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Review of "Beta Test" by Annabeth Albert




Beta Test
I've been waiting to read this book since finishing Status Update several months ago.  I didn't think I could like something as much as I did that one, but Beta Test blew that one out of the water.  I started it last night, not long after finishing the disappointment that was Deep Dark and finished it about an hour ago.  This book was so good that it got me through a power outage.   Normally, I'm crawling up the walls within an hour of the power going out, but with Beta Test I was able to get through an entire morning (and part of the afternoon) without power.

Tristian Jones loves his job at a video game start-up based in Santa Monica.  Video games got him through an awful time in his life and being able to play a role in developing them is a dream come true for him.  Except there's Ravi.  He's a bit of a flake and doesn't seem to take anything seriously.  Plus, he's the sexiest man, Tristian has ever seen.  The only thing is that Tris isn't out at work and the more time he spends with Ravi he's less sure about continuing down the path he's outlined for himself.

Ravi Tandel loves his job just as much as Tristain loves his, which is why he is absolutely not going to get involved with him.  He'd done the co-worker thing before and it did not work out very well.  Unfortunately, the more he gets to know Tris, the more he wants to be with him.

As I already said, I loved this book so much.  It is the second book in the #Gaymers series and takes place int he same universe as Status Update, so we get an update on Adrian and Noah and get to see them as a happy, committed couple.

What pushed this book over the edge into Good Book Sigh territory was that neither Ravi nor Tristian hated each other for being gay.  Sure, Tris has some issues with public PDA and people knowing who he really is, but he's not wrapping himself in religion and pretending to be something that he is not.  While neither of their families are all that acceting of their sexuality, they're not forcing them to stay in the closet (although, Tris's politically minded parents keep refering to it as being a phase and want him to be discreet).

I also loved Ms. Albert's sense of humor.  My favorite part involved Ravi thinking something along the lines of "Danger. Danger." because of his attraction to Tris.  I kept thinking that there needs to be a Lost in Space meme out there--and I actually found one:

danger will robinson


Ravi thinks something along those lines several times and the second time around, he includes the thought that it should come along with some alien-like robot waving its arms about while shouting, "Alert."  Not quite, "Danger, Will Robinson!"  Close enough, in my book, though.

The one issue I had with Beta Test was that there were a few too many similarities between it and Status Update.  They both involved long road trips that took up about half the book.  Both Adrian and Ravi thought that Noah and Tristian were homophobes.  Both involved external forces trying to keep them apart solely because they're gay.  I haven't read any of Ms. Alberts's other books, so I don't know if this is something that runs through them all and I seriously hope not.  Surely, she can think of other ways to get her heroes together, to make them comfortable enough to be themselves and let their partner get close enough to truly understand each other.

Even with these similarities, this book was so much fun to read that I can't see myself giving it anything less than a perfect score.

5 Stars

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