This is a fun, quick read kinda hanging out on the edge of YA fantasy. If you’ve seen the movie Knights of Badassdom, it’s a bit like that, but without Peter Dinklage trippin’ balls. (Maybe something to be worked into the sequel?)
To further differentiate this book from that film, rather than fantasy elements invading a LARPing weekend, Dave Barrett’s LARPers are sucked into a fantasy realm – so this is a “portal fantasy,” though, thankfully, there’s no big flashy portal. I liked that. One moment they’re kids stompin’ through the woods, next moment “Oh, snap! Those arrows are real, yo!”
I also liked that, unlike many portal fantasies, there’s no over-dramatized freakout session (which, let’s be honest, would be accurate for many of our high-strung spazz-nick nerd friends, who tend to hyperbolize everything.) No, these characters are obviously true nerds. They’ve been dreaming of living in a fantasy realm all their lives. They’ve probably read all the portal fantasy YA novels they could get their hands on. So, when it happens to them, when they’re off Earth and realize their character stats are now real traits that they possess, their reaction is along the lines of “This is dope. Imma go throw fireballs at something.” I dig that; it lets you hurl right into the fun stuff of the story without the usual drawn-out freak-out.
(Side note; the kids in this story don’t talk like the lines I put in quotes above. That’s all me. But if the author wishes to drop some kids representative of more hip-hop/urban culture into the fantasy world in future books, that’d be dope. My only suggestion is that any Yo-Boys and anyone who says “Brah” should be eaten by fungus monsters.)
If you’re looking for a light, fun read, a different angle on portal fantasy, or maybe a gift for that young geek in your life, you’ll find It’s All Fun and Games to be an exciting start to a new series.