BLOG TOUR - DON'T READ THE COMMENTS **
DON'T READ THE COMMENTS
Harlequin Teen have so very kindly given me access to the ARC of Don't Read the Comments by Eric Smith and asked me to participate in their official BLOG TOUR! I was actually in the manic period of a new job when this book came out (28th Jan) so I didn't manage to post in time for it (perhaps a good thing considering my star rating!) but as I'm catching up with my reading in Quarantine I thought I'd post it today instead.
Slay meets Eliza and Her Monsters in Eric Smith’s Don't Read the Comments, an #ownvoices story in which two teen gamers find their virtual worlds—and blossoming romance—invaded by the real-world issues of trolling and doxing in the gaming community.
Divya Sharma is a queen. Or she is when she’s playing Reclaim the Sun, the year’s hottest online game. Divya—better known as popular streaming gamer D1V—regularly leads her #AngstArmada on quests through the game’s vast and gorgeous virtual universe. But for Divya, this is more than just a game. Out in the real world, she’s trading her rising-star status for sponsorships to help her struggling single mom pay the rent.
Gaming is basically Aaron Jericho’s entire life. Much to his mother’s frustration, Aaron has zero interest in becoming a doctor like her, and spends his free time writing games for a local developer. At least he can escape into Reclaim the Sun—and with a trillion worlds to explore, disappearing should be easy. But to his surprise, he somehow ends up on the same remote planet as celebrity gamer D1V.
At home, Divya and Aaron grapple with their problems alone, but in the game, they have each other to face infinite new worlds…and the growing legion of trolls populating them. Soon the virtual harassment seeps into reality when a group called the Vox Populi begin launching real-world doxxing campaigns, threatening Aaron’s dreams and Divya’s actual life. The online trolls think they can drive her out of the game, but everything and everyone Divya cares about is on the line…
And she isn’t going down without a fight.
Eric Smith is an author, prolific book blogger, and literary agent from New Jersey, currently living in Philadelphia. Smith cohosts Book Riot’s newest podcast, HEY YA, with non-fiction YA author Kelly Jensen. He can regularly be found writing for Book Riot’s blog, as well as Barnes & Noble’s Teen Reads blog, Paste Magazine, and Publishing Crawl. Smith also has a growing Twitter platform of over 40,000 followers (@ericsmithrocks).
D1V is the star of her glitch channel playing the latest immersive online game – but when the trolls start to descend on her in real life, who can she really trust?
When reading the blurb for ‘Don’t Read the Comments’ I was excited – as a lifelong gamer this was giving me vibes of one of my favourite books – Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Although this book is a fun and geeky read which explores the problems of trolling and doxxing I must admit I didn’t find it as enthralling as I was hoping. One of these failings sadly comes down to the centrepiece of the novel which is the online game portrayed called ‘Reclaim the Sun,’. This game played by both of our protagonists reminded me very heavily of ‘No Man’s Sky’ – a space exploration game which although had a lot of hype when it was first brought out, was then lauded for being well, a bit boring! This I think is one of the problems with a lot of the chapters taking place inside the game – it’s just a lot of flying and resource gathering which doesn’t really make for a very thrilling read!
I enjoyed the storyline of D1V dealing with trolls and the issues of racism and sexism in the gaming world which are explored. The storyline with Aaron’s boss felt a bit predictable and two dimensional though and the twist about his father didn’t really go anywhere – I had actually thought of a much better twist for it and was disappointed! The end scene at the gamecon seemed to get so much build up for a bit of a flop ending – I thought what Aaron did to try and help was actually a massive let-down. On the whole I think the book had so much potential but didn’t really go anywhere – it was just a predictable YA love story with some gaming elements thrown in.
Overall, I was disappointed with Don’t Read the Comments – it had the potential to be a fantastically geeky read but was let down by being a bit boring and heavily predictable. Thank you to Harlequin Teen and Inkyard Press for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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