Ali-A adventures. Game on by Alastair Aiken and Cavan Scott

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Lead artist: Aleksandar Sotinovski. Puffin Books, 2017. ISBN 9780141388168
(Age: Primary - Lower secondary) Recommended. Themes; computer games, aliens, superheroes. Ali-A is attending a gaming convention with his dog, Eevie and partner Clare, reporting to his online fan base of gamers. It is the launch of the new game "Alien Liberator II" and as he is about to do an interview everyone starts to morph into Thralls, vulnerable aliens from the game. Things go from bad to worse as the models of the Giant Tyrantors come to life too and imprison the Thralls and Clare. It is up to Ali-A to become the Liberator with his knowledge of playing the game to help him overcome the evil ones. We progress through the levels of the game, Ali and Eevie picking up super powers on the way but Ali also loses some of his allocated five lives on the way and it is touch and go at the end. Fast paced and engaging, the story blends the excitement of a computer game of alien forces and special powers with a traditional story of teamwork and belief in oneself triumphing over bullies. Beautifully crafted graphics maintain the excitement and add depth and dimension to what is a simple adventure story. Readers will probably be familiar with Ali-A's online presence; according to Wikipedia his YouTube subscriber count is 4.6 million so this book can be a useful bridge for young online fans who might be reluctant readers. Recommended for primary and lower secondary students.
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Sue Speck