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Willow's life hasn't been easy. She's autistic, living in a community closed off from the rest of the world 'for her own safety', and the only way she gets to interact with anyone is by logging in to the BASE (Bioelectrical Augmented Synapse Enhancement) platform and play videogames.
Her life revolves around playing VRMMORPGs with her close friends and making a little extra money on the side by trading items in the games so that she can buy pizza or new games when they come out.
The game she’s saving up for right now? Helheim Fallen Online, a Norse mythology inspired game, said to be changing the landscape of gaming forever.
Only, there are rumours going around that some people who get the beta invite for the game are going missing. It’s just a rumour, until her best friend Violet wins one of the beta keys and disappears, all traces of her gone, like she was never even there.
Now Willow is fighting against the clock to not only find out where Violet went, but why more people are going missing every day, and the only way to do that is by illegally getting into Helheim Fallen Online, play the game, and expose whoever is making people disappear.
And, above all, make sure she doesn’t get caught in the meantime and disappears herself.
She has ten days to pull it off.
My Opinion: 442 pages, $2.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited
This is more cyber thriller set in VR than LitRPG. Yes, there is a VRMMORPG in the story and the MC spends a decent amount of time there and kills monsters and even levels up. But in the plot, the game mechanics and RPG stuff don’t matter one bit. Instead, for some reason the main character (MC) has to go into a VR game to solve the mystery of why people’s avatars are being deleted and they are being disconnected from the computer systems that control everyday life. It’s a premise I’ve seen tried a lot and it never works. As is often the case with this premise, the story focuses on the cyber thriller aspects and reduces the RPG aspects to side elements that don’t actually have any bearing on the story and either are used as filler or are inserted just to check a LitRPG box.
As a cyber thriller, this isn’t bad. There’s a good deal of real world tech and social development that is done to justify why being disconnected from an integrated computer system can be deadly. As LitRPG, this is not good. There is little to no world building in-game, and there are some huge level jumps for the character which again shows just how little it really means to the story. I did not like this at all as LitRPG.
Score: 4 out of 10