Alright! It only took me forever to read this book and review for it. I originally went into it for the book club but I staid for the plot. I really did like this book, and I do highly recommend it.
Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.
That being said… Spoilers ahead.
Slay by Brittney Morris
Synopsis From The Book
By day, seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is an honors student, a math tutor, and one of the only Black kids at Jefferson Academy. But at home, 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, who believes video games are partially responsible for the “downfall of the Black man.”
But when a teen in Kansas City is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, news of the game reaches mainstream media, and SLAY is labeled a racist, exclusionist, violent hub for thugs and criminals. Even worse, an anonymous troll infiltrates the game, threatening to sue Kiera for “anti-white discrimination.”
Driven to save the only world in which she can be herself, Kiera must preserve her secret identity and harness what it means to be unapologetically Black in a world intimidated by Blackness. But can she protect her game without losing herself in the process?
Science Fiction | YA – E |Racism, Microagressions | Identity, Coming of Age, Games and Society
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
Okay, hello. I’m sleepy, so if this review is short, it’s because of that. Ngl I’ve been reading a webnovel for the last three days, and I may or may not be too invested in that to care. However, at work, I can not read on my phone. So here I am reading this book that has taken me WAY too long to get to. I had named it as a book club book but never did get to it. The premise is interesting. So much about it is, and it’s short which is nice. I say short, I mean 300 pages (which when you are reading a 600chapter webnovel, it’s short). My reading speed should be faster again tho. So let’s do this.
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
Wow. I felt so many emotions with this book. So many emotions. I also love it so much. The use of video games was amazing (but I’m also biased towards video game stories) I got so angry too. Goodness. So freaking angry. So many emotions. Was a good book, tho.
Keira is a senior in Highschool, with a younger sister who is a big named feminist, and a boyfriend who is deeply involved in the liberation of black people (he’s also very anti-white and def a Hotep). Keira is also the gave dev of the game SLAY a VR card based fighting game dedicated to the black experience and exclusive to black people. She and her friend Cicada are the rulers of the world. However one of their game players is killed IRL over an in game dispute and people all over the world are calling the game racist. Because it only caters and let’s in black people.
She and her friends argue. She gets a threat from a person online named Dred. She tries to get a lawyer but does not go to the right place. Her sister finds out and she learns her sister plays her game. She challenges Dred, but is falling apart in real life. She can’t talk to her friends or her boyfriend.
Throughout the book we get snap shots of other players and their lives and what SLAY has done for them. Including Cicada, Claire, who grows closer to Keira. Keira wins her duel but finds out the person behind Dred is her own boyfriend. He exposes her and she has to get a restraining order on him because of his threats.
Keira’s world is changed. She and Claire get a deal from a company to make the game bigger.
What I Liked:
Keira; She was a great character. I like seeing the genius characters who have passions like her. She was great, and I loved the idea of her game.
Claire; I appreciate the fact that she wasn’t another American. She was so adorable, and her relationship with Keira was everything.
SLAY; I love this game. The idea of it was so amazing. Everything through epic card games that are culturally specific? Exclusive? It was great. So great.
Steph; She was intense, but I’m happy she wasn’t an enemy for her sister. The sister relationship of support was amazing and great all at once.
Malcom; I won’t lie, I was a bit surprised he was Dred but I appreciate that it was him. It does show how the community can destroy itself in its desire to empower itself.
Wyatt and Harper; We always have to have the white friend characters to put things into perspective, and I am happy that Keira was able to address a few things with them.
Other perspectives; I really love how the book went between Keira and game users. The added fact showed off how much her game impacted others.
What I Would Have Liked or Changed:
Too short, not enough game time. I need more.
“U r a queen and this is ur game.” – pg 164