Phil Panfilov's tribulations seem to have run their course. He's quite prepared to quit the alien game installed in his brain. In fact, Phil looks forward to a normal existence: both he and his company are in excellent shape. Still, the timing seems to be badly wrong.
Humanity's enemies are stronger than ever. Despite all his new abilities, Phil has never been so close to defeat. But there's too much at stake this time, his interface included. Without it, all his hopes for a better future will be thwarted.
Phil can't afford that to happen. He has to face his enemies and defeat them, otherwise all his work has been for nothing.
Can he really confront a force which is infinitely more powerful than he can ever hope to become? A force which will stop at nothing to achieve its ends...
My Opinion: 483 pg, $6.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure: I received an advanced copy for review, I purchased a copy when it became available.
This is a nice conclusion to the first arc of the Level Up series. It resolves most of the big plot points while leaving lots of room for future ones. Phil, the main character (MC), finally faces the big test that will determine if he can keep the life changing interface the alien’s installed. This tests adds a new narrative that feels more like a traditional LitRPG story with a specific hex capture ‘game’ that has to be won. There’s action, strategy, base building, and PvP fighting. At the same time, the real world social storyline is not abandoned and continues to develop with a new villain popping up there too.
For me, while I thought the game test added some action-adventure, I still liked the real world storyline better. It is what I’ve come to appreciate about the series, the speculative journey of how an RPG interface would be used by people. How’d they’d try to exploit it for their personal gain or to help others, the social and economic conflicts, and the unintended consequences. It doesn’t sound exciting when I describe it, but it very much is.
Overall, a good story that I stayed up much to late finishing.
Score: 7.7 of 10