In Thomas K. Carpenter first dystopian novel Gamers, in the Gamers Trilogy, he has created a futuristic society where LifeGame is all that matters. LifeGame is an ultra-realistic virtual reality video game where players score points for doing regular things, like brushing teeth and cleaning their room, to higher points for passing tests and solving complicated mathematical and physics problems. The top 15 boys and girls will make it to the University and get good jobs, but those whose scores fall below the line must settle for the jobs that no one wants.
Gabby DeCorte is a naturally skilled gamer. Her life revolves around trying to keep her LifeGame score up to guarantee her place at the University and dealing with typical high school drama. Everything from mean girls, controlling parents, and boys, to insuring her best friend Zaela makes University with her. Unfortunately, Zaela lacks the natural ability of her best friend, so Gabby must constantly use her natural gaming talent as well as her extraordinary hacking skills and to insure her best friend’s success.
In this re-envisioned society, the Greater States of America (GSA) is competing to stay a prominent world power, and the future of society depends upon developing the best students, the LifeGame winners. Gabby soon finds herself paired with a group known as the Frags. A group determined to undermine the GSA, and prove that those who don’t make it to University, don’t get undesirable jobs, but permanently disappear. The Frags need Gabby’s help, but with all the new revelations, Gabby is not so sure what is the truth and what is virtual reality, or who to trust.
Carpenter does a great job of setting the stage and creating characters that readers can relate to. Gamers is a fast read, with a creative plot, unexpected twists, and an intriguing premise. Readers not familiar with phrases such as noob, and DoT, may miss some of the humor, but it does not distract from the storyline. Overall, Gamers was a surprising good read, despite the bland cover art.
Disclaimer: This book was received directly from the author.