‘He spreads out his hands. They glow yellow, then orange. Threads emerge from underneath his nails, shining out of the skin. They weave themselves together, the fingers knitting their light-made lace until the threads form a fabric heading out of the glass panes and towards the fields. They cross the glass without so much as a shudder. Seo crafts his land.’ Seo Kuroaku has it all. Adopted as a boy by the formidable Sir Neil, he’s the youth champion of Twine, the high-pressured national sport. Played in arenas where thousands come to watch, weavers craft creatures from their fingertips to wage battle against fearsome opponents. But this is a Britain of much darker times – and Seo is harbouring a secret. When he is outed, Twine can’t help him. With the help of his little brother Minjun and Jack, the man he can’t decide if he loves or not, Seo has to find a way to get his life back on track, whilst facing the biggest match of his life. In The Game Weavers, Rebecca Zahabi has created a fantastical yet hauntingly contemporary narrative which is both love story and fable – The Game Weavers is a coming of age story about the importance of intimacy, family and self-acceptance.
The Game Weavers
(Review written on 5th October 2020)
The Game Weavers is quite different to the books I generally read, but it’s always good to try something completely out of my comfort zone every now and again. The Game Weavers was pitched to me as a “fantasy/magical realism YA novel with LGBTQ themes exploring love, identity and coming-of-age.” I have enjoyed the escapism this book has provided. It’s an interesting concept and puts a unique spin on gaming.
Weaving is a game where the weavers literally weave twine directly from their fingertips and compete against each other in massive arenas. It sounds terrifying and painful to me, and sometimes is. However, it’s also extremely creative. I could easily visualise some of the scenes created during the matches. Some of the creatures and scenes sound amazing! There is some beautifully descriptive language used throughout this story.
There are some lovely characters in this book (and some not so lovely!). Seo is a well-known, competition level, teenage weaver. He has a lot of fans, and he lives for his sport, but he has a secret he feels he needs to keep so as not to offend anyone, especially Sir Neil, his adoptive father. He is gay, but the society he lives in makes him feel he is unable to be open about this, which I find extremely sad.
Minjun (Seo’s younger brother) is a lovely character. It was interesting to view their lives through his younger eyes.
Sir Neil is a harsh character, but quite believable. He isn’t particularly affectionate with the boys, but he has given them a comfortable life and mentored Seo throughout his career and success. He struggles to accept the idea of Seo having a boyfriend, mostly I think because he feels his fans might turn against him. He makes no secret of this either.
Jack is an adorable character. I was routing for him and Seo the whole time.
I think there will be a lot of readers who will relate to Seo’s story or at least empathise with him. I’m also sure gamers will love the concept of weaving!
Many thanks to Emily Walton and Zuntold Publishing for my review copy.