A fast-paced and gripping near-future science fiction debut about the gritty world of competitive gaming...
Every week, Kali Ling fights to the death on national TV.
She’s died hundreds of times. And it never gets easier...
The RAGE tournaments—the Virtual Gaming League’s elite competition where the best gamers in the world compete in a no-holds-barred fight to the digital death. Every bloody kill is broadcast to millions. Every player is a modern gladiator—leading a life of ultimate fame, responsible only for entertaining the masses.
And though their weapons and armor are digital, the pain is real.
Chosen to be the first female captain in RAGE tournament history, Kali Ling is at the top of the world—until one of her teammates overdoses. Now, she must confront the truth about the tournament. Because it is much more than a game—and even in the real world, not everything is as it seems.
The VGL hides dark secrets. And the only way to change the rules is to fight from the inside...
Jennings's debut novel has a strong concept but doesn't do it justice. In the 2050s, virtual gaming is now a competitive sport in which athletes can "die" and yet keep playing. But the costs are high, as Kali Ling learns when she and her teammates battle to win their game's highest prize. It feels plausible that competitive video gaming and virtual reality might combine in sports that let viewers enjoy excessive violence with no apparent consequences, and there's lots of potential for interesting stories with that background. However, the after-school-special nature of the narrative, which boils down to Kali helping her teammates win only after she kicks drugs and stops partying, lacks complexity and fails to engage. Once Kali straightens up and flies right, there's no stopping her or her team: they win every match, and she outwits her awful manager and has an inevitable relationship with the male character who challenges her life decisions. For a book about fighting, there's a remarkable lack of real conflict.