Is there anything more disappointing as reading a book with an interesting premise and realizing in the first chunk how bland it is? There were several points while I was reading this and thinking back to Sword Art Online and that I should really ought to just find the translations of those books. Gamers isn’t as horrible that I was tempted to chuck my Kindle at the wall, but it’s so by the numbers.Starting with the world-building, which is easily the worst part of the book. I feel like the whole mantra of “The real world isn’t real!” is just a lazy cop-out to avoid any real description of the setting. There is no clear distinction between the real world and what Gabby is seeing when she’s online. And for the record, how is the online overlaid onto the real world in here? I’m assuming ocular implants, but Carpenter never takes the time to make this distinction. Also, the time-frame of the world-building. If this form of society where gaming is your life and if you don’t have enough points, you literally lose…wouldn’t people start catching on that their children and loved ones are disappearing? Also, apparently there’s no medical advancement in this future, because if you get sick and miss one day of gaming, you’re screwed! I hate to be the cynic here, but it feels like the author read Extras and Ready Player One and decided he’s going to write a book just like those! And then missed the points of both. The characters and plot are so boring and cookie-cutter. ‘Ordinary’ high school girl with a special talent sees mysterious boy at school. She wants to learn more about mysterious boy, and instead learns about grand conspiracy, which—DUN DUN!—she is a target of, despite being oh-so normal! It also doesn’t particularly help that half of the book is taken up by this “Final Raid” Gabby has to navigate. Apparently, there are high stakes involved, but I never got that she was playing for her life. Nor did I get any inkling that Gabby was willing to die for her friend Zaela, since the latter only appears for a handful of pages. The pacing is terrible, so much of the first half is info-dumping this grand conspiracy, and the second half is the Final Raid, which just reads like a transcript of WoW quest (with occasional interlude to remind you of the plot). At best? This reads like a very, very early draft of a Nanowrimo book that just got a rough polish and then put online. (Speaking as an experienced Nano veteran who did self e-pub, that is a huge no-no.) The whole “Life as a game” has been done before, but it’s still an interesting concept that, in the right hands, could be really well-done. This is just feels like a rip-off of much better works, and I could find better things to recommend.