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coffee & ink

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Gilbert and Gubar's The Madwoman in the Attic after Thirty Years
Annette R. Federico, Sandra M. Gilbert
Annette LaPointe

Maze Cheat

Maze Cheat - B.R. Collins YA sf set in a future or alternate England where the only way out of acid-rain-drenched poverty is to win a virtual reality game. Gamerunners frequently hire mazecheats to program them cheatcodes. The first book, Gamerunner, focused on Ric, the pampered son of the chief game developer, Daed. (Ric = Icarus, Daed = Daedalus, the game (the Maze) = the Labyrinth. That no one recognizes their Greek antecedents and that they are apparently polytheists is what inclines me to think this is alternate rather than future.) The first book was the weakest of Collins' books, basically because Ric is a self-centered privileged idiot who takes far too long to realize that his privilege doesn't extend to other people. By the second corpse, I could not stop thinking, "Kid, how many of your friends are you going to get killed before you wise up?" Spoiler: More than two.

Mazecheat shifts the focus to Ario (= Ariadne), the eponymous cheat, whose career got trashed two weeks ago as collateral damage to Ric's shenanigans (she's never met him) and who is desperate to regain her cred before boss/big brother figure Dion (= Dionysus) kicks her out of the Workshop into the streets. A successful gamerunner invites her to make the score of a lifetime in defeating the latest game mods and naturally everything goes wrong. This is infinitely superior to its prequel just on the grounds that Ario is not an idiot, but it's still one of Collins' less interesting novels. Since I figure some of you would like to know: Ario is black and bisexual.