18 Apr 2022

Audio Review: SLAY by Brittney Morris


Author: Brittney Morris
Series: N/A
Source: Audio from Audible
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Overall Rating:
Diversity Rating:

'We are different ages, genders and traditions ... but tonight we all SLAY'

Black Panther meets Ready Player One. A fierce teen game developer battles a real-life troll intent on ruining the Black Panther-inspired video game she created and the safe community it represents for black gamers.

By day, seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is a college student, and one of the only black kids at Jefferson Academy. By night, she joins hundreds of thousands of black gamers who duel worldwide in the secret online role-playing card game, SLAY.

No one knows Kiera is the game developer - not even her boyfriend, Malcolm. But when a teen in Kansas City is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, the media labels it an exclusionist, racist hub for thugs.

With threats coming from both inside and outside the game, Kiera must fight to save the safe space she's created. But can she protect SLAY without losing herself?
Amazon | Chapters | TBD
17 year old, Kira Johnson leads a double life. By day, she is a math tutor and one of the three black students at Jefferson High. By night, she is the developer of a video game created for the black community called Slay. Many people in Kira's life, including her boyfriend Malcolm, believe Slay is a waste of time, racist, and even dangerous.

With the murder of a teen over a real-life Slay dispute hits mainstream media, people are in an uproar about the game. Now, with the threat of a law-suit over her head, Kira must decide whether or not to come forward as the game developer or to stay hidden.

The book was getting a lot of hype when it released and I can definitely see why, but it just didn't hit that mark for me. It had a lot of really important conversations and discussions, but I could not stand when we saw the perspective of the random people who played the game. I know the point was to let us see how important this game was to people, to know that Kiera had to make a choice that took them into consideration. It just didn't work for me.

I also thought that it was a little unrealistic that two STUDENTS could keep up with this calibre of game development. A lot of great games come from people learning to code or who have a passion, but to be basically doing this part time? And have as large of a community with as detailed aspects? It just seemed unrealistic. Who is monitoring when they are in school or fixing bugs as they come up?

I can't speak for the representation in this one and would suggest looking up some own voice reviews if you wanted to know about different perspectives on that.

There's so many topics explored such as race, identity, and relationships. I wish there was a game like Slay for those who need it, it sounds like an incredibly fun space to be apart of. I loved having chapters that took place inside the game and being able to picture everything going on from the world to the duels.

I loved the characters in the novel. Kiera and her sister Steph were both wonderful and I loved following them through their daily life at Jefferson. I loved watching their sisterly relationship grow as the story progressed. I thought it was interesting to see how the two of them grew together, learned to trust one another more, and how to speak for themselves. The ending of the book also threw me for a turn as I was NOT expecting the outcome, but I loved it nonetheless!

I think this will appeal to a lot of people, but I just couldn't fully immerse myself into it.

Have you read this book? Are you going to pick this up?

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