Shari is a med student, months away from being a doctor. Mace is a coder on his first day of an exciting new job. When the world comes to a sudden and horrifying end, none would have expected them to be among the few survivors.
Hyper-aggressive undead creatures hunt anything living on the surface, where even the grass and trees can kill you. Hiding underground is safe, but not much of a life. Their only escape is a virtual world where Shari can use her healing skills, and Mace can focus on something other than his fears.
But Shari is a light elf, and Mace is a drow. Their people are ancient enemies, and neither would be welcome in the other’s world. Still they strive to come together in the game, while they scavenge for food and fight to stay alive in the real world.
The odds are against them, and their food will eventually run out. Is their best hope for survival to find a way to upload themselves to the game permanently?
My Opinion: 140K words or about 440 pg, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure: I received an advanced copy for review.
This is a great novel that combines two seemingly disparate genres and does it well. The real life storyline is zombie survival. Mace lucked out getting into a secure facility, and even through he has running water, electricity,and a safe place to sleep, he’s alone. He plays a VR game so that he won’t go crazy from the loneliness. He still has to risk his life against the monsters outside to scavenge for food every couple weeks. Then one day he hears someone over the radio, Sheri, and two meet up so that they can work together to survive. Lots of great survivalist stuff in the real world story and a little romance.
The game storyline, is mostly action, adventure MMO stuff. But something that the author is able to do, is make that game stuff relevant to the real world storyline. Mace wants to upload his mind to the game, giving him the possibility of living there as long as the electricity in their geothermal powered facility stays up, possibly centuries. But to do that, he needs to achieve a level of synchronicity with the game by training his mind to think of the game like it’s the real world. This gives the story the excuse to have both characters play the game. But what the author does that I think is interesting, is that he keeps the theme of survival in the game, at least for the drow storyline. In addition to that, the game itself notices that all the players have gone missing and tries to figure out how to adjust, even going so far as to give quests to Shari to bring players back to their world.
Overall, I had a great time reading this. Though I’ll admit, I was already partial to the apocalypse survival genre.
Score: 8 out of 10