Being a woman online is difficult—even for a duchess.
Daphne has just won the Eternal Reign Novelization Contest, which seems like a great achievement but, thanks to internet trolls, means her life is about to get much worse. In the world of Eternal Reign, the MMORPG she plays as Duchess Fatiguee, her inbox begins to fill with violent threats, and the company running the game refuses to help her fight back against the abuse. As she’s a struggling actress who loves playing to relieve stress and doesn’t want to leave the game entirely, she disguises herself as a new, male player in the kingdom of Duchess Uhruu. The player behind Duchess Uhruu is also a woman, and as they chat, their chemistry builds, especially after Duchess Fatiguee is deposed in a coup and Daphne spends more time in her new world. Daphne is excited to meet her crush at GeeKon but is worried that her new duchess won’t like her when she finds out she's a woman—especially as Daphne has also started questioning her gender identity. This short and sweet story is light on romance, so its real joys are in the delightful friendships throughout the book, online and off. Readers unfamiliar with online gaming may feel overwhelmed by detail, especially by the sadly realistic depictions of online hate speech, but Kudisch is an able guide to a misunderstood world. Daphne’s experimentations with gender are thoughtfully portrayed among all the geek drama, and while the happy-ever-after is nontraditional, it satisfies.
A contemporary romance that will pleasantly surprise readers willing to try a new type of heroine.