The Magician King, books written by Austin’s brother Lev Grossman. You are anxious to begin and so you curl up on the hideous burnt orange couch in the living room and start reading…
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