The world’s a game, and we’re all players – that’s how things work in Epic. Digital currency can be spent and gained in the global VR video game. Our protagonist is rather poor, and has to play the odds – then he makes the stupid and desperate move to go all in on CHA. I liked the book a lot, and especially considering it’s from 2004, it’s held up incredibly well. Nice storytelling, too!
Re-reading, I found much just like I remembered it, and other things that I had forgotten – it was ahead of its time with its downtrodden teenagers starting a rebellion, looking from today, you’d have to mention Hunger Games. I didn’t remember the game being sentient (cool!) and the ruling class being comically evil (boo! but also expected, I suppose).