Book Releases, Book Review, Books!, NetGalley, Signal Boost, Tabletop Games

NetGalley Review: Cleveland Heights LGBTQ Sci-Fi and Fantasy Role Playing Club by Doug Henderson

Hey all, Dani here.

Another fandom based book review here for you today. Yes, I have a few books of similar vibe coming this month. I tried to give my honest opinion on all of them, so they sort of range all across the spectrum…from DNFs to 5 star reads.

Damian and I are still at the cabin. We checked in yesterday and check out tomorrow, and then we still have the rest of the weekend to relax and read and hang out before we get back to work. I so needed this time off to relax and refocus myself. The last few months definitely affected me more than I had originally thought. And part of our relaxation is going to a birthday party for the daughter of a couple of our awesome geeky friends…she turned 6 today and “Aunt Dani” is going to totally spoil her. She is my little buddy and I love her so much.

Anyway, let’s go ahead and jump into today’s review.

Cleveland Heights LGBTQ Sci-Fi + Fantasy Role Playing Club by Doug Henderson

On Thursday nights, the players assemble in the back of Readmore Comix and Games. Celeste is the dungeon master; Valerie, who works at the store, was roped in by default; Mooneyham, the banker, likes to argue; and Ben, sensitive, unemployed, and living at home, is still recovering from an unrequited love. In the real world they go about their days falling in love, coming out at work, and dealing with their family lives all with varying degrees of success. But in the world of their fantasy game, they are heroes and wizards fighting to stop an evil cult from waking a sleeping god.

But then a sexy new guy, Albert, joins the club, Ben’s character is killed, and Mooneyham’s boyfriend is accosted on the street. The connections and parallels between the real world and the fantasy one become stronger and more important than ever as Ben struggles to bring his character back to life and win Albert’s affection, and the group unites to organize a protest at a neighborhood bar. All the while the slighted and competing vampire role playing club, working secretly in the shadows, begins to make its move.

My Thoughts:

Rating: DNF

I…don’t know what to say about this book really. It sounded like something I would really enjoy, it was set in Ohio, and I was lucky enough to get access to it early via NetGalley. So, I read this book back in January, and I had expected to write up the review after thinking about the book for a week or so to formulate a proper review…and of course I went into a big ol’ slump and didn’t. I will still try to write up the review as best as I can from memory, but I may not be as specific as I would prefer to be.

First, I remember feeling like most of the characters were bad stereotypes of geeks, which is so unfortunate. It felt like the author was trying to write a geek focused book because of the rising popularity of geekdom in the world. But instead it just felt forced and negatively judgmental. Like, from what I remember Ben is the unemployed loner loser geek who lives at home in his mom’s basement. Yes, I’m sure there are some geeks who may actually still fill this stereotype but it is so derogatory and harmful to what it really is to be a geek or a nerd today.

Between the portrayal of characters, and then the way the in-game story and the way rules were handled for the D&D game play…it felt like if the author was an RPG player that they weren’t all that familiar with 5th Edition D&D.

Then there was the storyline with the rival vampire role-playing group which just felt contrived and ridiculous.

I’m sorry, I wanted to like this story, and I wanted to be able to balance the positive with the negative. However, the truth is that I had to literally force myself to keep reading this book, and I ended up finally giving up at the halfway point.

– – –

As always my reviews are simply my opinion about things. If this book sounds interesting to you based on the cover and the synopsis, then by all means pick it up. Based on the ratings on Goodreads, there are a number of people who liked this book and a few who even really loved it.

That’s all from me for today. Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll be back soon with more geeky content.

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