Book Reviews

The Ruby by Avery Vanderlyle in Starstruck Anthology at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Artists/Actors/Musicians/Authors / Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 29-January-2018

Book Blurb

Though it’s taken all night and all his character’s money, Ezra has done it! He’s won the Ruby Radiant—an in-game item that grants him a real-life dinner with the creator of Weird West, a virtual reality video game that’s become a runaway hit.

Self-professed shy nerd Toby Rodriguez is having a hard time being the poster boy for the game he created, but the dinner contest is part of the game’s publicity campaign. Toby is pleasantly surprised as he and Ezra learn they have more in common than a love of video games. When their date is cut short, Ezra embarks on another quest—to track Toby down and tell him how he feels.

Book Review

As brief as it is cute, this short story is a treat for gaming nerds and those who like secretive “celebrity” game designers alike. Plus it reads a lot like a quest - the search of Ezra, a determined gamer, to find a way to get to know the elusive Toby, who designs video games for a living.

Ezra loves playing video games – and he is pretty good as well as utterly determined to win this time – so he gives his all to be the one to find the Ruby Radiant inside the Weird West. I loved the descriptions of his various attempts, learning from his mistakes and trying a different plan each time he makes an attempt.

Toby is a recluse, and I doubt that anything other than a contractual clause to support the company’s promotional plan would have gotten Toby to go out on a date with a total stranger – or pretty much anyone else either, for that matter. Once he meets Ezra, Toby is pleasantly surprised how much they have in common, but when their date is interrupted, he does not really think he will ever see Ezra again.

If you like stories where gamers apply their skills (mainly determination) in real life as much as they do inside a game, if you think that attraction and a potential for falling in love is worth almost any effort, and if you’re looking for a read that is entertaining, fun, and very sweet, then you will probably like this short story.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. The anthology this short story was published in has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Short Story, 11 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 12-September-2016
Price $6.99 ebook, $17.99 paperback, $17.99 bundle
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