Note: This ARC was provided by Riptide Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
Don't Feed the Trolls is the new standalone--and sophomore--release from author Erica Kudisch and it's a gamer romance with a pansexual genderqueer who's originally introduced to readers as Daphne Benoit--with a well-known online female alt named Duchess Fatiguee in the Eternal Realm RPG. After she wins a story-writing contest, she becomes a target for a variety of phobics in the Eternal Realm game, as if being a female gamer isn't enough to attract the haters and trolls. So, what's a gamer to do? They create a male alt, of course, if only to be able to play in relative peace and anonymity. Bannedict is born and with him comes a new name for the person behind the alt--Daphnis, who quickly finds an ally in Laura. Falling for someone online isn't a novelty. Pretending to be someone you're not isn't either. But Daphne isn't sure if she's still Daphne...or if he's now Daphnis. They're going to have to figure things out sooner rather than later, especially with a convention coming up. Does Daphne stand her ground as a female gamer? How will Daphnis tell Laura the truth? Do they have to choose or can they have it all? Maybe?
This was definitely one of the more creative and original stories I've come across so far this year. It would be easy to label it an F/F romance, but if there's one thing that the main character's struggles highlight, it's that too many people label. Maybe it's because it's simpler to just take one look at someone, peg them into a certain category, and be done with it. No muss, no fuss. But that's not how the world today works. There isn't just one gender and ideas and philosophies regarding sexuality are, oftentimes, more personal than they are peer-driven or society-dictated. They may start off as Daphne and then choose to become Daphnis, but the journey to discovering who they are isn't a complication-free one for our main character. I wanted to see how they would resolve the issues they were forced to confront simply because of preconceived notions of other people and it made for a truly entertaining and enlightening read. Don't Feed the Trolls is eye-opening and thought-provoking and has one of the most diverse cast of characters I've enjoyed getting to know in two hours' time. I'm giving this five out of five stars. ♥
Date Read: 04 April 2017
Learn more about Erica Kudisch.