In a galaxy where the fabric of reality can be bent and shaped by a privileged few, and almost any skill desired is a mere injection away, one young man is thrust into the fight of his life.
Tane, a hydroponics farmer with some mad cereal crop gene-splicing skills, decides to get chipped. The operation gives him full control over his autonomic nervous and endocrine systems, plus the ability to install custom memories.
All seems well until a couple of days later aliens come knocking at his door. And they aren't the friendly type.
Soon Tane finds himself on a frenzied flight across the galaxy with a woman who can warp the very fabric of spacetime, her bodyguard--who’d just as soon kill Tane than protect him--and a starship that calls him snarky pet names. He's on the run not simply from the aliens but the whole damn human space navy.
He only wished he knew why.
Unfortunately for Tane, the answer might just destroy him.
Not to mention the entire known universe.
My Opinion: 812??, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
In several LitRPG Facebook groups the author advertised this book as his first foray into LitRPG and described the novel as ‘mixing in some Star Wars in your LitRPG’. From the original book cover art, which heavily mimics the early Star Wars posters, you can tell there’s a definite influence from that franchise. A farm boy who’s whisked away by a princess type and smuggler. He discovers he’s more than what he thought he was, eventually wielding a lightsaber-like weapon. In the novel there are plenty of Star Wars references but there are also plenty of original sci fi aspects. Self-aware AI robots, inter-dimensional aliens, space tech and magic powers that use the essence of the universe. Each is well explained and described in sci fi terms.
The plot, is pretty predictable. The moment the author mentioned that there was a light and dark essence, it was pretty obvious how the main character (MC) was going to be shown to be special. There are good space battles and the end is certainly action filled. But overall, the story was rather predictable.
The sci fi aspects of the novel are well written. There is lots and lots of detail and neat explanations about future tech, future cultures, galactic history, and more. However, what the novel really lacks is good RGP mechanics. That’s not to say they don’t exists in the story, they’re just really rare and not really detailed once you get past the beginning of the story.
Most of the RPG stuff is explained in a sci fi way in the first 3% of the novel when the MC gets an implant in his brain that gives him an augmented reality view of the world and allows for nano upgrade to his mind and body. With this implant the MC now has a character sheet that shows his attributes and assigns numbers to reflect his proficiency in those areas. He can purchase nano injections that will increase those attributes or upload whole new skills to his mind. If he learns a new skill it shows up on his character sheet along with a level to show how good he’s become with it.
However, after the 3% most of the the promised game mechanics disappear. The most common one seen is the AR augmentation to see people’s names and their levels, or get an item description. There’s not much progression RPG wise in the story. There are a handful of instances where the MC purchases a nano upgrade to get a new skill or increase an attribute and a few more when he learns a new skill through practice. It’s really disappointing because the foundation for a good LitRPG novel were laid in the first 3% of the novel. There just wasn’t much follow through.
I don’t know if this was because the author fell back on his great sci fi writing skills or if he was just afraid to alienate his current reader base by including too much ‘game stuff’ but it’s disappointing.
When I was reading the story I kept seeing so many places the established RPG mechanics could have been implemented. The MC learns how to do so many new things going from farmer to space man but he hardly ever gets a new skill for it. There were lots of places to increase stats. With the spaceship there could have been a whole detailed upgrade option. Or when learning how to use the essence/siphon, there could have been a detailed skill tree the MC had to choose powers from like in Knights of the Old Republic.
Overall, the sci-fi elements of the story are well written but I wanted to read a good LitRPG story and this just wasn’t it.
Score: 5 out of 10