Book Reviews

In Real Life (Graphic Novel)


Graphic Novel Summary (Goodreads):

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.


This graphic novel is one of the most hyped graphic novels and so I got excited to read it and I finally read it today and I was highly disappointed with it.

Before I dive into the things I hated, I will mention the things I liked. First of all, I loved the art, it was simple and beautiful and I liked how the characters portrayed the emotions. The artist did a really good job in drawing the emotions on their faces. I liked the main storyline of the novel and I think if it was executed differently, it would have been better. The cover is really beautiful and it definitely makes you want to read it.

Now, lets move to the things I didn’t like. I didn’t like the message that the book carried. First of all, we have the main character Anda, who joins into a group in this online game where they fight for fairness and equality and believe that everyone should work hard for what the have and not just buy the stuff. So, in order to stop that, they have to stop the gold farmers from collecting the gold and selling it for the rich people, which sound like rich country, poor country situation. So, their mission is to kill the gold farmers.

What annoyed the most is that the gold farmers where Chinese and they all looked alike which reflects a negative cultural image from the authors side. Then after Anda finished her first mission, she was talking to Lucy, the team leader, and was telling her that how could she differentiate which one of them is a gold farmer and which one is not, and Lucy simply answered her, “Look, it’s simple. Speak to them and if they don’t respond or speak English, then just kill them”! How racist is that! It really bothered me.

Then Anda met one of them and he was speaking in English, but it was broken English. He was a 16 years-old Chinese guy whose name is Raymond. Raymond works as a gold farmer in the game in exchange for real money. He explained his bad working situation to Anda, and she decided to help him by telling him to on a strike because everyone is doing it and it’s successful. She didn’t do any research about the country and the workers situation there, but because she is coming from a developed country, she knows better. But, Raymond ended up losing his job and when she knew, she decided to go on another mission to help him, and of course she succeeded!

This book wasn’t what I expected at all. I didn’t like the message it carried, and it was a major disappointment. It usually takes me time to write a review because I need to process my thoughts, but with this one, I didn’t need to do that because my thoughts were well processed by the time I closed the book.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.


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