For The Win by Cory Doctorow is a YA science fiction novel set in the near future focusing on online gaming, gold farming and economics. The book features many characters who are gold farmers and other game players from around China and India. These characters make their living playing games but are exploited for their labour and so they form a union which could bring could the economy of the games and have a big impact in the real world.

I have a mixed history with Cory Doctorow. Having read this one I have now read all of his novels. I thought his earlier books were okay, then I absolutely loved Little Brother, his previous YA book, and then absolutely hated Makers, his last novel before this one.

I liked this one. I thought it got the balance right between presenting interesting ideas and having a good plot and characters. I actually wish I had read it last year around the same time I read Neal Stephenson’s Reamde, as I felt they had some ideas in common and this one, which is fast paced and enjoyable, would have been a good counterpoint to that massively bloated book.

Overall I enjoyed it and I would recommend checking it out if you are interested in that kind of near-future SF. You can actually get it for free as an ebook from Doctorow’s website; indeed all of his books are available as free downloads, which makes it nice and easy to check it out and see if you like his writing (although this one did have some ‘adverts’ for book shops in it that were written by Doctorow, which annoyed me a bit).