Forest (Gaia's Rebirth Book 1)

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When Nika’s new husband supported her decision to be in the initial beta test of Gaia’s Rebirth, she had thought he was being supportive.

She was wrong.

Now trapped in the game with the two contest-winning beta testers (one that happened to cheat his way in), Nika realizes that there is far more at stake than making her way through a simple beta test. If she doesn’t get out of the game soon, her whole life’s work will have been for nothing. And that isn’t how she wants to honor her father’s memory.

But her troubles are only just beginning.

The people back in the real world have a vested interest in keeping her within Gaia’s Rebirth, and they are changing the game to make that happen. That includes closing off her communications with the company and sending massively over-powered monsters to destroy her party in an endless loop of rebooted frustration.

The only way out is through…

Luckily, there are a few things the traitors don’t know. Like the fact that a clever little hacker/thief has managed to place herself within the game.

And she just might save them all.

Forest is Book One of the Gaia’s Rebirth Series. It is a full-length LitRPG novel.

 

My Opinion: 211 pages, $0.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

Set in the far flung future of 2070.

Set in 2070. Nika and her deceased father create Gaia's Rebirth, the most advanced full immersion game ever. Now it’s time for the beta test. When the scheduled game guide can’t make it, Nika herself volunteers to help the two lucky beta testers chosen to try and beat Gai’s Rebirth. Only once they log in, nothing goes quite like she expects and everyone trapped in the game due. Together with Ash, a hardcore gamer, and Dean, the newb, the three have to find someway escape the game or Nika risks losing her company.

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The story has a few interesting points that differentiate it from other LitRPG. First , the trapped in the game scenario is initiated because of corporate espionage. It’s a neat reason to justify keeping the game company's CEO in the game.

Another thing that makes this story different are the strong female leads. The ladies in this story rock! The women aren’t just portrayed as men with boobs. There are subtle social experiences that each woman has or is treated to that realistically portray how women are treated differently than men. Expectations to be pretty no matter how successful you are, or guys automatically trying to assume the lead even when there’s a more knowledgeable and qualified woman standing right next to them.

Not only is the portrayal of the woman in the story realistic, they’re also the hero's here. There are a couple of guys in the story but they never take the role of savior of the damsels in distress.

One review on Amazon points out that the men in the story are portrayed are “all shallow and often repugnant..” and that they had “the impression that the author had just been dumped and wrote this book to express her negative feelings toward men.”

I respectfully disagree. No, the men don’t get a ton of backstory but they aren’t the heroes in the story so they shouldn’t. One of the bad guys is totally repugnant but he’s the bad guy. He’s supposed to be. The female villains are portrayed the same. One of the guys in the group is kind of wimpy at the beginning but he’s also newb game player that lied to get there and he gets a lot less wimpy after he dies once and realizes it’s the worst that will happen.

The game mechanics in the story are decent. When characters level they get new class abilities and increases in health, mana, and damage. Nothing particularly special here but the quests and the tactics used to complete them all feels based on actual gaming experiences.

The story overall is pretty straightforward the first 8% is setup and you’re in the game by the 9% mark. Then rest of the story has the characters trying to find a way out of the game after they figure out the game has been changed to keep them all there. New characters come in throughout the story and keep things fresh and there are some good revelations that some people will see coming. There’s a lot of action since gaining XP comes from fighting mobs or completing quests. I also like that not all the quests were solved with violence but the characters used some good problem solving skills to complete them.

One of the things some people won’t like is that the novel sort of ends on a cliff hanger. There’s no sudden drop off but more of a … kind of ending.

Overall, an enjoyable story.

 

Score: 7 out of 10

Forest (Gaia's Rebirth Book 1)

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