Book Review – “Backward Compatible” (Author: Sarah Daltry & Pete Clark)

Backward Compatible: A Geek Love Story

From Goodreads:

A YA Gamer Geek Comedy in the vein of Scott Pilgrim and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.  Ideal for fans of The Big Bang Theory, The Guild, and all things Joss Whedon.

WARNING: There is no sex in this book. Your Kindle or other device will remain at a pleasant room temperature. At no point will your panties drop. Your significant other will be allowed to snore in peace as you read. You may, however, laugh yourself out of commission.

Not too long ago, in a town that, depending on your current location, is either not super far or actually quite close… (insert Star Wars theme music here…)

It is a time of chaotic hormones. 

Two nerdy gents home for winter break have discovered a female gamer at a midnight release.

During the break, the gamer trio manages to reveal the game’s secret boss, a hidden enemy with enough power to destroy anything in its path.

Pursued by other gamers who want to be the first to beat this boss, George and Katie race to level up, and, in so doing, restore decency and sexual activity to their personal galaxy…


I picked up this book as part of my latest haul… and yes, it was due to my geekiness, along with the promise of a story akin to “Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist” and “Scott Pilgrim”, two films which I have enjoyed.  And that’s good thing because it has geekiness in bucket loads.

The story is told in first person from the points of view of the story’s two lead characters, George and Katie.  Both are gamers who meet at a midnight opening for the their favourite computer game series.  Through a case of both wanting the same copy of the game.  From this, an immediate dislike turns to relationship and, into an awkward romantic relationship between the pair over a period of the Festive break.

Alongside the story of a new relationship, is a quest story as in “Nick & Norah”.  For that book, it was a secret gig, in this book it’s a competition that forms part of the game where the prize is a trip to Montreal and $10,000.

I’ve read stories from a twin first person point of view narrative, but this one builds upon the “He Said, She Said” formula that I’ve previously experienced by overlapping the story with one character’s narrative slightly overlapping with the other.

The lead characters of George and Katie could be cut from the cloth of many a YA novel, but from my perspective, I didn’t mind given the storyline.  Both are college students who aren’t your typical romantic leads, given that they are both Gamers, but they have the same doubts written into them about whether they are in a friendship or boyfriend and girlfriend.  I have to admit that I rooted for them because of that, because the uncertainty drives the “A” storyline with each expressing their doubts through their internal monologue until a pivotal scene involving a Group date.

Both George and Katie have the traditional “best friend” characters to accompany them, Lanyon and Anna respectively.  Lanyon is pretty much the loser friend who hangs around dispensing advice to George, usually crude and sexual in nature , but who is a poor prospect in the dating stakes himself and geeky to the point of imagining that he’s a big kid full of e-numbers.  Out of the two friend roles, Lanyon dominates the book, due to the way he behaves and the fact that he features more in this story.

Anna is written as a bit of an airhead who likes popularity along with the athletic boyfriend, the love for shops like Victoria’s Secret and a need to improve her best friend’s dating chances.

As I said the geeky humour is trowelled on and I defy anybody not to recognise a quote from “Star Wars”, “The Hobbit”, “Game Of Thrones”… even “Monty Python And The Holy Grail” has a cameo appearance.

For me, this book was a page turner – from beginning right through to the end – with a nicely flowing narrative driven by the relationship and quest storylines,  warmly written characters and geeky references to satisfy the most ardent fan.

The description is true to its word that there are no scenes of a sexual nature.  That said, there is plenty of sexual language references and swearing, so you’ll need to bear this in mind if you want to buy this book.

That said, if you do choose to buy this book, you will be rewarded with a humourous book with laughs ranging from sly grins and chuckles to laugh out loud moments.

Rating: 5/5

4 thoughts on “Book Review – “Backward Compatible” (Author: Sarah Daltry & Pete Clark)

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