Black Hat (Afterlife Online Book 2)

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Life’s a Grind

Living in a virtual game world sounds like the ultimate dream. Plenty of action, intrigue, and guess who gets to be the big hero?

But what happens when that digital reality gets flipped on its head? Bad guys are after your sweet loot, your fancy title is loaded with unrealistic expectations, and achieving such a high level comes with a big fat target on your back.

It isn’t long before Talon and company learn that, in an MMO, the daily grind is a literal fact of life.

Something has to give, so when a new crusader faction rolls into town, Talon senses an opportunity. Not just to get out of Dodge, but to navigate unforgiving terrain to the edge of the world where he can make a difference. Have a real impact. Be a real hero.

The catch? An awakened dragon, a city of cutthroats, and a mystical executioner with a sharpened axe to grind. Welcome to the first of a few very long days.

 

My Opinion: 365 pages, $5.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

This is the sequel for the very popular LitRPG novel, Reboot.

Overall a decent action adventure story. However, some of the issues I had with that novel are still here and there are even some new ones.

First, there are even more religious overtones in the story. There’s a whole new faction of crusaders and bigoted priests in addition to Lucifer, the Saints, and Pagans.

Also, the plot for the first half of the novel feels totally forced. The main character is practically shoved down a story path and he just goes along with it without much questioning. The story gets a little more interesting after the 50%. But even the twist there isn’t surprising. The bad guy isn’t really the bad guy and the supposed good guy you you hated turns out to be the real bad guy.

Part of my review for book 1: “One of the places the story shines is the in potential depth of the game mechanics and the authors background as a real life game designer show through here.”

That sort of disappears in book 2. There’s enough RPG mechanics that it’s LitRPG but you can tell that the RPG mechanics take a serious backseat in book 2. There are only a handful of examples of XP, and most game notifications are relegated to the fight scenes. This a big shift from what I loved about book 1.

For example, the main character goes from level 1-8 in book 1. In book 2, he makes level 9 at the beginning of the story and doesn’t gain another level the entirety of book. Another example is that in book 1 there are 26 references to XP being awarded. However, in book 2 there are only 6 references to XP being awarded.  There is are character sheets for the end state of the book but it’s information that I would have like to have seen in the beginning to show where the characters are starting off. It would have at least given the few XP gains some context.

I don’t want you to think that there’s nothing good about the story. There’s lots of action and adventure. A good amount of gamer jokes and some very funny scenes.

Overall, while I enjoyed the story, a plot line that felt forced coupled with the severely minimal RPG mechanics, made this less entertaining for me than book 1.

Score: 6 out of 10

Black Hat (Afterlife Online Book 2)

http://amzn.to/2zf9jFN