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…
Description taken from Goodreads.
What saved this book was the fact that it reminded me of Sword Art Online’s second season, which, let’s face it, was a huge disappointment compared to the first season.
It wasn’t bad, but…
Yeah, let’s just leave it at that.
The opening scene, despite all the things that were wrong with the opening scenes, were nostalgic for me. I ended up enjoying a lot of what people disliked about the world and the setting that the characters were in. The action scenes were intense, the world-building wasn’t too detailed and I liked Kali’s character just enough.
And then we hit limbo state.
That was right after Kali’s teammate died. This is when everything I had liked about the book initially came to a slow, and this became just another unfortunate attempt at writing video game futures in books. Right after Kali’s teammate overdoses, the team gets a brand new member who happens to be the new love interest. And of course Kali falls in love with him right away.
Limbo continued right through the beginning of the real plot, when Kali and the new guy are forced to start dating for the cameras.
Limbo goes through Kali’s poor attempt at character growth, all with the help of her new “friend”.
I think this would be a good time to mention that this isn’t YA at all; it’s NA through and through. That means that not only is Kali older than I thought (but still acts like she’s 15) but she gets lots of up close and personal time with said friend. YA readers, this is probably not your book if you don’t usually read NA.
Limbo is broken when Kali emerges from her character growth and is actually a somewhat likable person. She was still contrived, and I couldn’t let of her reaction after the shock of her teammate’s death, but I came to terms with her. She grew into herself, and I loved the way that she came back stronger than before. The ends justify the means?
Part of me thinks that she just used the new guy, Rooke, but I was really entertained by the book after that point. There were great mystery and suspense points to the story, and while the story is fast-paced and fun, it also hit on important topics that come up with the gaming industry.
All in all, this was a frustrating but ultimately likable story. In this case, it’s very much a “it’s me, not the book” moment. I will be recommending this one, but it wasn’t one that I personally loved. The narrative was well-written and the plot was fantastic, but the romance and the main character got to me. For me, it was a good one-time read. 2.5 stars.