Author: Brittney Morris
Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books (BKMRK)
Published: October 3rd 2019 (24th September 2019)
Edition: UK ARC
Genre: YA Contemporary
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 an honors student, a math tutor, and one of the only black kids at Jefferson Academy. By night, she joins hundreds of thousands of black gamers who duel worldwide as Nubian personas in the secret multiplayer online role-playing card game, SLAY.
No one knows Kiera is the game developer, not her friends, her family, not even her boyfriend, Malcolm.
But when a teen in Kansas City is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, news of the game reaches mainstream media, SLAY is labeled a racist, exclusionist, violent hub for thugs and criminals.
Driven to save the only world in which she can truly be herself, Kiera must preserve her secret identity. But can she protect her game without losing herself in the process?
My Rating: ★★★★★
Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the publisher, all opinions are my own!
Thank you to BKMRK for sending me an ARC copy of this book to review!
When this was pitched as Black Panther meets Ready Player One, I was here for it! Black Panther was incredible and I’ve not read or watched Ready Player One but I like books that contain virtual reality (Otherworld by Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller and Warcross by Marie Lu being two that I enjoyed)
Kiera is one of the only black kids attending Jefferson Academy but once school is over she’s the host of a huge online multiplayer game for black gamers only. No-one around Kiera in real life knows that she’s this huge game developer for SLAY and everyone has different opinions on it meaning that she doesn’t want to let anyone know.
However one day the news is showing a reel of someone who got murdered over a dispute in gaming and Kiera finds out that it’s SLAY and now it’s being targeted. No one outside of the game understands what it means for the people who are playing the game and how it’s a safe place for them to be themselves.
This novel is an empowering story and I loved it, I enjoyed the story and the plot and how the author went about dealing with the subjects and issues within the story. To start with I wasn’t entirely sure how I was going to feel about this book but once I got going I realised I didn’t have to worry and that I enjoyed every aspect of it. The characters were so well written, even the side characters, the development was great too! I rooted so hard for Kiera and there were a couple of characters that just got on my wick, I won’t mention who so that you can find out for yourselves!
I highly recommend this book, it’s an empowering and incredible story and I think you should all read it and find out for yourselves, it’s a quick read and fast paced once you get into it, all the elements of the book just join together perfectly and I can’t wait to grab a finished copy at some point and I’m looking forwards to seeing what Brittney Morris will write next!