I will preface this review with the statement that maybe if you are a gamer No One’s Angel will be a more be a higher star book for you. As a gamer in reformation this book touched a lot of my feelies and I spent a lot of time going, “Oh, I totally get this! Been there, done that.” And also shaking my head and cringing because in the back of my head I could hear a very old internet catcheism about females–they are either fat, ugly or psycho. Not my words, but a general comment thrown around about girls who spent a great deal of time playing online games. I fell on the farside of psycho just for your information–Let’s promote stereotyping and assumptions. =P Of course I was reading this thinking Angel was in my category too.
No One’s Angel is a NA novel by Kelly Walker about two gamers who develop an internet relationship with some pretty heavy romantic overtones. Tess, who is known online as Angel, begins to question the implications of the reality of the relationship she has with Arion and she jumps at the flirtation and attention of a guy who approaches her where she works to try to touch base with a little of the here and now. Before she realizes what has happened the man she has chosen in real life has taken over her entire world with his jealousy and abuse, forced her to give up her friends and her online life and he has pushed her into doing things she never imagined. When she finally gets away the only person she can imagine helping her is Arion. She flees across the country to him, only now she isn’t the girl he knew when she last spoke with him.
Axel knows the woman on his doorstep is Angel before she even opens her mouth and he is beyond happy to see her again. Having her show up in his life is something he doesn’t plan to take for granted and he will do anything he has to to keep her there. He will protect her and save her from whatever she is running from. He knows she’s scared but he means to show her that he is the one person she can trust to keep her safe. She was more than just an online girl to him and having her in the flesh is more of a fantasy than all the things he ever imagined.
I’d like to say that the relationship between them is unrealistic and that people don’t develop feelings like those that Arion has for Angel but it is so common in online games that the majority of gamers at one time end up with some intense relationship before they end up with some sense of self preservation. It is very easy to project onto other people and be a lot braver than you are because you never sit across from that person and risk the embarrassment or mortification that you would in person. It’s incredibly easy to feel a quick and intimate attraction because you can imagine almost anyone on the other end of that connection. You can tell the person you are not physically seeing and you aren’t going to meet all your secrets. You can indulge in your fantasies, both pure and sexual, without worrying about the morning after. And you can be assured that at some point the person who is just as addicted to gaming as you are will be back–and unlike the people you might have in your life that you feel aren’t reliable, this person will be there again and again. It’s a seductive thing.So I identified closely with the relationship because I have had those in my past. I don’t know if people outside of gaming would understand the way it would feel when you begin spending eight plus hours a day online because not only do you get to be with the person you are obsessing with but you can run an instance and fight bosses and get gear and collect gold, or you can farm materials or you can explore realms or you can raid dungeons with your guild. Even when that one person isn’t there sometimes there are twenty plus people on with you that you can talk about crap with and you can escape all the crap you hate about your life. It’s incredibly satisfying to hide for a while.
But that is the point of this book. Angel decided that hiding felt too comfortable and her judgement was crazy off and real life was crap. Safety was running to the real life sanctuary of what she had questioned as becoming too comfortable in game. No wonder why her head is like Apocalypse Now. I did have a million and one instances in the book where I wanted to send an in game message to Angel and tell her that I knew the name of a good psychiatrist that she could check out. In all actuality though, Arion needs one as well. Money truly can not solve everything–even if you are pretty great Book Boyfriend material. Hallelujah Arion for the bathtub idea and if you ever want to write a boyfriend therapy suggestion book please include that one!
Gaming is a particularly tricksome thing to a psyche. It’s a complete escape and rewarding activity to that escape. Where else do you get a reward for beating a monster for avoiding reality? I think that a lot of people will assume Angel’s initial bailing on Arion as fickleness or a lack of true caring. You do a lot of reality testing when you begin to lose yourself at a large degree. I am an agoraphobic, badly bipolar person and when I played WoW there was a point where I was playing up to fourteen to eighteen hours a day because there was someone there I didn’t want to miss even a moment with and I felt the only place I could get away from how horrible I felt mentally was in game. Angel testing her feelings for Arion by going for a real relationship makes sense because it more or less is a healthy choice she is making for herself. When looking at a relationship separated by an entire country, where the logistics of your not being able to afford a move and conflict with finishing school and the reality of the sacrifice and commitment involved show great and overwhelming odds, it makes sense to begin to make a life for yourself outside of the game. It’s also makes sense that as she grew more desperate and confused she would go to someone she relied on and trusted. It’s very hard to see the gray in people because the people you meet online tend to be black and white.
I recommend this book with a caveat and that is would be appreciated most by those trendy nerds and gamer people who have a concept of the multitude personalities about and online. I think that more mature readers (I mean you traditionalists who have a more vanilla view and skeptical look of alt-culture) will probably read this and spew a crap ton of negative bullshit and be completely disconnected. This book is really a great read for people who have a good grasp of internet socializing. I don’t mean social media, I mean internet socializing.
(….psst. i’d really like to know if you play WoW. what is your main and what realm are you? i know longer raid, i’ve been casual for over a year or so. my two main toons are alicante and minoru on borean tundra.) Ahem… that was nothing continue.
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