Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Review - SLAY by Brittney Morris

Title: SLAY
Author: Brittney Morris
Pages: 323
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Release Date: 3rd October 2019

Blurb from Goodreads:

'We are different ages, genders and traditions ... but tonight we all SLAY'
Black Panther meets Ready Player One. A fierce teen game developer battles a real-life troll intent on ruining the Black Panther-inspired video game she created and the safe community it represents for black gamers.
By day, seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is a college student, and one of the only black kids at Jefferson Academy. By night, she joins hundreds of thousands of black gamers who duel worldwide in the secret online role-playing card game, SLAY.

No one knows Kiera is the game developer - not even her boyfriend, Malcolm. But when a teen in Kansas City is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, the media labels it an exclusionist, racist hub for thugs.

With threats coming from both inside and outside the game, Kiera must fight to save the safe space she's created. But can she protect SLAY without losing herself?

My Review:

*I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Hachette Children's Group and NetGalley*

Seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is one of only a handful of black students at her high school.

No one - not Kiera's boyfriend, sister, parents, or friends - know that Kiera is the developer behind SLAY, an online multiplayer game that Kiera created as a safe place for black gamers.

Previously little known, SLAY is suddenly in the limelight on the news and facing backlash when a teen is murdered over an in-game argument.

The media and internet trolls are demanding that the developer of SLAY, known only as Emerald, comes forward.

Is this the end of SLAY?

Will Kiera's identity be revealed?

I love reading diverse books and books about video games, so SLAY was high on my to-read list.

The concept of SLAY really intrigued me and it made me think more about non-white gamers and their experiences when gaming.

SLAY sounded like a fun game and I liked the cards - I thought they were an interesting and cool idea.

I liked Kiera as a protagonist, but Claire and Steph were my favourite characters.

The plot was good overall, but it did drag a little in places for me. I felt that not much really happened plot-wise, but SLAY did raise some interesting and important questions/themes.

The writing style was engaging and easy to follow most of the time, but there were a couple of occasions when I had to go back and re-read a page because I had missed something.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read.

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