Author: Erica Kudisch
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Publication Date: 3. April 2017
Diversity: LGBT characters, PoC
Rating: 4./5. Stars
TW: suicide baiting, rape mention, harassment, bullying, doxxing, physical assault, misogyny, homophobia, sexism (if you can think of a bad thing that a douchey gamer dude bro would do, it happens in this book)
Summary: Gaming while female is enough to incur the wrath of the dude-bros, and they’ve come for me. Instead of fighting back, I’ve created an alternate account. Male name, male pronouns. And I’ve met this girl. I’ve always liked girls, and Laura’s adorable and smart and never gives up, and she likes me back. Or rather, she likes the man I’m pretending to be. But I can’t tell her I’m a woman without the mob coming after her too.
And besides: I might not be a woman, not really.
The truth is, I don’t know what I am anymore. I’ve spent my whole life being told how I’m supposed to act and what I’m supposed to be, but none of it feels right. And my lie is starting to feel truer than anything I’ve ever been.
There’s a convention coming up, but the closer it gets, the more I have to choose: lie or fight. But if I don’t stand my ground as a girl, am I letting the haters win?
Then again, those aren’t the only two ways to live.
Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
This book is both a praise to gaming, but also a heartbreaking story about the horrible reality many female video games face in that very male dominated field. This book deals with quite a few heavy topics like doxxing, stalking, rape threats, misogyny (both in form of internet stuff and real life physical violence) and homophobia, while simultaneously still showing the love of video games. There is also quite a lot of self-discovery going on. I was worried when I picked the book up that it would be too short and thus rush these aspects, but thankfully this didn’t happen. I wouldn’t have minded if the book had been longer and a bit more about Daphnis figuring out their genderfluid identity, though, but it still paid a lot of attention to all these questions Daphnis had.
The book has a bisexual, gender-questioning main character and is actually quite diverse and has characters from all over the LGBT spectrum, which was lovely to read.
And while the relationship was super cute, it kind of lacked build up a bit. I would have liked some more flirting and getting to know Laura better as a reader, which was sadly kind of skimmed over. However, the friendships in the story were amazing. I’m honestly in love with the Musketqueers.
Kudisch’ writing style is also easy to get into and I couldn’t stop reading this novel once I had picked it up. While I personally don’t know a lot about MMORPGs (okay, I don’t know anything, I’ve never played them!), it was quite easy to get a feel for the game and after a short while it was easy to understand, so even for noobs like me the talk about online video games wasn’t a problem. There are also allusions to other kinds of fan culture, like conventions, fanfiction, and musical references, which made the characters feel much more real to me, as I could connect with them on that level.
In the end, Don’t feed the Trolls is an uplifting novel and about discovering the real you, with a great MC and I really liked it.