SLAY by Brittney Morris is a book that I had been highly anticipating this fall for its interesting concept. While reading, it did become apparent that I am not the target audience for this novel, although it does seem to do a fantastic job of supporting black culture. That being said, the book does have some issues that make it hard to completely enjoy.Title: SLAY
Author: Brittney Morris
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Ready Player One meets The Hate U Give in this dynamite debut novel that follows a fierce teen game developer as she battles a real-life troll intent on ruining the Black Panther–inspired video game she created and the safe community it represents for black gamers
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?
❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃
Book Review: SLAY by Brittney Morris
At first, the comparisons of this book to works such as Ready Player One and The Hate U Give drew me right into wanting to know more about SLAY. Both of these novels are ones that I absolutely loved and intrigued me to give it a try. In a nutshell, the book is about a virtual reality game that emphasizes the importance of a safe black community.
❀ Teachable Moments
As I am clearly not the target audience for the book, I wasn’t sure that I would be able to review this book objectively. I did appreciate the moments in the story and within the game that are teachable aspects. However, I did question whether it was plausible that only black individuals would have access to the game. Realistically, how does one prevent another race from signing in and playing a game?
❀ Plot Too Convenient
There are some other issues in the story that I had a hard time with as well. Can a high school student who is focused on grades and getting accepted into university create a game that is internationally successful in her spare time with tutoring money unbeknownst to her friends and family? It just seems highly unlikely to me and I had a hard time getting past this. There are some other issues with the story that seem far too convenient, but it is hard to discuss them without spoiling the plot.
SLAY is a book that is hard to review as a white female, as it is not intended for me. The concept is very exciting and compelling, however it just doesn’t work for me. I do think that the issues raised in the book are important, although there are many problems with the way the novel is written.