If you lose in the game, other people will die in real life.
Would you play it safe?
Finn’s life sucks. He spends his days in the world’s most advanced VR game, chopping wood in a wealthy player’s basecamp for a few copper coins a week. Levelling up is the last thing on his mind.
When Selene, the girl he’s grown to love like a sister, mysteriously disappears both in real life and in the game, Finn is finally shaken into action. He is determined to find her. If only his character weren’t so damn useless…
The Developers’ Challenge couldn’t have come at a better time. It offers a new life in a new world. But there is a catch. The standard rules of the game don’t apply and only three things are certain:
Everyone starts at Level 1
The monsters are unlike anything any player has ever seen
Death comes at a higher cost.
My Opinion: 560 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
You can tell from the very first sentence in the story that this novel is going to have technical writing issues. There are immediate issues with inconsistent tenses, incomplete sentences, and generally awkwardly phrased sentences.
You have to push to get through the first 20% of the story. The author describes things the MC saw or factually experienced, maybe some factual thoughts. There’s rarely any exploration into the other senses let alone emotional descriptions about how the character feels. The story is mostly ‘I did this, then I saw that, then I did this. She did this, then she said that, etc.’
After that the writing does improve, but never gets good.
The game stuff is pretty standard. Levels, stats, health %, item descriptions. That’s kind of it. No real depth or innovation.
Storywise, the MC and his friend live in a kind of dystopian future where they work to pay of inherited debt and have jobs as hirelings in an MMO working for a jerk. They log into the game with their low level characters and do stuff for their boss. Chop wood, kill boars, things like that. One day the two get a chance to use their bosses high level character to make some purchases for him. Only the MC makes an unauthorized purchase which lands him in a game contest with the stakes being his friend’s life. From there it’s this puzzle solving adventure.
Overall, the story was work to get through. The dry storytelling, plus the consistent technical writing issues made the story hard to like. The very wand wavy ending is also a bit much and earns the MC a reward he doesn’t deserve and a twist that has no foreshadowing in the last 2% of the story.
Score: 4 out of 10