A Dangerous Duo

Capstone/Stone Arch. (The Gamer). Jul. 2022. 40p. Tr $24.65. ISBN 9781666348286; pap. $5.95. ISBN 9781666348293.
Gr 3-5–The Gamer is 13-year-old Tyler Morant, who uses a device to activate powers and weapons for his battles against wicked digital monsters. Early in the book his nemesis, Cynthia Cyber, is defeated and replaced by malicious Mutiny Doom. As Tyler is playing in Crescent City Arcade, living versions of monsters from the games go on the attack against children. Tyler activates his powers and goes into combat first against the monsters, then confronting Mutiny Doom himself, eventually, with an assist from Cynthia. Text is sparse, typically with no more than four paragraphs to a page and fewer than 20 words per paragraph. Many pages feature onomatopoeic exclamations in enormous fonts, such as “KRASHHHH!” when The Gamer’s energy field is destroyed by rocket fists. Illustrations are plentiful, but have a clumsy, computer-generated feel, are often oddly framed, and do little to complement or advance the story. The volume, written at a first to third grade reading level, concludes with a glossary of words highlighted throughout the text, such as atom, lair, and portal, as well as a list of discussion questions and writing prompts.
VERDICT With little character development or plot, poor illustrations, and simplistic writing, this one is unsuitable for most libraries. Not recommended.

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