❥ Title: Slay
❥ Author: Brittney Morris
❥ Genre: Young Adult Fiction
❥ Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
❥ Rating: 5 / 5 stars
If black gamers want their own space online away from the eyes of the majority, let them have it. Y’all have Mummy and Legacy of Planets. Do you need to have everything?
By day, seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is an honors student, a math tutor, and one of the only black kids at Jefferson Academy. By night, 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.
But when a teen in Kansas City is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, news of the game reaches mainstream media, SLAY is labeled a racist, exclusionist, violent hub for thugs and criminals.
Driven to save the only world in which she can truly be herself, Kiera must preserve her secret identity. But can she protect her game without losing herself in the process?
Synposis taken from Goodreads
Let me start off by telling you the three month adventure I had trying to get this book! It all starts at YALC when Hodder held a raffle giveaway for ARCs of Slay. Naturally, I made all of my friends walk around and get a raffle ticket for me. I ended up with seven tickets… and I didn’t win a copy. Typical! Anyway, three months later I’m hunting down a copy in Foyles and I can’t see it anywhere…. turns out that I got the release date mixed up. I eventually got a copy and here is my review:
Slay is an important book. I think it’ll be an eye-opening experience for many, while Black people will find comfort in this story that is so openly celebratory of Blackness.
Slay is character driven and I absolutely love that! I really enjoyed the multiple POV because it’s written so well and gave such an incredible view of how the players of SLAY are connected to each other and how they use the game as a way of self-expression. I’ve personally never been much of a gamer (apart from Sims) so it was really amazing to see the gaming perspective and how important gaming can actually be!
The plot is very strong. It has a very steady progression and the plot twists were amazing! I really didn’t see the plot twist coming this time and I got really excited that for once I was surprised by the outcome of the plot! The plot flows so naturally and reflects our real world without being overpowering or trying to meet a ‘diversity’ quota that makes a book seem unrealistic or purposefully diverse. What I mean is, this book is comfortable in it’s Blackness and that is so beautiful to me. Diverse books are out in the world for a reason, and that is to make all readers feel that they are represented in the things they love. When done right, like Slay, a book can make someone feel represented in such a beautiful way and that is why I speak up for diversity in books.
While Slay covers relevant political issues through the murder of a gamer, the book also explores areas of self realisation and self development. I think Brittney Morris absolutely slayed in bringing forth all of her views as Kiera grows and learns how to navigate in this world where her and others’ Blackness are unaccepted.
The game itself – WOW!!! It’s so freaking cool! The game is such a powerful display of Black culture and it was beautiful! I can’t even begin to imagine how Brittney Morris came up with it but that is probably because I don’t play video games! The gaming aspect of the book would look incredible in a movie – I can just imagine the incredible graphics that could be used to create an entire gaming world! There is also an real online version of the game that you can find here!
Overall, Slay is powerful and empowering. I love the the central focus of the book is simply be itself, to be celebratory of Blackness and unapologetically proud of Black culture! I recommend this book to anyone because of it’s importance and power!
Until Next Time,