Saturday, September 17, 2016

Looking for Group by Alexis Hall

People you meet online aren't real. Except that they totally are.

So, yeah, I play Heroes of Legend, y’know, the MMO. I’m not like obsessed or addicted or anything. It’s just a game. Anyway, there was this girl in my guild who I really liked because she was funny and nerdy and a great healer. Of course, my mates thought it was hilarious I was into someone I’d met online. And they thought it was even more hilarious when she turned out to be a boy IRL. But the joke’s on them because I still really like him.

And now that we’re together, it’s going pretty well. Except sometimes I think Kit—that’s his name, sorry I didn’t mention that—spends way too much time in HoL. I know he has friends in the guild, but he has me now, and my friends, and everyone knows people you meet online aren’t real. I mean. Not Kit. Kit's real. Obviously.

Oh, I’m Drew, by the way. This is sort of my story. About how I messed up some stuff and figured out some stuff. And fell in love and stuff.

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Riptide Publishing

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

3 Gamer-focused stars.

As soon as I read the blurb, I wanted the book instantly, pestering for the reviewer copy. Little bit of background on me – I'm a gamer, a writer, a geek, a huge fan and author of LGBTQ books, and an eternal young adult genre reader.

I played Elder Scrolls before Skyrim made it cool, back when Oblivion took up most of my life. Fable 2 was the first game I completed to 100% and I wore my Halo Katana with pride. Added to that, I've actually played D&D. With dice. In reality, not on a device.

I was this book's target audience, and I was giddy to begin.

Alexis Hall definitely knew the ins and outs of gaming, and it lent to the validity and realism of the world created. I can't say I was hooked from the beginning, or say the writing style was fluid and easy to read (absorb and retain). With what I listed above, I was grinning when specific things were mentioned. I would have rage-quit too over that axe. But it didn't take long for the novelty to wear off and for me to wonder when the book was going to move along to more of a storytelling flow.

I can't stress this enough – this is a gamer-only title. I knew what everything meant, what was occurring and why, and was fascinated by some of it because I'm a gamer, but the majority of the book is a play-by-play written of game-play. The Majority.

The game-play reads like chat logs: a list of gamertags (where you don't know who is who yet – not really) interacting with one another either via chat or through the mic, with the action of what's going on on-screen. While it would be interesting for those who were actually playing to reread it back after the fact, it was a bit chaotic, even with me visualizing it from past experience. Especially when the reader only knew two or three of the dozen characters listed, without more storytime, I lost interest quickly.

Yes, there were everyday scenes added in between the chapters of game-play, but not enough to keep me engaged, to be honest.

The book was written very well for its target audience, who I believe are a very small niche. The slight romance is innocent and subtle, but not enough to keep anyone outside of the target audience engaged.

I can't honestly recommend this title to anyone except those in the niche. Hardcore gamers may find themselves with a spark to go boot up their PCs and consoles and play their favorite MMO, instead of finishing the book. Those who casually play, you will be lost with the gamer-speak and chat-log formatting. Readers with rudimentary knowledge of gaming will be over their heads. Those expecting young adult romance, filled with teenage angst between gamers, won't make it far into the story.

Looking for Group was a good read, written well with knowledge and accuracy, but it just wasn't to my tastes story-wise. I personally need more 'story.'

Alexis Hall was born in the early 1980s and still thinks the twenty-first century is the future. To this day, he feels cheated that he lived through a fin de siècle but inexplicably failed to drink a single glass of absinthe, dance with a single courtesan, or stay in a single garret.

He did the Oxbridge thing sometime in the 2000s and failed to learn anything of substance. He has had many jobs, including ice cream maker, fortune-teller, lab technician, and professional gambler. He was fired from most of them.

He can neither cook nor sing, but he can handle a seventeenth-century smallsword, punts from the proper end, and knows how to hotwire a car.

He lives in southeast England, with no cats and no children, and fully intends to keep it that way.

Connect with Alexis

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Looking for Group by Alexis Hall to read and review.


  1. Totally agree with most of this. I didn't realise that even gamers would be bored/frustrated too, though! I thought that was just me. lol.

    The gamer stuff was my biggest issue, because I'm not a gamer. I can't even pretend to be one. But, I expected the gamer stuff to be a little hard to get used to, not completely over my head. The Lingo was confusing without the help of a glossary (which I actually didn't know existed at first, because who reads a contents page anymore?) I didn't know that I had to be immersed in the gaming world to understand half the stuff talked about in the story, so I didn't know to read Gaming for Dummies beforehand.

    1. I really wanted to enjoy the book, and I've read and loved other books with a gamer-focus. But this was too much for me, and I understood it.

      I do find it hard to believe anyone who doesn't play could enjoy this title. Maybe if they skimmed, but that would take away from the story itself.

      I'm not a fan of needing to educate myself with a glossary of terms when I read a book. I want to fall into the story, not feel as if I need a textbook before I begin.


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