Voted Book of the Year by Russian readers. At long last available in English. The future is already here, and Harry has been given a chance to experience it first-hand. He, of all people, knows that VR can become larger than life—and a computer game can be More Than a Game.
Being a society columnist means mixing with all elements of humanity—except that now, Harriton Nikiforov (a.k.a. Hagen the Warrior) is busy updating his day planner with the names of elves, orcs, goblins, and other out-of-this-world MMORPG characters. Instead of free champagne, this time around, he is given unlimited playtime in Fayroll, a virtual reality game.
He is also given explicit orders to write a series of fluff pieces on the game and its developers. He grudgingly accepts the assignment, but soon finds himself enthralled by the virtual fantasy world and its amazing quests, unpredictable challenges, and nearly endless possibilities. Will he still dare to claim that…it's all just a game? And will his real life ever be the same again?
My Opinion: 322 pages, $6.95, Not available on Kindle Unlimited
Andrey Vasilyev has a 11 books written in the Fayroll series in Russia and the 1st one has been translated into English. It’s an expensive process from what other Russian authors have told me and I’m glad that he’s taken the gamble that English reading LitRPG fans will like his work.
Having said that I did get an early release copy of the novel but have purchased it at the almost $7 price tag when it was released. It’s rather expensive for me but it’s only fair since I want to support more translation work. I also want to acknowledge that there were a couple sentences that weren't translated in an early edition but that has been corrected.
Ok. The review. The short version: It’s ok. Then it gets better.
Harriton is a reporter that gets assigned to write a series of articles on the latest full immersion VR game, Fayroll.
He plays the VR tourist in the first 30% of the story as a way to explain of how the game mechanics of the world work. He gets power leveled by a guild he lucks into joining. There are PVP fights, and PVE fights but he mostly gets lucky connecting with players willing to help him out as a new player.
After the 30% mark Harriton/Hagen the warrior goes off on his own and explores the game world. This is where the story gets more interesting to me since as a solo player he has to depend on his own skills and gets more interesting and unique quests like: Fighting undead landlords, witches and witchers, marrying vilas, and more.
Occasionally the main character has to leave the VR world, though the only thing in the real world that Harriton has to deal with are the articles he has to write, a jealous girlfriend, and a demanding editor. There’s a promising thread about powerful guilds looking for him after he gets a super rare quest but that doesn’t go anywhere in this book.
As I was reading the last 40% of the novel I kept getting the nagging feeling that I’d read this story somewhere before but couldn’t find anything online or on Amazon. I asked the translation team but they confirmed that it hadn’t appeared anywhere else that they were aware of.
Maybe I’ve just read so much LitRPG that I’m starting to confusing them all? Who knows.
This is not some epic story to save trapped players or a journey to free self aware A.I.. It’s simply a story about a reporter that goes on some interesting, fun quests for a story he has to right but falls in love with the game. There’s plenty of story threads that might be pulled in future books that might lead to some more epic quests or storylines and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.
If it weren’t for the slower beginning with the powerleveling it would get a better score but as is, I give it 7 out 10.