Gamers' Quest, by George Ivanoff

1: Tark
Tark perched in a tree and waited. He kept his eyes on the path that wound its way through the Forest. He knew it was just a matter of time. All he had to do was wait…and commit highway thievery. he wondered, as he sat on this branch, whether or not the term highway thievery still applied if the perpetration occurred on a path. Pathway thievery? Would that make him a pathwayman instead of a highwayman?

Tark and his friend Zyra are both thieves. It’s what they have to do to survive. Survival in their world is a daily challenge. As if having to thieve wasn’t enough, there is magic and illusion everywhere. They are always on guard, always aware that nothing is quite as it seems. There are rules for the likes of them, rules that preclude them ever becoming more than friends. Tark overcomes a dragon in his quest for riches, but inadvertently sets off a chain of events when he is challenged by the dragon’s wife. Simultaneously, Zyra upsets The Fat Man and the pair are in even more danger. All they really want is a chance to visit Designers Paradise for a short while, to experience a ‘normal’ life.

Gamers’ Quest twists and twists as reality and fantasy combine and separate. The reader is presented with a reality that feels like fantasy and then a fantasy that resembles reality. What if the characters in a computer game were real and the world in which we live was actually part of a game? Where there were tasks to be mastered, tokens of success to be gathered, rewards to be won? This is the rollercoaster of Gamers’ Quest. The only sure thing is the friendship between Tark and Zyra. Together, with their combined skills, they must pit themselves against a changing world, before it is too late. Gamers’ Quest moves at breakneck speed from challenge to reward, from one world to another. Pitched squarely at readers who are computer-skilled, and game fans, it is a wild adventure. Recommended for upper primary to early secondary readers.

Gamers’ Quest, George Ivanoff
Ford St Publishing 2009
ISBN: 9781876462864

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

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