When hydrologists inscribe the consciousness of a human mind onto a single drop of water, a Revelation sweeps the land. The wealthy race to upload their minds into self-contained virtual realities nicknamed Aquariums. In these containers people achieve every hope, dream, and desire. But governments wage war for control of the technology. Terrorist attacks cause massive destruction. The Aquariums fail. Inscribed human minds leech into the water cycle, wreaking havoc.
Street gangs rule the cities in the three years since the fall of civilization. Sixteen-year-old Cami and her younger sister Alby struggle to survive. Every drop of untreated water puts their lives in peril. Caught and imprisoned by soldiers who plan to sell them into slavery, Cami will do anything to escape and rescue her sister. Even if it means leaving the real word for a life in the realms, a new game-like reality created by the hydrologists for the chosen few.
But life in the realms isn’t as simple as it seems. Magic, combat, gear scores, quests, and dungeons are all puzzles to be solved as the sisters navigate their new surroundings. And they encounter more dangerous enemies than any they faced in the real world.
Time to play the game.
My Opinion: 219 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
The first 1/3 of this story is great and very interesting. It’s a post- apocalypse survival story with a teen and her younger sister as the main characters. Water that possesses people is the killer instead of zombies or demons. Cool but no game stuff.
At 30% the novel shifts to the game element and it turns into this no risk fantasy MMO. The rest of the novel really reminds me of a game version of Narnia. Fun, fantasy, but with logic issues.
The game mechanics exists. There are item descriptions with numbers. Some ability descriptions. Even a formula for damage. However those numbers don’t really matter because in actual combat there are no damage numbers and health is given as a percentage. Not to say that this is a wrong way to describe combat but it does make all those weapon descriptions with their damage ranges meaningless. It’s a writing choice that says the author didn’t really want to deal with all those numbers. Also, towards the end of the story there some serious game logic issues.
One serious game logic issue that I bothered me happens at the end of the story. The level 3 main character gets level 60 ultra rare raid gear and can use it with no restrictions. The powers she gets and the boosts to her stats make her super over powered and it doesn’t make sense in terms of the game world why this happens. Then after she turns in a quest goes from level 3 to 20 instantly. I get why the author did this though. It’s because that's the minimal level needed to leave the starter area safely in book 2. Still, the events bother my gamer brain. I’m just annoyed by the inconsistency and the decision to sacrifice/break the rules of the world in favor of story progression.
This doesn't mean that the game stuff is bad. There are also plenty of gamer jokes and realistic gamer social attitudes.
However, there is a lack of logic continues with regards to the water based technology and some of the events in the story. There’s no attempt to explain the water based computing tech. How the tech is able to infiltrate the minds of humans to take possession also never explained. The application of this system is inconsistent in places. How the MC and her sister into the game seems like a serious stretch of logic and a complete break from the earlier part of the novel.
When the story gets to the game world, the main character and her sister meet a nice level 100 centaur guardian they make friends with. They go on a few simple quests then have to save their new friend when she’s poisoned by low level children players trying to cheat the game.
In this respect, the story reminds me of a game version of Narnia. No one questions why there’s a talking Lion walking around. It’s accepted as part of the fantasy world of an interesting kids story. If you can do that with this story and accept there’s no science behind the water mind upload tech or even consistency in upload rules, or application of some game logic, then you’ll like the story. I just couldn't and while it didn't ruin the story for me it did lower my enjoyment.
Score: 6 out of 10.