Book Title: In Real Life (Standalone)
Author: Lawrence Tabak
Number of pages: 288
While Seth mopes about his tournament results and mixed signals from Hannah, Team Anaconda, one of the leading Korean pro squads, sees something special. Before he knows it, it’s goodbye Kansas, goodbye Hannah, and hello to the strange new world of Korea. But the reality is more complicated than the fantasy, as he faces cultural shock, disgruntled teammates, and giant pots of sour-smelling kimchi.
What happens next surprises Seth. Slowly, he comes to make new friends, and discovers what might be a breakthrough, mathematical solution to the challenges of Starcraft. Delving deeper into the formulas takes him in an unexpected direction, one that might just give him a new focus—and reunite him with Hannah.
(re: Goodreads @ In Real Life by Lawrence Tabak)
Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr spoiler-less review:
– Presented like a character case-study on the average gamer hoping to turn a dream into reality.
– The less you know about the gaming community or the eSports industry, the more enjoyment you may find with this read.
– Protagonist is presented like a Marty Stu (the male version of a Mary Sue character; basically flawless) and there is limited consequence to his actions that propel him to achieve [almost] everything on his road map.
– Relationship with the primary love interest is fleshed out over time despite the possibility of it actually being instalove.
– Discrepancy in experienced culture shock considering Seth’s willingness and assumed knowledge of the environment prior to endeavoring into the Korean environment versus a regular Westerner venturing into the unknown. Also utilizes stereotypes to sell some narrative elements without making social commentary to change the way of thinking.
I was so stoked to read this book because of the nature of content this story delves into is near and dear to me. That being said, I’ve been sitting on writing this review for a while because the wording was difficult to get right—and I’m not even sure I even scratched the surface with some of these discussions I’ve made below (despite it being almost 3k words too long lololol).
Full disclosure: I received an advanced reader copy of In Real Life through Netgalley for an honest review. I extend thanks to Tuttle Publishing for providing me the opportunity to review this book.
Disclaimer: Potential spoilers inherent to this review from here onward.