Level-up. Cross the Binding. Save reality.
Die-hard gamer Morrow Adams strives to escape his corporate-controlled existence on Earth. Logging in as Atlas Reign, he plays The Binding as a way to break from the limitations of his real life.
Few have crossed the elusive Binding in the game, but if you do, real-life opportunity awaits—physical passage to a new world.
But the same corporation that Morrow tries to escape from on Earth also controls the virtual game world—a world perfectly designed to drain your credits and enslave you to their workforce.
Everything changes when Morrow meets a beautiful, top-level player from the other side named Raven Vex. She helps him uncover a devious conspiracy within the game that sends them on an unbelievable quest through The Binding's expansive—and dangerous—universe.
My Opinion: 324 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
The story starts out pretty good with a difficult fight for the main character (MC), Atlas Reign, and his group. The battle feels like a real struggle for this group of level 14-15 players and there are a few moments I wasn’t sure they were going to win.
Unfortunately, that’s the last time combat and the game mechanics made logical gamer sense and things weren’t wand wavy to move the story forward. After that fight, the MC manages to wipe the floor with opponent after opponent that’s 20-30 levels higher than him. The MC dies when it’s convenient to show loss from a bounty or to set him back a little, but he still always wins despite the huge level gap, and against every gamer experience I’ve had. I’m not saying that a player can’t get beat a higher level opponent through careful planning or luck. But groups of opponents 20-30 levels higher, all of whom have better gear? It just stretched the bounds of believability.
From there on, I stopped enjoying the story. Though there are other issues with un-foreshadowed self aware AI, shadowy government conspiracies, and a forced love interest. I stopped connecting with the story long before (about the 20% mark).
You can tell the author took time to make the fights detailed in both description and with numbers. The game mechanics presented have interesting details and a sci-fi theme. But ultimately it feels like they’re ignored to shove the plot forward.
Overall, it’s not badly written, fights are nicely detailed, and there’s some good world building. But I just couldn’t get past the wand wavy lack of logic explaining why the MC could beat opponent so much more powerful than himself, often without assistance.
Score: 6 out of 10