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Description - Gamers' Quest by George Ivanoff

Tark and Zyra are teenaged thieves on a quest. In a world of magic and science, where dragons and mages exist alongside drones and lasers, they endeavour to reach the haven of Designers Paradise. But their world is not what it appears to be and their haven is about to come under threat of destruction. Can Tark and Zyra save Designers Paradise...and their own world?

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781876462864
ISBN-10: 1876462868
Format: Paperback
(200mm x 133mm x 13mm)
Pages: 208
Imprint: Ford Street Publishing Pty Ltd
Publisher: Hybrid Publishers
Publish Date: 1-Oct-2009
Country of Publication: Australia

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Book Reviews - Gamers' Quest by George Ivanoff

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Book Review: Gamers' Quest by George Ivanoff - Reviewed by (18 Nov 2011)

What began its life as a short story in Ford Street’s best-selling anthology, Trust Me! has metamorphosed into an action-packed adventure that not unlike The Matrix shines light on all the big questions regarding the nature of reality and the meaning of life.

Thieves Tark and Zyra are surviving on their wits in a world of science and sorcery. Their goal is to acquire enough money to buy them access to Designers Paradise, a place where, for a short while at least, they can escape into another world. After stealing a sword o’ light from Princeling Galbrath, Tark heads for the nearest dragon intent on liberating the creature from its gold. He succeeds, but little does he know that the dragon’s wife Vera, a humanoid robot with appalling dress sense and the tracking ability of a blood hound, is hot on his and Zyra’s trail. Zyra, too, has managed to get fellow thief Cracker, and The Fat Man off-side and so it is with pursuers aplenty the pair head for Paradise.

When Paradise is at last theirs, Tark and Zyra take on new forms that fit their world of choice—a world that’s eerily similar to our own with school, friends, family and everything else that we take for granted. Once there, however, it becomes apparent that something is very wrong. Believing they have killed the Fat Man, our teen team is shocked to learn they have instead helped him meld with the Designers’ system and bit by bit he is taking control determined to destroy all the worlds and create one that bows to his rules alone. When our heroes learn that the Designers are long gone, it’s down to them to foil the Fat Man.

It’s a well-known fact that electronic games with their never-ending quests and blood pressure raising adventures have lured away many a potential book-loving kid. But now one canny author has found the ideal way to snatch them back with a story that is every bit as riveting as a computer game.

Ivanoff has managed to raise some of the most intriguing and essential questions about what it means to be human while delivering a thrilling adventure story that resonates on many levels. Tark and Zyra’s experience in the sewers where they are tempted by the Rat Mage is almost biblical in its connotation. And so, too, the Designers are very much god-like entities hovering on the fringes of existence.

From the outset it seems to be a foregone conclusion that these larger than life characters are nothing more than game constructs. But are they? And if so, with their loves, hates and dreams, are they any less human than us?

Gamers’ Quest has all the makings of a cult classic. Highly recommended for its enjoyment value alone, this book would be a powerful tool in a classroom environment, sparking all manner of thought-provoking debates.

Jenny Mounfield has spent the past ten years studying the craft of writing for children and teens. Reviewing for Buzz Words since 2006, she is the author of three published novels for kids: Storm Born (Koala Books), The Black Bandit (Lothian) and, The Ice-cream Man (Ford Street Publishing). In addition she has a number of short stories published both in print and online. Jenny lives in north Brisbane with her husband and three children.

Book Review: Gamers' Quest by George Ivanoff - Reviewed by (12 Apr 2011)

In recent years, computer games have gone way beyond the likes of Pacman, Space Invaders and such. These days you can take on an avatar and “live” in Second Life, for example. When I was much younger, you could play Dungeons and Dragons around a table, with other fans. It was very sociable and you collected gold, treasure, skills and weapons at the roll of a pair of dice, going up to higher levels as you went. Now, you can go on-line to do the same thing.

What would happen if the avatars wanted the same thing, only in our world?

Anyone who has read the original short story on which this is based, in the Ford Street anthology Trust Me! will know immediately what’s going on in this novel, so I’m not giving much away. Even if you haven’t read the original, you pick it up fairly speedily.

Teenage thieves Tark and Zyra live in a world in which magic is mixed with technology. You can be using a sword o’light to kill a dragon one moment and battling a cyborg the next. The reasons for this become clear fairly soon. The young thieves use their ill-gotten gains to give them time in Designers’ Paradise, where they can do exotic things such as go to school, then home to do homework and watch television. But they have gotten in trouble with a character known as the Fat Man, who will not give up the chase, even when they are making their way to Designers’ Paradise. And Designers’ Paradise, when they get there, is also in danger…

A good introduction to speculative fiction for younger readers, this one is non-stop action with a light touch. There is a lot of delightful over-the-top silliness – you wouldn’t for example, want to be a mage in this world, where you can end up a toad if your spell bounces back at you. The story is a cross between a computer game and Dungeons and Dragons, with a touch of Westworld. The cover art is by wonderful book illustrator Les Petersen, who did the covers for Simon Haynes’ Hal Spacejock novels and several for Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. The images of Tark and Zyra look like computer game avatars, giving a strong hint of what the novel is about.

The author has set up a web site, http://www.gamersquestbook.com ,for readers who would like more stories about his characters.

Book Review: Gamers' Quest by George Ivanoff - Reviewed by (15 Dec 2009)

What began its life as a short story in Ford Street’s best-selling anthology, Trust Me! has metamorphosed into an action-packed adventure that not unlike The Matrix shines light on all the big questions regarding the nature of reality and the meaning of life.

Thieves Tark and Zyra are surviving on their wits in a world of science and sorcery. Their goal is to acquire enough money to buy them access to Designers Paradise, a place where, for a short while at least, they can escape into another world. After stealing a sword o’ light from Princeling Galbrath, Tark heads for the nearest dragon intent on liberating the creature from its gold. He succeeds, but little does he know that the dragon’s wife Vera, a humanoid robot with appalling dress sense and the tracking ability of a blood hound, is hot on his and Zyra’s trail. Zyra, too, has managed to get fellow thief Cracker, and The Fat Man off-side and so it is with pursuers aplenty the pair head for Paradise.

When Paradise is at last theirs, Tark and Zyra take on new forms that fit their world of choice—a world that’s eerily similar to our own with school, friends, family and everything else that we take for granted. Once there, however, it becomes apparent that something is very wrong.

It’s a well-known fact that electronic games with their never-ending quests and blood pressure raising adventures have lured away many a potential book-loving kid. But now one canny author has found the ideal way to snatch them back with a story that is every bit as riveting as a computer game.

Ivanoff has managed to raise some of the most intriguing and essential questions about what it means to be human while delivering a thrilling adventure story that resonates on many levels.

From the outset it seems to be a foregone conclusion that these larger than life characters are nothing more than game constructs. But are they? And if so, with their loves, hates and dreams, are they any less human than us?

Gamers’ Quest has all the makings of a cult classic. Highly recommended for its enjoyment value alone, this book would be a powerful tool in a classroom environment, sparking all manner of thought-provoking debates.

(Review by Jenny Mounfield, posted with permission.)


Author Biography - George Ivanoff

George Ivanoff is an author and stay-at-home dad residing in Melbourne. He has written over 30 books for children and teenagers, two of which are on the Victorian Premier's Reading Challenge booklist. George has also written for numerous magazines and anthologies, including Trust Me! and Doctor Who, Short Trips: Defining Patterns. Check out George's website at:www.georgeivanoff.com.au/

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