I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Two Can Play by Dawn Atkins
Published by Entangled: Ignite on October 28, 2013
Genres: Adult Fiction, Romance, Suspense
Format: ARC (261 pages)
Add Book: Goodreads • Bookhype
Live. Breath. And Believe—to Rena Novo there’s nothing better than being a part of the most popular virtual-reality game—EverLife…until she’s given a Quest to evict her best friend from the society she’s come to love. If she completes the job—she’ll rise to the top of the leaderboard, but a sexy recruit makes her question what’s really going on. He also stirs a different kind of passion within her that’s becoming hard to ignore.
Hunting for his missing sister, investigative reporter Gage Stone goes undercover in the gaming cult that’s taken over his sister’s life. But his biggest obstacle is his sizzling attraction to Rena, the extremely hot gamer assigned as his trainer. As their attraction builds, Gage realizes his sister isn’t the only one he can’t leave without. Now he must convince Rena that hundreds of people’s lives are at stake… before she turns him in and gets them all killed.
Proceed with Caution:
This book contains alcoholism and substance abuse, mentions of sexual assault, violence, attempted murder, and casual racism throughout.
This books is a Romantic Suspense with a mild Sci-Fi twist. It’s told in alternating third person POV. Rena is a Lifer, which basically means she lives and games for EverLife, a virtual reality game. She’s tasked with mentoring newcomer, Gage, and also with evicting her best friend after she allegedly leaks some bad news to the press. Meanwhile, Gage is undercover, looking for his sister who got tangled up in “the Life.” He has to get close to Rena to learn EverLife’s secrets.
I’ve had Two Can Play forever and actually didn’t even know what it was about. Then I saw “virtual reality” and had to immediately read it. Unfortunately, the virtual reality aspects are nearly non-existent. It’s just a way to set up this world and the plot, which is more cult-like Romantic Suspense than Sci-Fi. I’m not complaining though, because I had a lot of fun reading it and trying to figure out what the heck was going on!
Two Can Play revolves around a tech company who runs an extremely popular virtual reality game, EverLife. The game comes offline in the form of Life Lounges, where gamers can work, live, and earn XP while avoiding real world problems. Rena is 100% about “the Life” and is dedicated to the cause, so when Gage shows up and doesn’t share her enthusiasm, she’s suspicious. As she should be, because obviously he’s not there for the lifestyle. He’s there to rescue his sister from the Life. Of course, these two have to fall in love along the way. Although the romance is very much in the background to the mystery aspect.
Let’s talk about the mystery of Two Can Play, because it did take a bit to get into. Everything is extremely suspicious. Like, openly suspicious. Like, there is no way you can not think something is wrong in this Life Lounge. Yet, Rena sees nothing wrong and thinks Gage is a liar or insane. Nothing about being a Lifer is normal! Everything is beyond bizarre! The only answer I had was brainwash, but I wish the author had gone more into the set up of Lifer life, so I could believe it more. I was just frustrated with Rena, but as the plot moved forward and we learned more about how deep the problems run, I got more and more into it.
In the end, Two Can Play was nothing like I was expecting, but it was a good time. I actually love the idea of living a virtual life but in real life, if that makes sense. They earned XP for having sex with other Lifers! It’s so weird, but I need more books like this. But that make more sense and without the random racism thrown around.