Atherleah Carroll grew up in a negative-tax family in the gang-controlled suburbs of Brisbane at the end of the twenty-first century. From the age of six, she decided that she wanted more and with the help of her local gang-leader she learned the skills to escape the relentless pressure to mediocrity. On her sixteenth birthday, she was inadvertently implanted with a Neural Enhancement Chip instead of the free Government provided basic level personal AI. This mistake not only removed the limits placed on the AI but also broke some of the Government instigated control parameters. Leah’s life rapidly becomes a battle, both in the virtual-multiverse and in real life.
On the Stork Tower by Wáng Zhīhuàn
Along the mountains sink the last rays of sun,
Towards the sea, the Yellow River does forward go.
If you would fain command a thousand miles in view,
To a higher storey, you are expected to go
My Opinion: 364 pages likely more like 616, $3.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited
The majority of the story takes place in the game. Unfortunately, that’s not a great thing this time.
I just found the the real world storyline so much more interesting than the game world. There’s a ton of great world building for the real world. There’s a great deal of attention to the details of the real world. Leah’s backstory, cultural, and economic perspective are clear. There’s depth to the larger world’s AI and VR tech development. The author clearly conveys the hundred little ways that the rich and the poor are separated. There’s also an interesting story line about the Leah using her advanced AI to raise herself out of poverty and get accepted to prestigious Universities despite several forces determined to keep her in her place.
However the game world, is just boring and there’s not nearly as much world building. The game mechanics in the story are good, if a little confusing sometimes. But honestly every time I got to the game world, it just felt flat compared to the depth of info the author gave me about the real world.
Also, the main character (MC), Leah, in game just seems to have things too easy. When she first logs into the game she gets a bunch of bonuses and small upgrades. Why? Because she’s polite. And that seems like that’s her big super power here. She’s polite to in game AI and gets spells and quests other players don’t.
The fights in the game aren't bad but they’re not really interesting either because the MC just seems to win without effort. She’s not overpowered but there’s just no effort. For example, her first day playing the game she magically has the ability to defeat several groups of monsters above her level and even complete an undiscovered dungeon single handedly and without much effort. She also magically gets very epic gear and rare magical abilities. All without ever having played fantasy games like this one before.
While there are some neat things in the game, like the author including puzzles the reader could solve in the dungeon, some PvP, and crafting. It’s wasn’t enough to keep my attention.
The real world storyline would get a 7 out of 10. The game one a 5 out of 10. So, I’ll split the difference and give the novel a
Score: 6 out of 10