After a terrible car accident puts seventeen-year- old Noah Newbolt into a coma, he is hooked up to the innovative Dream Engine—a virtual reality helmet that immerses the player in an online fantasy game. The Dream Engine keeps Noah’s mind alive while doctors frantically work to heal his body, but dying in the game could send Noah back into a coma, forever. Meanwhile, Noah’s girlfriend, Sue, is suffering injuries from the same car crash, and the doctors grow confused when she seemingly fails to connect to the game. Then Noah encounters a mysterious avatar who suggests the last remnants of Sue’s consciousness are being held prisoner in the most dangerous part of the game. Noah takes it upon himself to rescue Sue, allying himself with a group of high-level players. But as he rises through the ranks, his high status earns him the ire of top players across the world. Can Noah stay alive—and awake—long enough to save Sue and escape the game? NOTE: Stuck in the Game is a cyberpunk, video game science fiction & fantasy novel.
My Opinion: 224 pages. $2.99, available on Kindle Unlimited.
Stuck in the Game was brought to my attention on twitter by Future House Books when they tagged the LitRPG podcast. Unfortunately, they also described it there as Sword Art Online + Ready Player One. So my expectations were higher than they should have been. The story has a setup similar to Sword Art Online but that’s the only real similarity. There’s no similarity to Ready Player One. That aside, it’s a pretty decent story.
A young man and his girlfriend get into a car accident. They’re both brain damaged and hooked up to a dream based VR system. Because of the delicate nature of his brain and the mechanics of the game, if he dies in the game though he might fall into an irreversible coma.
In game he gets a mysterious message hinting that the girlfriend, who was also in the car accident, might be trapped somewhere in the game world and he goes off to find her. While this story point is brought up in the book description, it doesn’t show up in the story till about half way through the book. That annoyed me a little.
Other than that it’s a perfectly fine ‘trapped in a game’ story with lots of leveling, decent fights, and an interesting magic system. I’d rate the story 6 out of 10. Better than average.