Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Book Impressions: Pwned

Posted by Rampant Coyote on April 15, 2016

pwned_bookPwned, by Shannen Crane Camp, is a story about Reagan West, the co-captain of the high school cheerleaders. She’s beautiful. She’s popular. She can be kind of mean. But this is all to conceal her terrible secret… her secret identity:

Reagan is a gamer. A full-on uber-geek and MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) addict. If that secret were to get out… well, she knows her crowd. She knows her best friend and co-captain of the cheerleading squad. She knows that no geek or social outcast has ever suffered as she will if she if her double life is exposed.

So far, she’s been able to keep her two lives separate. But now, her two worlds are about to collide, and she may have to finally pick a side.

So… this is not my usual reading fare (contemporary young adult romance), but obviously the subject matter is a hook for me. The fictional MMO in the story sounds suspiciously like World of Warcraft, but if you’ve put any time into any MMORPG, you’ll find yourself at home. In fact, if you aren’t a gamer, you might have a little trouble with some of the terminology, although the author does a pretty good job of explaining anything that’s not obvious from the context.

I have no idea about the life of a high school cheerleader, but Shannen Crane Camp gets the MMO / gamer side right. I met her at FanX and at a party during LTUE this year, and this is no surprise. She is very much a geek, a hardcore MMORPG fanatic, and a confessed “alt-aholic,” just like her character. Naturally, that side of things comes across as pretty authentic.

Overall, it’s a cute story. Reagan is a very interesting character. Her cheerleader persona can be mean, but she’s never irredeemably bad. The characters are well-drawn and interesting. The cute nerdy guy is smart but appropriately clueless in certain areas. Some of the twists are a little on the predictable side, and the ending felt a bit forced to me. It’s YA, which will be great for some readers, and not-so-great for others. I enjoyed the references to real-world people and events by gaming terms, since I do that all the time. 🙂 Flaws aside, it was a fun story and I enjoyed it.

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