When Simon immerses himself in the game world of Apex as Arheis the Guardian, he finds a living, breathing ecosystem that feels more real than anything he’s ever experienced before. The creatures that inhabit Apex are cunning, ferocious, and a massive challenge for even the most experienced hunter.
In order to rank up in the Hunters’ Guild and participate in the most prestigious hunts, Simon will have to slay increasingly more threatening creatures and use what he gathers to craft powerful armor and weapons.
But a fearsome beast stalks the jungle, untouchable even by the Guild. To have any hope of stopping her, Simon won’t just have to level up and hone his skills--he’ll have to put his trust in his fellow hunters.
And for a lifelong soloer, that’s no easy feat…
My Opinion: 357 pg, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure: I received an advance copy for review. I purchased the novel after it was released.
The novel is heavily inspired by the Monster Hunter video game franchise. It’s not a copy but you can tell the author has a great love of the video game series and puts a lot of effort into incorporating the aspects of that franchise that are interesting and beloved.
The game mechanics: There’s a familiar MMO character sheet, levels, stats, skills, and special abilities. The only stat that feels new is the morale stat, which is supposed to add an element of loss to player death. Morale lowers after a death and reduces health regen, skill growth, etc. It’s essentially a debuff that can only be removed by learning from the last death.
Other game mechanics that are imported from the Monster Hunter games include the emphasis on gathering monster parts for crafting powerful and sometimes very specific weapons and armor for more challenging hunts. Monsters require research and observation before the main character (MC) in the story can even learn the monster’s name, much less the monster’s weaknesses or particular behaviors that will allow for a successful hunt. Like the game it’s inspired by, if a hunter does not do their due diligence and research, hunting powerful monsters just leads to repeated deaths.
The story: After the brief real life setup of who the MC is and how he can play a video game long term, the rest of the story stays in the VRMMO. This is essentially a slice of life novel that focuses around a series of monster hunts where the MC learns a new class and comes to appreciate just how realistic the game world is. There’s just enough story to tie together all the action scenes, provide enough character development to make the reader care about the characters, and there’s even a minor romance arc. However, most of the novel revolves around the hunts, so it’s noticeably action focused.
Overall, this is a good, entertaining action LitRPG novel that lots of folks will enjoy. Though, fans of the Monster Hunter games will hopefully appreciate all many notes and references to that franchise in the story.
Score: 7.4 out of 10