Zane may be a loser, but he’s no nerd.
Zane Cunningham was a high school football star until an injury derailed his hopes to go pro. Now he wanders through his life with no goals and even fewer prospects,. Until, that is, the day his ex-best friend Danny offers him an opportunity that could turn Zane’s life around. All he has to do is play Danny’s smash hit MMORPG, Mythrune.
How hard can that be?
But there’s more going on in Mythrune than Zane could have anticipated, and he soon finds himself trapped inside the game. Some guys could take that in stride, but Zane has never been a gamer, and is completely out of his element.
Now, if he wants to get back to the real world, Zane will not only have to learn to play the game ... he’ll have to win it.
My Opinion: 285 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
The early parts of the story are actually pretty good. The main character (MC) is in game by the 5% mark and stays there the rest of the story. It starts off with the MC, a guy who is hard to like because he’s rude selfish, and seems to dislike gamers and often comments about them wasting their time playing games, being trapped in the game with the unique power to not ever die. The downside for him is that he feels every single injury as if it were real. His goal, win a tournament and be rewarded with a special wish, his of course is to either log out or talk to his friend the CEO of the game he’s in to get him out. He picks up a partner, a level 10 rogue and together they adventure, quest, and fight monsters. There’s genuinely good mean-friend banter between the two and it’s their relationship is the best part of the story. The early part of the novel is a noobs tale, where the MC has to figure out or is told how the game works and his goal is revealed. He and his companion go on some pretty quirky quests and kind of just have interesting adventures.
The game mechanics are a mixed bag. Early in the story, there’s a good effort to describe how leveling works. Gain a level, choose to increase either HP, MP, or SP and get 2 ability points to spend on skills, abilities, or traits. There is mention that stats exists and are seen by the MC but it’s not something that is ever shown to the reader even though the other parts of the character sheet are. While damage is shown in the beginning of the story, it conveniently disappears as the story goes on never to be tracked again. You can kind of tell the author make choices about what would be a hassle to track in the story or what game mechanics might interrupt where the story went. The mechanics that are shown are fairly consistent, at least until the end of the story when the MC somehow obliterates opponents twice his level and you can tell the game mechanics are ignored to further the story in a certain direction.
Unfortunately, as the story goes on things get a bit repetitive and the lack of tension or risk really starts to show. The MC is immortal and uses that to win against every obstacle, or is just power leveled by his companion through most situations. Some of the quests mid-story are entertaining, but they don’t feel like they’re important and sometimes feel like filler. Even worse, the big resolutions to the story at the end are not accomplished by the MC but by sudden intervention by third party influences or magical items that have no foundation in the game stuff. Making all the preceding story seem a bit pointless.
Overall, though the beginning is entertaining it really lost me in the middle and I was just frustrated with that ending. I don’t actively dislike the story but after the halfway mark, it was not entertaining for me.
Score: 5 out of 10