Shadow of the Rogue: A LitRPG Fantasy Adventure (Hearts Book 1)

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Life in 2036 sucks!

Hi, my name is Cassie James. I live with my parents in what's left of Seattle. For a twenty year old girl, I'm pretty typical. To pay for my gaming habit, I work at the local supermarket. While the job is really tedious, it's better than unemployment.

Most nights you can find me plugged in. That's when I can get a moments peace from my parents drunken bickering. Still, my life was fairly boring, until I decided to try Odyssey Online! I'm super addicted to leveling Kira Nightwind, my Shadow Thief!

However, something's gone terribly wrong!

You see, an epic level NPC has grown self-aware. And Grymme is not a dragon to be trifled with! He has mind-napped over five-hundred people. Leaving them trapped in the game. He's also launched a massive offensive to take over Odyssey Online, one kingdom at a time. The only way to stop him, is to locate three legendary items. Each one containing an unlock that makes us players more powerful. The problem being Grymme has agents everywhere. And they are willing to do anything to win!

If that weren't enough, I'm developing a serious girl crush on Shauna, a very cute Elf healer. With the help of Leonidas the Paladin, Cairngorm the Wizard, and Yvir the Barbarian, we might just defeat Grymme and win our freedom!

 

My Opinion: 229 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

**There is a brief lesbian sex scene at the 67-68% mark. It’s not graphic.**

The first 1% of the story is the most interesting and original part of the story to me. The main character (MC), Cassie is a 20 year old gamer in the year 2036. She has to work a crappy job to pay for gaming habits while living at home with her parents. The world is becoming increasingly automated. She like many people escape into full immersion VR and Cassie just got a new game.

By the 2% mark, there’s a brief section that attempts to introduce some character creation stuff but it’s highly inconsistent. The novel describing the dwarven race in detail then just casually mentioning that there are other races. Then the main character chooses to be a human shadow thief and sort of ignores describing that there are even other classes. Then the story just skips to where the MC level 8 and she’s finishing a training quest through a maze.

At the 9% mark, after a brief logout, the MC logs back in and the story becomes super paint by number. When Cassie logs back in, she finds she’s not only lost all her items, but also lost levels, and is trapped in the game with the pain sensations turned on, and permadeath. Die in the game, die in real life. Then she’s saved by a Paladin from some PvP players and taken to a tavern where she’s introduced to a conveniently balanced group that just happens to know about a secret Emergency Exit option.

 

**Spoilers***

Turns out that the emergency exit is a super difficult quest to collect special items and then defeat a terribly difficult boss. Oh, and just for good measure a rogue AI is thrown into the mix.

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The rest of the story is the group trying to recover the items they need while trying to be stopped by the rogue AI and the players that support it. Everything storywise was highly predictable.

The RPG game mechanics in the story are there throughout the story and there’s a lot of accurate game theory. So, the story it absolutely LitRPG. However, those mechanics aren’t very consistent. During combat there are sometimes damage notifications, but mostly not. Numbers given for things like character levels shift. All the game stuff is written in caps, so it looks like this:

A BLEEDING DOT HAS BEEN APPLIED TO YOU!

YOUR STEALTH HAS BEEN DEACTIVATED.

So, it feels like the novel is yelling at you a lot. Also, the game mechanics of the story that have been established, disappear at the drop of a hat if it’s convenient for the story.

Two examples: 1) When attacked by other players early in the story, the MC uses a never before revealed ability to instakill a high level player for 835. Yet only pages before she’s only done 50 damage max. 2) When escaping from a dungeon she hits a guard with her elbow in the head, knocking him out instantly, instead of starting combat. Again, no unarmed non-lethal skills were given to the MC it’s just added because the story needs it.

This happens through the story and really illustrates that the game stuff just isn't’ really important to the author.

Overall, the mediocre predictable story and inconsistent game mechanics made this a meh story for me.

Score: 5 out of 10

Shadow of the Rogue: A LitRPG Fantasy Adventure (Hearts Book 1)

http://amzn.to/2wKIeoP