An extinction-level asteroid, 213 Astraea, is cannonballing toward Earth. Collision, imminent. An international team of scientists is working around the clock to avert the cataclysm—few are optimistic. World governments are preparing for impact with deep earth bio-dome bunkers, but only a select few lottery winners will be saved.
Jack Mitchel, a thirty-two-year-old EMT living in a tiny studio apartment on the West Coast, isn’t one of those winners.
Still, there might be a way for him to survive Astraea: a slim chance, requiring a radical leap of faith. Through a connection at Osmark Technologies, Jack’s acquired a NexGenVR capsule and with it, a one-way ticket to the brand-new, ultra-immersive, fantasy-based VRMMORPG, Viridian Gate Online. Taking that leap of faith, though, means permanently trapping his mind in the game, killing his body in the process.
Worse, one in six die during the transition, and even if Jack beats the odds, he’ll have to navigate a fantastical world that’s filled with near-limitless opportunities, but also home to vicious monsters, domineering AIs, and cutthroat players. And when Jack stumbles upon a secret conspiracy to sell off virtual real estate to the ultrawealthy—transforming V.G.O. into a new feudal dark age—the deadly creatures inhabiting Viridian Gate’s expansive dungeons will be the least of his concerns.
If Jack can’t game the system, he’s going to be trading in a quick death for a long, brutal one …
My Opinion: 243 pages, $3.99, available on Kindle Unlimited.
If I had to describe Viridian Gate Online in one sentence it would be: A trapped in the game story with a hint of political intrigue.
The story doesn’t spend much time in the ‘real world’ since it’s going to be destroyed by an asteroid. Instead it jumps right into Viridian Gate Online where Jack plans to upload his mind instead of dying on earth. When Jack or “Grim Jack” as his game character is called, logs into the game, he finds himself in a dungeon and has to escape with sneaky thief named cutter. Along the way he tries to save an old woman and is sent on a difficult game quest that will eventually help him establish his character class.
The other storyline in the book involves a secret the developers are trying to keep from the rest of the game players and Grim Jack helping an old college girlfriends discover what it is.
It’s a good adventure story. The fight scenes are memorable, the main character is interesting, I really enjoyed the character classes available. They aren’t just standard cookie cutter tank, healer, mage, classes. There are a number of hybrid options. The world of Viridian Gate Online wasn’t as fleshed out as I would have liked. Having read it, I can’t really remember any location that stands out as interesting in my mind. Overall, it’s a nice read.
Score: 7 out of 10