Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary M/M romance from Alexis Hall. I really liked WAITING FOR THE FLOOD and FOR REAL, so I jumped at the chance to read LOOKING FOR GROUP. It’s a New Adult romance between two gamers who meet in cyberspace.
About the book:
So, yeah, I play Heroes of Legend, y’know, the MMO. I’m not like obsessed or addicted or anything. It’s just a game. Anyway, there was this girl in my guild who I really liked because she was funny and nerdy and a great healer. Of course, my mates thought it was hilarious I was into someone I’d met online. And they thought it was even more hilarious when she turned out to be a boy IRL. But the joke’s on them because I still really like him.
And now that we’re together, it’s going pretty well. Except sometimes I think Kit—that’s his name, sorry I didn’t mention that—spends way too much time in HoL. I know he has friends in the guild, but he has me now, and my friends, and everyone knows people you meet online aren’t real. I mean. Not Kit. Kit’s real. Obviously.
Oh, I’m Drew, by the way. This is sort of my story. About how I messed up some stuff and figured out some stuff. And fell in love and stuff.
Drew is a 19 y/o student in video game design in Leicester. He’s a gamer, but not obsessed. Well, he’s good at Heroes of Legend and is super pissed when his Guild doesn’t value him, or his skills, so he ragequits them. He searches for a new Guild and joins one that’s specifically less intense than the one he’d been with the past three years. These folks are far more engaged in game for game’s sake playing, and take time to study the game, and the lore of it, for funa dn enjoyment, not simply moving forward to rack up points and prestige. It’s different, but oddly welcome, and Drew finds himself really enjoying the game in a way he hasn’t in a long time.
He’s also intrigued by the main Healer, Solace, whose winged Elf avatar is strangely compelling. Drew spends more time in HoL than ever, messaging with Solace thinking that she might-could be a gamer girl. It’s been more than a year since Drew’s dated, and he’s a bit smitten. Then he learns that Solace is really Christopher, call him Kit, and a physics student at Uni of Leicester. It’s frustrating and confusing, because he’d built a bit of a rapport, and now thinks it was all a hoax. But, it wasn’t, and Kit is just a shy gay man who’s never ever dated. His friends are all virtual, though he’s met many in person over the years.
Drew wants to meet Kit in person, and there’s a lot of angst around this, but the do eventually, and they hit it off. Drew never imagined being with a man, but he’s clearly attracted to sweet, shy and stunning Kit. And, he wants more IRL (in real life) time than Kit is quite comfortable with giving, at first.
This was a sweet book that is very low steam, lots of self-investigation, and tons of gaming. Like, so much gaming I might have felt I was IN THE GAME with the avatars of our characters. That was not entirely awesome, for me, as I really prefer being in the character’s heads and so much happened in the game space I was often left behind. It took me a while to catch on to the gaming lingo and syntax, and I found out–way too late–that there was a Glossary just waiting for me at the end of the book…and, it’s a British read, so the Brit slang plus game slang was challenging, for me.
About the romance, it was low-key, but high stakes. Drew’s a straight man, falling for a man he’s only virtually known. Their immediate connection in real life is as scary as it is thrilling. Drew’s friends are less-than-charmed with all his gaming time spent in HoL with Kit, however, and this becomes a problem, because Drew’s sensitive to Kit’s lack of life experience and fears he has a gaming addiction Drew hopes to fix. Kit’s never had a real boyfriend, and finding Drew, who also knows HoL, seems like a dream come true…yet, it isn’t.
I liked the sweetness, but I’ll admit to wishing there was more steam and less Steam (that’s a gaming joke; Steam is where you go buy/play games…). The big conflict left a rift that Drew made right in the only, and best, way possible. I loved how his grand plans were so intricate and really relied on his gaming skill. It was charming. The book is sure to appeal to readers who also have a more-than-casual interest in gaming-slash-gaming romance. The M/M aspect was limited to kissing and exhilaration, with no other descriptions on the page. Still, first love/new love is always fun to absorb.
About the Author:
He can neither cook nor sing, but he can handle a 17th century smallsword, punts from the proper end, and knows how to hotwire a car. He lives in southeast England, with no cats and no children, and fully intends to keep it that way.
Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!