Shawn Bradshaw has made a desperate gamble. To save his life he risked it all in an attempt to become digitized. Knowing almost nothing about the greater Digital community or if he will be allowed to join, how Digital existence is experienced, or even if he will be relegated to a Digital zoo.
Shawn's success in obtaining immortality is but the start of his journey. Thrust into the kingdom of Loson's political intrigue, friends become enemies, allies manipulate and control, Shawn must decide how much assistance he is willing to let his allies provide and if he wants to count them as enemies instead.
Oblivious and ignorant of the culture, manipulated, reveling in his new found freedom even as he is chained socially, Shawn must decide on his long term goals and what he is willing to give up to achieve them.
The Immortal Wizard must decide what kind of legend he will leave behind.
My Opinion: About 210 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
The story is set in a future where humanity created truly self-aware artificial intelligence (A.I.). These digital entities quickly evolved past the physical limitations imposed by their human creators. So much so that brief war on the A.I. was averted within moments by key assassinations of the world leaders involved in the plot by robots. Since then the digital citizens, AI, have kept separate from us humans. Ony humanity has lost out on the staggering number of advancements the AI have created including unlimited clean energy, miraculous medical treatments, and even intergalactic travel.
The main character, Shawn Bradshaw, has cancer but through a well planned plot found a legal loophole to become a digital person himself. He’s sent to a virtual fantasy world created by these advanced digital beings to learn how to expand his mind and move beyond the infantile thinking and processing of his physical being. This world is a fantasy world governed by RPG like rules but fully real to its citizens. Shawn's only advantages are that he can never truly die and only respawns at his last save point and can use magic as long as he concentrates. He is bound by one rule: Don’t lie. Since Shawn is planning to be in this world for 700,000 years or so, he has plenty of time to learn the rules, right?
Initially, this story is almost a science fiction treatise on the possible effects of true artificial intelligence on humanity. While this portion of the story is interesting, it doesn’t end up meaning much to the story later on.
One the story progresses into the game world, you see the use of levels and newly learned magic spells as a means of showing the MCs growth. So this story is LitRPG, but only technically.
The beginning portions of the game world are nods to other LitRPG, with a fairy guide and the first monsters killed being horned rabbits.
The main character finds his way to a beginner town and has to work with them to get himself some levels and help the town. It’s here that he realizes that this is not a game, but a fully functioning simulation of a world with a few game mechanics. Each person has a full life, including motivations, fears, a past, and are subject to all the cultural trappings of a feudal society.
After finding his bearings in a beginner town, the main character is whisked away to the kingdom's capital and while there are a few parts in which the main character levels up in a dungeon, the story shifts to one of political intrigue and an exploration of the unintended consequences of introducing an immortal wizard would have to a kingdom where power is secured by might.
The political intrigue stuff was realistic and in line with the logic of the world and the historic cultural traditions and social constraints inherent in a patriarchal medieval society.
While it was quite interesting to read, it was only LitRPG in the most technical sense. Once the political intrigue started all the RPG stuff was relegated to an occasional paragraph or two where the main character gained a level or developed a new spell. The focus was very clearly on the macro level speculative fiction portion of the story.
The story was well written, logical, and the few combat scenes were interesting.
Personally, I’m not a bit fan of this type of political intrigue fantasy. I understand that politics and intrigue exist in the real world and has existed in every real social structure in man’s history but I find it all very tedious.
I read LitRPG as a form of escapism and based purely on personal tastes this story didn’t have nearly enough action and adventure.
Additionally, while the novel is technically LitRPG since it meets my only two qualifications for the genre, most of the story is focused on the non LitRPG aspects of the world and the few game mechanics described almost feel incidental to the story.
The two LitRPG qualifications: 1) Set in a game world or world ruled by obviously stated game mechanics, 2) The main character progresses according to those obviously stated game mechanics.
Score: 6 out of 10.