Rion Castle! Alex and Enea are facing a serious test of courage if they want to keep this unique citadel built by the lost civilization of the Founder Gods. Abounding with mystery and powerful artifacts, its dungeons are a complex maze of tunnels swarming with creatures of Inferno. What's even worse, Alex's "impulse buy" risks to trigger the first clan war in the Crystal Sphere. And they don't yet know that the donjon's dark bowels harbor a nightmare about to become the new curse of Rion Castle.
In the meantime, Infosystems Corporation begins an aggressive marketing campaign pushing its state-of-the-art neuroimplants onto unsuspecting gamers. A new era of reckless destruction is looming over the real world...
My Opinion: 296 pages, $5.99, Not available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure: I received an advanced copy for review, I purchased the novel once it became available.
The price for the novel is a bit more than I normally like to pay. I usually look for stories at the $0.01/page cost and this one is double that. Also, realize that this novel also has to be translated from Russian which adds to the cost for the publisher. Still, if you didn’t love book 1, it may not be worth it for you.
Written by the author of the Phantom Server series, this is technically a prequel to that one. It is standalone, you don’t have to have read the Phantom Server series to enjoy it.
Book 2 picks up right where book 1 left off. Just as the Alexatis, the main character (MC), and his team take control of Rion Castle, they’re tasked with purging it of cursed inhabitants.
That task only takes up the first 10% of the story. Once the MC has full ownership of the castle, he’s now faced with an even more daunting task. He has to somehow repair and staff the castle and surrounding village quickly enough to defend it from the inevitable looters and player raids that are going to come to try and ransack the castle for its founder artifacts. He’ll have to learn quickly how to create and manage a guild if he’ll have a chance of keeping the castle. His workload includes: Attracting good players to the guild, Establishing crafters, Establishing loot and XP farming areas, Hiring or recruiting NPCs to guard and run castle (need money), Repairing Castle and surrounding village.
Much of book 2 is devoted to this is a community creation, town building stuff. All stuff that I really like. Don’t worry though, there’s still plenty of combat and action too. The MC and his guild have to clear the demon-infested dungeon below the castle and solve some problems with the local monster population.
Near the end, there’s a brief expansion on the crystal spheres connection to the Phantom Server Project and what the government is willing to do to get the knowledge of the founders. Also, there’s a twist at the end that has the potential to either ruin the story or push it to a new level of cool.
Score: 7 out of 10.