Title: Username: Evie
Author: Joe Sugg, et al.
Genre: Fiction, Graphic Novel, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Loner Evie is left a unique gift by her late father: E.Scape, a virtual reality which can be shaped by the visitor, offering Evie an escape from her school and home life. However, when the virtual world begins to erupt into chaos, Evie soon learns that she is not the only one shaping the landscape.
I was a little sceptical of this book as I originally saw it in Sainsburys, of all places, and I often consider graphic novels not mainstream enough for supermarket shelves. Nonetheless, the title and author (a successful YouTuber, no doubt the reason Sainsburys sold it) captured my attention, and I finally managed to get my hands on a copy.
Evie, the protagonist, was a lovely character – timid and kind, she was easy to love from a reader’s perspective, but these traits made her less popular with the kids at school, including her outgoing cousin Mallory. I was a bit unsure as to why exactly she was the most hated person in school, so perhaps a little more backstory would have helped here.
When Evie’s father passes away, she is forced to live with her awful cousin, and that is when she discovers her father’s parting gift: E.Scape. Upon her arrival in the virtual world, she is greeted by the striking character Unity, an amalgamation of all that is living in E.Scape. I thought Unity was a great addition to the story; she was a unique character who watched the events unfold from a distance, like a neutral overseer of the world, and was easily my favourite character.
During her time in E.Scape, Evie is forced to step out of her comfort zone, and tie up loose ends from the death of her father, finding the confidence to stand up for herself and fight for what she believes in. She even teams up with a mysterious disfigured boy along the way, and they form a friendship – this boy resembles the only person at school who shows an interest at her, and I liked that in the virtual world Evie was able to work through her feelings for him. This does however lead to a slightly embarrassing ending, but it didn’t spoil the book at all.
The story works very well as a graphic novel, and although the style of art wasn’t completely to my taste, it seemed to fit the mood of the story. One of the parts of the story I didn’t particularly like was that Evie sought solace in the fridge when she was stressed. It just seemed really quite random, and I didn’t understand why her bedroom wasn’t a sanctuary for her, while the fridge was. Maybe there was deeper meaning, but I just found it odd.
In some ways it feels that the book could have been a lot longer – E.Scape was a world of endless possibilities, and I would have like to have seen Evie spend longer in there before things went wrong. Nonetheless, I enjoyed it very much as an action-packed piece of science fiction, and a good debut from Joe Sugg. Despite my list of criticisms, I still think it is worthy of five stars.
Star Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ (5/5)
Joe Sugg has over five million followers on YouTube. I’ve never watched any of his videos, but his channel can be found here if anyone is interested.