Sometimes it takes a noob.
Alexis joins a struggling Gnome race in a Virtual online game called ArcOn. As a complete newbie in gaming she has some rather unorthodox approaches to encounters that normal gamers likely would not even have thought of doing. As her online character Yllo Tinkerpuff, she makes some weird choices that work for her. She goes from encounter to encounter using her ‘logic’ to solve them. This is fortunate because with her stats she is more dangerous to herself in a fight than to her opposition.
The Gnomes have to be careful to ensure they do not get stopped again. Their previous problems all seem to point to an individual or group targeting the race to make it fail. Luckily the Gnomes now have an unorthodox noob, a colorful spider, a bored AI and new friends to help them move forward.
This is literature role-playing- game novel with light use of in-game mechanics, statistics and items.
My Opinion: 198 pages, $2.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited
The story has an interesting concept. Take the worst player race in this VR game, a gnome, and work to make it among the best and most powerful. However, the actual execution in the story leaves something to be desired, mainly that the main character feels like she earns something.
I’ll be honest, the first 29% of this story is a little boring and there are semi-regular technical writing mistakes that make the dialogue feel stilted. The main character (MC), Alexis, decides to play a VR game and is forced to be a gnome. She chooses a rare class and gets into a fight she should never have one and gets a bunch of rewards it feels like she shouldn’t have gotten. The story gets better after the 30% mark, but I almost put the book down because I wasn’t really feeling it.
After the 30% mark, things really do get more interesting. Crafting is introduced, town building, dungeon diving, and pet raising. Lots of good storytelling opportunities. There certainly are some nice stories that are told. I especially like some of the small background tales and personalities for secondary characters like Scarlett and Igor.
However, recurring issues in the story kept me from really enjoying things. Issues like contradictions in the story and the feeling that everything is either forced or handed to the MC on a silver platter. In the case of contradictions there are things established early in the story, like that the MC isn’t a gamer, that are later contradicted when she starts using a bunch of gamer terms and referencing game mechanics she shouldn’t know about yet. In the case of things being handed to the MC. Well, just about every fight feels that way, but especially the 1st fight. She defeats a level 35 boss monster when she’s just level 1. Without copious amounts of preparation, there’s just no way she should have won that fight. Lots of the good things that happen to the MC feel that way. One of the most common phrases among the other gnome players use when talking to the MC is ‘now why didn’t we ever think of that?’ Because the MC magically is the one to solve all their problems with revolutionary ideas like fighting in groups, talking to all the NPCs, organizing players, or choosing a particular skill.
Overall, while there were some very good ideas and story moments, on the whole it just misses being good for me because it felt like the MC lacked agency sometimes and that she never earned or suffered for the great outcomes that she got.
Score: 6 out of 10