Today I am back for Day #3 of the Black Resilience Booksta Challenge. I explained all the rules in my first post here. I’m hoping this will inspire other readers to read, review and amplify more black voices. Feel free to join me! You can refer to the template below.
I chose SLAY by Brittney Morris for Day #3 because she is a black female author that released an epic debut novel. I was so impressed. I plan to read anything Brittney writes in the future. It’s also relatively new and currently has a lot of people talking.
This story has been likened to Ready Player One but after reading it, I honestly felt it was in a league of its own. You can’t really compare it to anything else. It follows Kiera, a teenager trying to balance school, friends, her boyfriend and…a virtual reality, online card playing game that she developed herself under the name SLAY. This game – full of black culture – is purely for black gamers, as a retreat for those that struggle to feel comfortable in a white world. The only other person who knows she is the creator (Emerald) lives in Paris under the alias: Cicada. When a teen in Kansas City is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, the game receives mainstream media attention and is labeled racist, exclusionist and violent. Even worse, an anonymous troll infiltrates the game threatening to sue Kiera for “anti-white discrimination.” Kiera has to do whatever possible to protect this safe-haven she’s created and remain unapologetically Black in a world intimidated by Blackness.
The pacing in this novel was perfection. I was absolutely hooked from start to finish. I love how it presented a fantastic argument for how reverse racism cannot exist in a world where white people have never known oppression for the colour of their skin. Repeat after me: white people cannot be victims of racism as they have never been oppressed for the colour of their skin. It educated me on black culture in such a fun, interesting way through the different cards and game features. As a fellow gamer, I was there for all of the nerdy goodness. The online battles were so descriptive and exciting to imagine in my head.
The one thing I wasn’t able to get on board with (and this is a common critique on Goodreads) was the unrealistic concept. I found it hard to believe that a teenager who is an honours student, has a boyfriend, has friends and a job as a tutor was able to keep a virtual reality game a secret from everybody. It takes a massive team to create a game, let alone a VR one that is famous worldwide and yet we as readers, are supposed to believe that Keira and one other person built it from scratch and kept it going in between classes and their social life? I had to dock a star for that one.
Apart from that, this book is a massive winner. I want everybody to read it as it shares so many important messages about race, oppression and fighting for equality.
If you are interested in getting a copy, you can order it here.
Thank you so much for reading, I will see you all soon for Day #4!
Peace & Love xoxo
Disclaimer: This post contains a link to my Book Depository Affiliate. I am not being paid or sponsored for this post/products – all my thoughts/opinions are my own
This sounds like an interesting book my friend. Haven’t heard too many books with a gaming setting and tackling racism, and I think this book will appeal to the YA audience. I so agree some of us don’t know racism if we have never been racially discriminated before. But I also think white people can experience racism – in some parts of Asia white people are discriminated for being white when they are really trying to just go about their day.
You are right building and creating and online gaming platform takes up a lot of time. It can take day and night, and even being a gamer is already a lot of time. Lovely write up my friend!
Thank you my friend I hope you enjoy the book! Yes I never thought about white people in Asia I remember being in Vietnam and people constantly asking to get photos with me haha but that’s okay I didn’t mind.