Alex Collins steps into a brand-new virtual reality world, Epic Online. There he meets allies and enemies, gains power, and has his ass handed to him a few times.
This is the author's take on the emergent genre, LitRPG. For those familiar with the genre, this novel incorporates village building, leveling, spellcasting, statistics, crafting, and other elements one might find in an RPG game. I try to keep things moving at a brisk pace, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
My Opinion: 166 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
There are two well developed and interesting parts of this novel.
The first is the technology behind the ability to fully immerse someone in a game, the conduit. It’s well described, seems scientifically plausible, and even takes into account possible social stigma for getting an elective surgery to play games. Nice.
The second well done bit is the magic system the author created for the main character (MC). It uses a language like system that has core words and modifiers that change spell effects. I enjoyed seeing what the next magic word the MC learned was and how he used it.
Unfortunately, beyond those to two things the rest of the story feels very undeveloped. Only one character felt like they had personality, everyone else was a bit flat and had no background to inform who they were.
The RPG game mechanics existed but had little detail. There are levels, but they seemed to be handed out after every fight the MC had. There aren’t small informational details like XP notifications, damage notifications, monster/player health. Not that those details are needed for the story to be LitRPG, but those small things show relative strength between opponents and give that sense of progression in a game system.
There’s also an attempt at town building in the story but it felt forced and out of place. The MC helps save a tent community from orcs and within a few sentences is suddenly just in charge of the village. Except there’s no text or game notification saying he was giving ownership of the village. Nor was there some village meeting where the NPCs decided to put him in charge. One paragraph he’s saving them, the next he’s upgrading buildings and scouts are reporting to him like he’s in charge. There just wasn’t development for the situation.
It’s the same with much of the story, event’s occur without any real setup. Player refugees appear and are just apart of the story suddenly even though no detail about where they come from is given. I get that it’s a setup for later twists in the story but the lack of development or setup for it makes it feel awkward.
Even though the story takes an interesting sci fi twist near the end it doesn’t do much for the story. A lot of the story just wasn’t interesting for me because nothing felt important or developed. This isn’t a bad story, it has good potential but much of it felt flat to me, especially the game mechanics.
The scifi end, the tech, and the magic system keep the story from being ‘meh’ but it’s not enough to bring it to a ‘good story’ score.
Score: 6 out 10