Monday, November 6, 2017

[Graphic Novel Review] In Real Life by Cory Doctorow, Illustrated by Jen Wang

Graphic Novel Review of In Real Life by Cory Doctorow, Illustrated by Jen Wang

My fiancé is a huge gamer. I LOVE watching him play games that have awesome storylines. Unfortunately, a lot of the games he plays are high-action and the camera movements make me really sick... I play a few side-scroller games, like old school Mario. I also love the TellTale games! But I don't play very many video games... However, I'm a total sucker for books about video games!

In Real Life by Cory Doctorow, illustrated by Jen Wang is an amazing graphic novel about gaming and how it crosses over into the real world. Filled with elements of family dynamics and teenage struggles, poverty and company politics, and even bullying, I thought that each topic was handled really well.

If you enjoy content about video games, I highly recommend this one!

In Real Life by Cory Doctorow, Illustrated by Jen Wang

Anda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role-playing game where she spends most of her free time. It's a place where she can be a leader, a fighter, a hero. It's a place where she can meet people from all over the world, and make friends.

But things become a lot more complicated when Anda befriends a gold farmer--a poor Chinese kid whose avatar in the game illegally collects valuable objects and then sells them to players from developed countries with money to burn. This behavior is strictly against the rules in Coarsegold, but Anda soon comes to realize that questions of right and wrong are a lot less straightforward when a real person's real livelihood is at stake.

In Real Life by Cory Doctorow, Illustrated by Jen Wang title page

My thoughts:
I have to admit, I didn't like the intro at all. I understand the point it was trying to make, but it honestly almost made me put the book down because of how dry it was. Thankfully it wasn't too long. After finishing the graphic novel, I decided that I wish I hadn't read the intro at all, which may be a first for me! The things that the intro touched upon were just so much more powerful in the comic, the intro seemed unnecessary to me.

I loved the style of this graphic novel! The artwork is very cute and the color palette is lovely. There were many panels that I paused to think, "Wow, this one is stunning!" The expressions of all the characters were also done really well!

In Real Life by Cory Doctorow, Illustrated by Jen Wang artwork

I loved that we dove right into the game when Anda does, literally starting where a normal MMO would; with character creation!

One of my favorite elements of this graphic novel was that it moves seamlessly from in-game to really life. For example, here:

In Real Life by Cory Doctorow, Illustrated by Jen Wang characters

My final thoughts:
I really loved this quick read and I would most definitely recommend it to fans of video-game related content!

Thanks for reading!
What is your favorite book that features video games?


  1. This does look a lot of fun! I like gaming - I go through stages, right now I haven't done it in days... but when I do lol I'm obsessed.

    Great review. I must read more like these!

  2. I've seen lots of good things about this one and I really like the artistic style of this one!

    1. Yeah!! It's so great! I'm really glad I picked it up!

  3. I loved the art in this one! I did think the message was a little heavy handed, so I think have some issues with it, but otherwise a fun read.

  4. This is a wonderful review, thank you. I have been meaning to pick this one up I love Graphic novels and games :)

  5. Great review! Really looking forward to it!

    1. Thank you! I hope you love it as much as I did! :)