The exciting follow up to Gamer, this book is every bit as good as the first with the same tight plot and thrilling action. A must read for any young person who’s interested in gaming.
Virtual Kombat (VK) is sold as the most realistic virtual reality game ever. Not only is it possible to feel simulated pain but the competition feels real: the adverts boast it’s “where every enemy has a mind of its own”. In the first book in the series (Gamer), Scott discovered why: businessman, Vince Power, is using street kids to act as avatars – until their brains burn out and they have to be replaced by a new batch of kids. Scott nearly died playing VK and now he’s on the run and being hunted from Vince Power’s drones. Luckily, a gang of techno-hackers find him before the drones and invite him to help them close down VK for good. There is just one problem – the only way to destroy VK is to plant a virus within the game. To succeed, Scott will have to go back into the game.
If you read my review of the first book in this series, you’ll know I thoroughly enjoyed Gamer for its tight plot and thrilling action. This second book – Virus – is equally good. Once again, we’re plunged directly into the action as Scott flees for his life (his shoes pounding on the tarmac as hard as his heart beats) and doesn’t let up until the end.
Most of the essential background information is woven into the text but there’s also a useful bullet point update before chapter one. [If you haven’t read Gamer, I strongly suggest you don’t skip these pages.]
Many of the familiar characters from boom on are back along with a new set of allies for our hero, Scott. While these are, once again, all believable and well-drawn, it is the plot that really pulls you into the story and prevents you putting it down. The plot line is cleverly structured with the relentless and gripping action that was the hallmark of the first book. On the surface it appears to be a traditional quest narrative, albeit set in a futuristic and dystopian world. However, there’s a particularly cleaver plot twist at the climax. [Sorry to say more would ruin the story for you].
It’s also worth noting that this book is part of Barrington Stoke’s ‘super-readable’ series so the language is kept simply. It’s also formatted and printed to meet the specific needs of emergent, reluctant and dyslexic readers.
If you haven’t already read it (and it would be logical to read it first), I’d recommend you read the first book in this gripping series – Gamer by Chris Bradford. If you’re looking for another gripping read in the world of gaming, I also really enjoyed Senseless by Steve Cole, which has the advantage of being another dyslexia friendly book from Barrington Stoke.
Publication date: October 2018
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
Author’s website: Chris Bradford