Review: Gamers by Thomas K. Carpenter

Posted June 24th, 2013 in book review / 14 comments


Gamers Series #1

by Thomas K. Carpenter

Publisher: Self-Published (June 2011)
Genre: Dystopia, Sci-Fi, Gaming, Young Adult
Format: Paperback (324 pages)
Source: Free book from author for honest review
Purchase: Amazon Print | Amazon Kindle | Book Depository
Rating: ★★★½☆ (3.5 stars)

Two points for brushing your teeth. Ten points for keeping your room tidy. Seventy-two points for the Bioeconomic Game Design pop quiz on the ride to school in your personal FunCar. Another thirty for making every hurdle in gym class.

Life is a game, unless you’re not the one winning.

Gabby DeCorte, top student and reality-hacker extraordinaire, has been doing whatever it takes to keep her best friend, Zaela, from falling behind in LifeGame. Zaela has gifts of artistry that amaze Gabby, but none of those skills translate in LifeGame and with final exams coming up, they can’t afford to waste a single minute. But when a mysterious group called the Frags contacts Gabby claiming to know what really happens to the losers of LifeGame, she must choose between winning and what she believes in.

At A Glance
This was my first substantial gamer book and I was surprised by how much fun it was.

The Good
In essence, life is a game. Everything you do earns you points. You need to have enough points by the end of your schooling to be able to go to University. If you don’t, you are given the lowliest jobs, or so we assume. But with the approaching of the Final Raid, the last big game and way to earn points, Gabby, a top gamer, starts to find out the truth about LifeGames and how nothing is as it appears. She now has to save her friends from what truly lurks behind the world of gaming.

Let me start off by saying that I am not a gamer. The most gaming I do is Yoga on the Wii and watching PewDiePie on YouTube. So I think it says something that I really enjoyed Gamer, a heavy gamer book. I’m not saying it will be like that for all non-gamers, but I think this book is worth the try. The dialogue was fun and witty, the premise was scary and exciting, and the gaming was fascinating.

I loved Gabby as our heroine. She is a hacker which made things even more interesting. She is extremely loyal and protective of her friends. She truly does everything and anything to keep her friends safe. I felt bad for her during the Last Raid. She had so many obstacles, it wasn’t even fair, but she took them on with perseverance and tenacity. She never let the bad guys bring her down.

What I loved most about this book was the surprises. I really didn’t know who was good or bad until Carpenter wanted me to. And the people who became heroes shocked me even more. I think the first half of this is going to appeal the most to the general public. The second half, which is all gaming simulation, is fun but not for everyone.

I loved how real everything felt with Carpenter’s amazing descriptions. I could totally visualize every game. The dragons and giants, it was all easily believable and life like. It all made sense to me too. I never felt lost with the gaming descriptions and lingo. Actually, the creativity of the language was the most appealing part.

The action was pretty much nonstop once we got to the last game. I loved that feeling I got while reading Gamers, like I wouldn’t be able to relax until the very end. This is the kind of book you remember.

The Bad
There is something about Gamers that didn’t sync well. I almost felt like I was reading three different novels. The first part has Gabby and her school life, the second part is her meeting the Frags and having an adventure, then the last part is all gaming. It was a bit disjointed.

The ending is a major cliffhanger, which really didn’t bother me until I realized pretty much nothing got resolved or answered. I felt like the reader is left hanging when it comes to even a little closer.

The Snuggly
There is a peek of possible romance between Gabby and Michael but not even enough to talk about it. I suppose we will see them more together in the second book.

Final Thoughts
In my personal opinion, non-gamers can easily fall in love with this book. It reads like a gaming dystopian with lots of action and great dialogue. I would continue this series for sure. I’m interested to see what will happen next. Recommended.

“Now if you still want to meet with us, rub this lamp–” He held out a genie lamp. “–three times.”

She shook her head. “Why would I have to do something lame like that? Why can’t I just tell you I’m ready to go?”

Guybrush shrugged. “Thems the rules. Just be glad we didn’t use Leisure Suit Larry like I wanted to.”

“Okay, fine.”

A horrible grin appeared on Guybrush’s face and the cartoonish character stuck the genie lamp into his pants. Guybrush now sported an obscene bulge.

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14 Responses to “Review: Gamers by Thomas K. Carpenter”

  1. Elisa

    lol – that quote/excerpt was cute, made me chuckle. Sounds like a fun read! I don’t game but the couple of books I have read somewhat like this have been great. Bummer that nothing is resolved though, sounds like it is more about the journey in this first book.

  2. Jaclyn Canada

    I agree with Elisa, that excerpt had me giggling as well. It certainly sounds like a unique and fun read. I’m only a gamer as far in as I play video games with my son. Mostly kid games like Pikmin, Sims, and Skylanders. I miss the old Nintendo games though – I played a lot of Spyro and Mario growing up. Great review! Jaclyn @ JC’s Book Haven.

  3. Sarah Elizabeth

    I kinda like the sound of this one. I’m one of those people who gets sucked into a game and lives and breathes it for months, I’m kinda the same with my kindle! Think I might give this one a try ☺

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