Last week was equal parts action-packed thrill ride and waking nightmare. Ryan's plan to save himself from the server wipe may have succeeded, but at what cost. He's willing to sacrifice a lot to get even with the people that betrayed him, but when a larger, darker and far more complicated world opens up before him, will he make his own destiny or frantically attempt to log out for the final time?
And once he decides, what happens when he isn't in control either way?
My Opinion: 308 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
This is a very different story from book 1. Readers are either going to really like the changes or not.
This is not the same zombie MMO story you read about in book 1. In book 2, the main character (MC) from book 1, Ryan is stuck as a ghost who follows an antagonist character from book 1, Sasha. This novel is mostly about her. It’s more introspective and much less combat oriented than the zombie action fest of book 1.
As a matter of fact, you don’t see a zombie for the majority of this story. Instead, it takes place on Survivor Sunday, a day where all the zombies are kicked off the server and the human survivors get a chance to grind skills, gather resources, and prepare for when the zombie return. There’s PVP and the human survivors can kill each other but permadeath is turned off for the day too.
The game mechanics of the story are also completely different because they’re from the human survivor side. The mechanics are a combination of stuff from Fallout and Elder Scrolls. During character creation the survivors get to choose characteristics that give bonuses to particular skills, they can choose classes that give them a set of initial skills, there are stats, and all the normal RPG stuff. However, there are no levels. Instead, everything has a skill based percentage to succeed or fail. These skills can be increased from practice or by reading special books. All items either have to be found through salvage or crafted if a character has the skills.
So, lots of good new game mechanics.
If you’ve seen the movie Ghost (1990) the main character takes a Patrick Swayze kind of role as a ghost that can not interact with the physical world but is instead forced to passively watch Sasha as she creates her latest survivor character. For most of the story, the MC narrates and gives the reader insight into her thinking and gives glimpses of her past. The story is really about Sasha as she plays the game, tries to deal with traumas from her past, deal with loss, and take her revenge on the game company that wronged her.
Outside of the end of the novel, there are only a handful of action scenes in the story. Instead the novel focuses on the survival aspects of game for humans. Scurrying around scavenging for resources. Finding a safe place to practice skills. Trying to avoid PVP players who want to take what you have. There’s also the thread for Sasha of finding ways to hurt the game company and the company's counter moves. There also lots of introspective moments where the MC gets glimpses into Sasha’s thinking and even gets glimpses into her past. It’s a lot of character development.
Overall, I enjoyed the story. However, because it’s so different from what book 1 presented, not everyone will. Folks that can appreciate a slower, introspective story with less action and almost none of the zombie stuff from book 1 will like this. Anyone expecting the same zombie MMO stuff from book 1 will be disappointed.
Score: 7 out of 10.