That was what they called it. The day when over four million people vanished in an instant from the island of Manhattan. The day earthquakes ravaged the east coast. The day a one hundred and one kilometre tall tower rose from the wreckage of the now empty city. The day every screen, newspaper, and smart phone displayed a single message from an unknown source:
The Great Emperor has issued his challenge.
From the ruins of the Old World rise the Tower. Its doors will soon open, and the great game will begin.
A hundred floors and a hundred challenges await the worthy.
And to the victor? A Wish of Unlimited Power.
Cayden Caros yearned to play that game. His only problem? The Terms and Conditions. A strict set of rules that, among other things, prevented anyone under the age of sixteen from entering the tower.
Forced to wait for over two years, Cayden did the only thing he could do to pass the time. He researched, he practiced and he prepared. It would take a lot to catch up to players with such an enormous head start. Lucky for him, he was a special type of gamer.
My Opinion: 360 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure, I received an advanced reader’s copy. I purchased the novel once it became available. Oh, and the author gives a shout out to the podcast at the end of his novel. Not that it matters to the review but you know, disclosure.
The setup for the novel: A tower appears in Manhattan, making thousands of people disappear but leaving others behind. Within the tower are levels and levels of monsters, strange treasures, and a mysterious force that lets people become more powerful, just like in an RPG game.
Fast forwards two years, our main character Cayden is just old enough to enter the tower and become an adventurer there. His goal is to conquer the fifty explored levels of the tower in record time. He plans to make a speedrun.
There are a lot of things that I really liked about the story. The game mechanics of the story are superbly detailed and well thought out. The author put a tremendous effort into making the mechanics interesting.
There are so many classes, ability, and skill options that it’s staggering how many different play styles can be implemented. Add into that the ability to multiclass and you have some great possibilities. Additionally, there’s crafting, which is just as detailed as the combat and magic systems.
I know I’m being vague about the details but I don’t want to spoil anyone's discovery of options available in the story. I’ll just say that I’d love to play a game based on this world and I’ve already planned out my character.
Storywise, the first half of the novel is pretty good. The MC’s plans to speedrun through the tower are derailed when he tries to help out a group of other players that get in over their heads. The permanent death of one of them sets off series of events that change the way the MC has to adventure. Good setup.
The end, however sort of solves all the problems the main character faces with a magic wand. He magically discovers a bunch of never before seen powers and abilities that give him just the tools he needs to solve his problems. It felt a little weak after all the grinding and leveling the MC did in the first half of the novel. It was still an entertaining end but not as strong as I was hoping for.
Overall, a good read. Almost great but the ending dropped it a little for me. Still, you can’t go wrong with a story that has action, adventure, dungeon crawling, crafting, and making some friends along the way.
Score: 7 out of 10.