All John wanted to do was get away for his life in Kluane National Park for a weekend. Hike, camp and chill. Instead, the world comes to an end in a series of blue boxes, animals start evolving and monsters start spawning. Now, he has to survive the apocalypse, get back to civilisation and not lose his mind.
Life in the North is Book 1 of the System Apocalypse, a LitRPG Apocalypse book that combines modern day life, science fiction and fantasy elements along with game mechanics.
My Opinion: 334 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
From the author of the LitRPG novel A Healer’s Gift. this is originally a royal road story and you can read the 1st chapter of book 2 there.
John is having a bad day. He’s out camping after losing his job, his house burning down, and his girlfriend leaving him. He wakes up to the world as he knows it ends. being turned into a RPG system. Because he’s in a high level zone, he gets several big perks. Chooses a magical companion, fairy named Ali.
This novel is mostly a running journal of what the main character John does when the world he knows ends and an RPG one takes over. It’s part survival story, part RPG adventure, and part community building.
Survival story - The world becomes a heck of a lot more dangerous when humans aren’t the greatest threat anymore. Normal animals are mutating into terrible beasts and there are new monsters that the game system drops on the world. These monsters can spawn anywhere that’s not a ‘safe zone’. A special system designated space that’s free of monster spawns. There are also limited resources for people as the normal food and water distribution channels have broken down. Combine the constant threat from monsters with limited resources and you get a nice zombie apocalypse sense to tension in the story.
RPG adventure - The world is now run by RPG rules. Levels, stats, classes, experience points, quests. The whole shebang. While there are several ways to gain experience points (Kill monsters, complete Quests, Craft), there’s no doubt that people need them to level and become more powerful in this new world. Even the monsters levels are going to increase in this new world and if you’re going to survive, the name of the game is ‘time to level’.
Community Building - There are a few safe zones in the area that the main character lives and those become communities for survivors. There are normal issues about people getting along, figuring out how to complete community projects, how to feed everyone, and keep them safe from the monsters. Because John has in information source about the new game system, he plays a pivotal role early in the story helping these communities figure out their priorities.
One of the few things I think the novel lacks is a clear direction. While the novel has some story concepts similar to a zombie apocalypse story, it lacks something those stories have. Purpose. In a lot of survival stories, the main character has to either find his family, or he’s looking for a cure, or he’s gathered a group and is seeking to make a safe place for them. There’s purpose. This story doesn’t have that. The main character wants to live and he’ll do what he needs to do that. There are small immediate goals, like get food for people, Level them up, kill X monster. But there aren’t any bigger goals in the story.
Another odd thing is that the emotional development of the main character doesn’t happen until the last 5% of the story. When it happens, it’s well written, but I thought it happened pretty late in the story.
Overall, good read. There is lots of action, good game mechanics, nice survivalist twist to the story.
Score: 7 out of 10.