Ready Player One meets Halo
Imprisoned for a murder he didn't commit, Kaiden's only hope of early release is in serving as a Warden inside the game-world of Nova Online.
Playing as a unique class while surrounded by aliens, pirates and warring guilds, he and his squad are tasked with protecting new players and enforcing the rule of law.
But Kaiden has other ideas; he is intent on proving his innocence. The keys to his freedom lie hidden in the game's seedy underbelly. And as he'll soon discover, the bloody trail that led to his arrest is more twisted than he could have ever imagined.
My Opinion: 384 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure: I got an advanced copy for review. I purchased the novel when it became available.
While I think the novel description Ready Player One meets Halo is a big stretch, on the whole I liked the story.
This is a nice action filled space themed novel. It takes place in this semi dystopian future where one group, The Party, controls the government. The main character (MC), Kaiden, comes home one day to find his neighbor dead and then he’s not only arrested for the crime but convicted without getting to defend himself. In prison, he’s found eligible to participate in a program that can shave off time in jail, the Warden’s program. The MC finds himself in a VRMMORPG game playing a Warden, the MMO’s version of cop. He has to fight in-game for a place in the program and eventually gains allies that are trying to figure out who really killed the neighbor and why. Not only is the MCs freedom at stake but something more.
The action is great and are a highlight of novel. The fights are tough and varied. The game mechanics, are decent. While I wished I had more information about other classes (or even seen other classes) besides the Wardens, the info about that class and how it develops is thorough. You get a variety of powers and specializations that make a leveling up feel meaningful.
The plot itself is fairly predictable. It ended the way I thought it would but the journey there was fairly entertaining. The only real complaint I have is how forced the story was sometimes.
I mean, the MC just happens to qualify for a VR game in prison where he meets the one person who’s interested in proving he didn’t do it? Then she gives him a description of the guy in game that killed the neighbor, and a chapter later, the same guy happens to assassinate someone in front of the MC and his group? Along the same lines, the XP that the MC gets and some of the missions are clearly meant to level grind the MC up to a level where he can face off against the higher leveled antagonists. It’s not something that ruins the story by any means, but it takes away a little something knowing that the MC won’t ever lose or die in the game because then he can’t resolve his situation (he’d be locked out of the game for 7 days).
Overall, I liked the story but couldn’t quite give it a 7 because of the issues mentioned. I think alot of that will be resolved in the next novel in the series and I look forward to getting a look at both the larger real and game world when I read it.
Score: 6 out of 10