One life, stolen memories. Gaming has consequences when the AI won’t let you leave.
In the battle to save his race, Scarhoof is the last guard standing. If the old shaman fails to protect Sunset Cove, the defenseless minotaurs in his care will fall into the enemy’s scaly clutches. But on the other side of the VR console, far more than Scarhoof's game world is at stake…
Adrianna and her team of programmers are in for some long nights on the job. Epoch International’s latest immersive game wasn’t supposed to release for months, but the AI had other plans. Now, it's trapped players in the simulation and holds their memories hostage. If Adrianna can’t hack her way back in, Scarhoof and the other players could be lost forever…
My Opinion: 491 pages, $5.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
There are two stories here. They don’t ever interact or crossover either. They’re separate the entire novel.
The first story is a thriller about an A.I. that was created by a game company to create the next generation of full immersion VR. This A.I. takes over the company and launches their planned game ahead of schedule. This story is about the company trying to spin the launch and them learning just how much control the A.I. has, even trapping and memory wiping players. This is roughly 8% of the overall story.
Everything else is the second story, which takes place in the game world launched by the A.I. It’s told from the perspective of a player whose mind has been wiped and whose memories has been replaced with game backstory. He thinks he’s lived in this world his whole life and is only now being blessed to become a shaman. He goes on adventures, quests, and fights in some pretty neat battles later in the story.
Not a bad concept for the 2nd story. But the actual execution is not as neat. Because the MC believes he’s been apart of the world and he has a whole life of memories as this cow-person, the story ends up reading like fan fiction for Tauren race from World of Warcraft. Only it’s written as a straight fantasy story with game notifications that feel like they were inserted sometime later during the 2nd draft. This is mostly because while the game mechanics are present in the game storyline, they’re often not acknowledge by the main character. This shifts a bit later in the story and when the MC is forced to group with other players, but for the most part that’s how it felt.
The author makes quite a bit of effort to create an interesting backstory for the MC and he even creates history and culture. But all that feeds into the feeling that the story is more fantasy.
The two stories also don’t ever interact or crossover either. They’re separate the entire novel.
Overall, I liked the 1st story better, the 2nd just didn’t work for me and honestly most of the early part of the game storyline was boring slice of life adventuring. Pick flowers, collect item, talk to so and so. It eventually gets a bit more focused and action driven but that doesn’t happen till well after the 50% mark. Past the point where many people would lose interest.
Score: 6 out of 10