The days when people played for entertainment have passed. Welcome to the future. The virtual world of Adam Online is a place where humanity lives. The former champion has returned to the game to find the Mentors — systems of artificial intelligence that bestow digital immortality on humans.
But do they truly work for the benefit of mankind? To learn the truth and reach the Mentors who inhabit places undiscovered, the hero must begin from level zero.
My Opinion: 307 pages, $3.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure: I received an advanced copy for review, I purchased a copy when it became available.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure what to make of the story from the description. This is a translation of a Russian LitRPG story. Written by one of the co-authors of Level Up -Knockout. However, outside of it being LitRPG and eventually slice of life, there’s little in common with that novel. Instead, you get an original story set in the far flung future where the world, or at least this part of it, is irradiated from some war and most people spend their time in a full immersion game called Adam Online. Our main character (MC) has some long term secret mission that he’s supposed to be on that’s tied to the real world and the game’s tech, but it’s a premise that fizzles out past the 15% mark and the big exciting introduction and battle scene.
Instead, what the story turns into is a dual narrative. One story following the MC as his character is reset and he has to start all over at level 1, choosing a new class, and going on some slice of life adventures in this sci-fi themed game world. The adventures are interesting, there are neat characters, and many game mechanics are explained along the way. The other story is told from the antagonists POV, the guys trying to kill the MC in the first 15%. Their story is a little more high level, and gives the reader insight into PvP, Guild stuff, crafting, and a story thread that relates to the secret mission stuff potentially. But even here, the adventuring is kind of slice of life. I mean, both stories have these goals, but you’re really just following them as they do a bunch of stuff. Quest, PvP, explain various game mechanics, and develop backstory.
The action is pretty good and there is a good variety of types of fighting between the two storylines. Questing is interesting and individual questlines have some neat story components.
The game mechanics are fairly well developed. I mean, the game world has tons of sci-fi lore and lots of information about races, classes, how quests are generated, various skills, and abilities. But at its core, it’s leveling up and advancing skills.
Where the story kind of shines is in the development of the story world. There are some breaks in the narrative that tell both backstory for characters and for the game world. The backstory for characters is very well done and creates some places readers will empathise with. The backstory for the game world and the tech that is involved in it’s creation and management is almost like a speculative treatise on where VR tech could head and some of the dangers it could pose to civilization. It made me pause and think, which is always a sign of an interesting story.
Overall, the story is very entertaining. It feels like the author is much more comfortable writing in his own world and the depth of the world building and game mechanics show it. There is good sci-fi action-adventure here. But be warned that while there are lots of story threads started here, there are relatively few resolutions. It feels like a lot of the big resolutions are planned for future books.
Score: 7.6 out of 10