Title: Ali-A Adventures: Game On!
Author: Ali-A
Published by Penguin Random House Australia
RRP: $29.99

As Ali-A launches the biggest game of the year, Alien Liberator II, the game infects the world, with gamers turned into alien thralls and giant robots brought to life. The halls of the convention centre, where the launch is being held, are transformed into different zones. Ali and his girlfriend Clare become separated, and Ali’s dog Eevee receives a “top-of-the-line, ultimate canine upgrade.” She can now talk and joins Ali in his quest to save the world. Ali is transformed into the Liberator and has five lives. The thralls have been enslaved by the tyrantors and as Ali attempts to releases them, discovers the enslavement is not confined to the convention centre but the entire world. Every time thralls are released Ali receives an upgrade, but when his lives begin to diminish, it becomes a race against time. Ali is playing the most important game of his life. The satisfying ending also hints at further adventures with Ali-A, Clare and Eevee.

This hard cover, large format graphic novel has a lot to offer readers. Ali-A, well known YouTuber and gamer, has millions of followers. He has used this passion to create an engaging read for like-minded people. The visuals are colourful and panels range from the standard graphic storyboard to full page illustrations, scenes bleeding across panels and clever placement leading the reader’s eye as the story unfolds. A pause symbol is used to signal the end of each level, or chapter in conventional book speak! Many literary devices have been transformed to make the reading experience as close to a game as possible while still retaining the necessary attributes of a quality graphic novel.

The plot is gripping and exciting. Not being a gamer at all, I found it engaging and really enjoyed the read. While I think this book might suit middle school readers mostly, followers of Ali of all ages will also be interested. Many of my students were excited to see this book so I am sure it will be a big hit. There are sections that can be used in the classroom to discuss and reinforce areas in English, such as the use of third person. As I have already stated, this book has a lot to offer!

Highly recommended.

Many thanks to Penguin Random House for supplying this book for review.