The Boundless promises the opportunity to escape reality, but those who enter find that what the game offers isn't as simple as it appears. You can escape your job, and you can escape your family, but you can't escape human nature—and you can't escape yourself.
Nathan Hill needs out: out of his family and out of his life. When he's offered just such an opportunity, he jumps at the chance. Still, software is still software, and humans are still human, and Nathan finds himself defenseless and facing a wild new world alone, full of danger, and every bit as complicated as the life he left.
Content Warning: Profanity, Violence, and just a touch of The Gay.
My Opinion: 319 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
*The author tells you there is a ‘Touch of the Gay’ in the story. This amounts to a single kiss between to male characters and a discussion about being gay. So don’t miss a good story.*
The setup for how the main character gets into the game world is a bit loose. But he’s in the game by the 5% mark. Once there he finds his setup and character creation process aren’t quite like the other players but he does the best with what he has. The main character (MC) never becomes overpowered but instead makes steady progress as as kind of support character with unique spells and abilities. He’ll become powerful eventually, the setup is all there, but it doesn’t happen in this novel. I really liked how the MC develops his powers though.
One of the things that i think make this novel stand out from others is that the RPG game world isn’t setup to cater to players. Instead, the world is rather hostile towards them. Players kill other players, there are tough monsters, and even the NPCs are more than willing to take advantage of the players in the right situation. NPCs can and do lie, cheat, steal, and scam players. There’s a whole world of fully developed NPCs with thousand of years of history.
Combat is well described and there are some genuinely good tactics employed by the MC and his group of friends. The game mechanics are familiar but with enough variation in unique skills and ways to progress that it’s interesting to read about.
The story is mostly slice of life, following the MC, as he explores this game world. There are dungeon dives, crafting, a little bit of intrigue, and some neat twists in the story. There are also some emotional moments that are touching as the MC comes to grip with his internal conflict between his ingrained belief system, the way he thinks he should be, and who he really is.
Overall, a good story that had me sniffling in a couple of places.
Score: 7 out of 10