SFF

Otaku

Tor. Mar. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9781250203939. $26.99. SF
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[DEBUT] After the Water Wars have wreaked havoc on the world, the people are still dealing with the fallout. Ash’s mother needs costly medical care to avoid slipping back into her war memories, and Ash feels responsible for her safety and well-being. To make ends meet, Ash became Ashura the Terrible, and her clan, the SunJewel Warriors, are top-ranked professional players in Infinite Game. Facing discrimination and abuse both in-game and in the real world, Ash annihilates every threat to herself and the people she loves. When she takes a side job to pay the bills and discovers that someone is using game technology (haptic hoods) to control players outside of the game, she becomes involved in tracking the equipment and its manufacturer to the source. It’s a real-life quest with no resurrection if she should fail.
VERDICT Parts sf, mystery, and romance, this high-adrenaline thriller, by the author of the nonfiction collection Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies, captures the intensity of in-game encounters in a postapocalyptic world, with a fiery protagonist who holds nothing back—whether fighting monsters or relentless misogyny. Recommended for fans of dark gaming stories, with a side of violence.

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