Coral, Daniel, and their friends have their heads in the game. But what happens when the game gets in their heads?
Strange things are afoot in Travail Online. People like Coral who couldn’t find jobs offline joined Travail so they could grind away at the virtual reality video game and sell in-game items for a bit of real world cash. Travail, however, has just launched new content that turns that premise on its head. The game resurrected a dead god and is using it to brainwash players into pouring their life savings into the game, ruining their livelihoods and threatening to destroy the game’s economy worldwide. Coral can’t stand by while the game mind-hacks players and siphons away their gold, but will getting involved cause more harm than good?
Meanwhile, Daniel has his own concerns. The head of the Assassins’ Guild is still trying to recruit him, the Regent of Travail’s human city wants him to start a war with the dwarves, and the elves seem to be hunting him and his friends. The game just keeps throwing roadblocks in their way, not to mention the mess it’s making of their minds…
Welcome to Travail, where hard play makes fun work!
My Opinion: 336 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
The novel starts out with of who Coral is and her nifty skinweaver crafting skills. She can make clothes out of monster skins.
Then the group, (Daniel, Coral, Sal, and Sybil) get rewarded by the human kingdom’s specist regent for their good work in the last book and are given two quests: Explore the elven forest and scout out the invading elf army and conquer the dwarven mines for the human kingdom. However, the quests don’t turn out as simple or straightforward as they first appear.
I won’t spoil any of the in game quest plotlines but they really don’t get good until the team gets to the dwarven mines. Until then they feel pretty standard. A lot of the in game stuff is like that, good but not amazing. There’s lots of crafting, fighting, questing, and cool loot. The end of the story is actually interesting.
However, it is not the action or adventure that I like best about the novel, it’s the characters. Their interactions, their emotional journeys. Where the author really shines is in creating engaging characters that the reader can empathize with. The most interesting moments in the story are the ones where the characters are just talking and not fighting.
Ie: Dwarven caves - contest that lets Sybil’s little sister see what she’s sacrificed to pay the bills and take care of her. It’s a touching scene.
Overall a better story than book 1. Tighter more coherent storyline. At least once you're past the part in the forest.
Score: 7 out of 10.