Blog Tour Book Review – LARP: The Battle for Verona by Justin Calderone

LARP_300Title: LARP: The Battle for Verona written by Justin Calderone
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Mythos Press
Page count: 137
Format: Epub (read on Microsoft Surface using Nook App) Rating – 4/5

Sometimes even a geek can become a hero. Dennis and his friends have been LARPing (Live Action Role Playing) since high school. Now, in his 20s, Dennis is seriously considering giving up LARPing for good. He’s tired of dealing with his overzealous friend Mark; he’s tired of his older brother Brad’s constant put-downs; and he’s tired of the fact that he doesn’t have a girlfriend. Check that. Not a girlfriend, but the girlfriend. Alyssa–the one woman he’s been pining over for years. Dennis and his fellow LARPers have never been considered cool, in their small island community of Verona, located off the coast of Washington State. But all of that is about to change . . . While Dennis and his friends are attending a big LARP tournament on the mainland, a rogue terrorist group of Mongolians in medieval garb, led by an American madman, invade Verona and take its citizens hostage–including their families and friends. When the LARPers find out what’s happening in their home-town, they do what any dedicated LARPer would do: they put on their armor, strap on their swords, and fight their way home–LARP-style! (Goodreads)

Thank you to GMTA Publishing and Justin Calderone for allowing me to read Larp: The Battle for Verona in exchange for an honest review!

I had a lot of fun reading this book and it was a SUPER fast read, partly because of size and partly because it’s such a fun read.

If you haven’t heard of it, LARP stands for Live Action Role Play…something I have definitely heard of but not actually participated in (although I really want to). Since this is something I’ve had interest in I was really excited to read a book where the main characters are LARPers. When I started reading this book I had no clue what to expect from a book about LARPing. I was  really surprised to find that this story had a sort of Red Dawn-ish feel to it except it’s way cooler since a group of LARPers – unlikely heroes – band together and use their LARPing skills to essentially save the country. Pretty awesome, right!

The plot itself was not very complicated, the characters were pretty straight forward as well. I feel like I would have enjoyed a longer story but I was happy with the length and the pace of the story overall. I would have loved more description of the action scenes but I was also happy with what we were given in these scenes as well. I think my most favorite character in this book is Freddy. I know Dennis is more of our main character but Freddy as a character was super interesting with his Mongol background and  his internal struggle with honoring both his Mongol and American heritages.

All in all, it was a light, entertaining read that I would recommend if you are into LARPing or if you are just looking for a super light read with some fantasy element. I don’t know how many fiction based books there are about LARPing so I thought the fact that this was a fiction book about LARPing was rather cool indeed because I’ve never actually run across one myself and I like to browse fantasy fiction on a regular basis.

I gave this book four stars because it is such an enjoyable story and I ended up really liking it. It definitely does not have a complicated plot but it is an extremely likeable story, especially for those of us into geek culture.

justincalderoneAbout the Author

A writer with a passion for inspiring teens and young adults, Justin Calderone debuted his first novel LARP: The Battle for Verona in December 2012.

Calderone grew up in Verona, Penn., a suburb just northeast of Pittsburgh. He earned a bachelor’s degree in professional writing from La Roche College and graduated from Gannon University with a master’s degree in education. Calderone is expected to graduate in 2014 with a second master’s degree in educational leadership from Edinboro University.

Calderone, 36, began his journey as a writer nearly 20 years ago after reading Jack Kerouac’s Desolation Angels. He is the author of the 2004 collection of contemporary poetry Revolutions.

An English teacher at his alma mater, Penn Hills High School, Calderone lives in his hometown of Verona with his wife Emily and 1-year-old son Sam. He enjoys watching baseball, listening to music and has a special place in his heart for Spiderman.

Twitter: @JustinCalderone




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