As a Non-Psionic Contributor (NPC), Margot Hyland is fated to die on a weekly basis to greenskin raids on her hometown. Her life revolves around shoemaking, dying, respawning, and more shoemaking.
When Margot discovers a secret hidden in her family's basement, she realizes she has a chance to break that cycle. Now, with newfound abilities she'll have to learn to control, Margot must brave a harrowing journey ahead of her to defeat the Stronghold targeting her town.
My Opinion: 285 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
This is a coming of age hero story that suffers from a lack of logic at a fundamental level. The world that the main character (MC), Margot, lives in is either supposed to be a fantasy world ruled by RPG mechanics or an artificial game of some kind. It’s never really clarified and that creates confusion.
If it’s an independent fantasy world ruled by game rules then why do all the character, both NPC and RPC, use a bunch of terms they shouldn’t know. For example, the MC is the reproductive result of an NPC (Non-Psionic Contributor) and RPC (Regular Psionic Contributor) having sex and she’s called a ‘glitch’. But how would these characters know the term if this is an independent fantasy world that doesn’t have technology? Or how do two NPCs know about zombies and necromancers if they’ve never left their hometown and die on a daily basis to fulfill some quest chain? Yet, at the same time, these same NPcs don’t know what the monsters that live in the forest just outside of town are called?
If it is a game, like some VRMMO or something, then why doesn’t anyone seem to know it? All the characters, NPC and RPC, act like they’ve lived their whole lives in this game. They follow social customs, avoid taboos, and go to church for some reason.
This fundamental logic flaw in the world takes away from what might otherwise be a good story. Each time a character used some phrase or bit of knowledge they shouldn’t have access to, it took away from the immersion of the story.
There are plenty of other issues with the logic of the story, like how the MC just happens to be saved by a wyvern the first night it’s revealed her real mother is an RPC. Then, she just happens to be given a wyvern of her own, which happens to activate her game powers. Or why do the Grimbauer’s, NPCs, who are accused of working with hackers (another out of place term) die a final death after being executed when it was established NPCs respawn as long as they have enough favor (reputation points).
The beginning part of the story of a young woman trying to figure out who she is and buck a system that uses NPCs as virtual serfs is a great idea and has lots of potential. It’s just not setup logically and that takes away from the rest of the story.
The parts I liked best were the times the MC was killing monsters in the forest with her sister. It was nice to see the family dynamic of sisters working together or fighting with each other, while still trying to fulfill a dream of saving the town.
However, even this nugget of goodness goes away when the MC leaves her hometown and her sister. She even abandons the attempt to conquer the stronghold that spawns the monsters that kill everyone regularly. Instead, the rest of the novel is spent with wandering around the larger world, getting tricked, killing a few creatures, and meeting a few folks but otherwise not doing anything really important or purposeful.
Score: 5 out of 10