For Riley and his friends, Sigil Online has never been more real. With the latest expansion, pain has been enabled and will now affect all players in-game.
Aptly named ‘Hellions,’ the expansion introduces monsters, but not the kind that paragons have been fighting for the past several years. This time, players can be the monsters they once sought to destroy.
But in a game where playing means having the money to survive in the real world, what will Riley do when death in the game doesn’t just mean an end to his character, but an end to his life?
Warning: Reading this novel may cause an uncontrollable desire to play Superhero MMOs.
My Opinion: 303 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure: The author sent me an advance copy for review. I purchased the novel when it became available.
An action filled transition into a huge world expansion. Book 1 tells the story of the the newb experience of Riley as he restarts his character in a permadeath enabled super hero VRMMO. It has some very interesting progression mechanics where items play a huge role in providing variation to powers and modifies and expands their usefulness.
Book 2, while less focused on the individual progression of the main character, ratchets up the action and the novel is almost one fight after another as Riley and his friends deal with weird invasion events and the new Hellion expansion that lets players restart as monsters instead of heros. If you want superhero action then this is definitely the novel for you. There are some seriously epic battles here.
However, there are also some negatives. There’s almost no real world plot development. In book 1, Riley making a living off the game was a really big deal. In book 2, it’s almost a forgotten issue. Also, there are a few story plots that just get a little muddled. One is the introduction of pain. it’s an interesting idea that raises the stakes in a very Sword Art Online kind of way, but later on the effects of the pain are often forgotten as heros battle monsters and are severely injured yet continue on as if the pain setting is off. Yet, the biggest issue though it probably the ending. It’s a huge twist that I won’t spoil but you’ll either love it or hate it. For me, it came out of left field with no foreshadowing and left me shaking my head in confusion. I know in my heart that it’s a great lead into book 3 where the game is supposed to change again but the sudden introduction of characters and behavior changes of others was just so sudden and abrupt it dropped my enjoyment of the story.
Overall, book 2 is a good read if you’re looking for something action focused or an MMO story that focuses on PVP battles. There’s huge potential in what book 3 may bring to the storyline. However, for me, book 2 has some issues that just dropped my enjoyment level a bit. Especially that ending.
Score: 6 out of 10