Morgan is an excellent commander and soldier in a time of digital war games. When it comes to dating, not so much.
When he and his friends are invited to a secret life and romance simulation game, the players join hoping they can earn some much needed virtual vacation time.
Little do they know how deep the rabbit hole goes. A digital sleepy seaside town turns into a journey of dating, lewd perversions, monsters, cults, and a shot glass of dark humor. Morgan must navigate his new digital lifestyle, earn his way to a better life, find love and control his darker impulses crawling under his skin before it's too late.
Warning: Digital Hearts: Late Night Ambitions is a story for mature adults, 18 and over. It contains monsters, bizarre dating rituals, murder, lewd acts, secret societies, twisted romance, and funny simulated lives. If you ever wanted to dive into the dark underbelly of life simulation games, this is a story for you.
This review is written by Ray Johnson of the LitRPG Audiobook Podcast and is for the audiobook version of this story.
Late Night Ambitions
By: Eden Redd
Narrated by: Anneliese Rennie
Length: 7 hrs and 27 mins
My chair is turned around backward and there is a lot of honking. I turn around I am wearing a clown wig and nose. “Erm, sorry about that. I was just cleaning my horn. (Show horn).
I think you can tell by my appearance what my favorite scene in the book was, it was obviously the clown porn scene. It was sooooo funny. And I have to say that once you hear it you won’t get it out of your head. It isn’t all that the book is about, and I don’t want to paint that picture, but it is just an amazing scene.
Digital hearts starts off with some players completing one game and being invited to join a new game, one that deals with romance, and love as well as some rough play sex. It also has a serial killer. In fact, I sort of felt like this was a mash up of Dexter and Debbi Does Dallas. Sorry, I like alliteration and that’s honestly the only porno I know, aside from A Clockwork Orgy and that is too arthouse.
Anyway, the story centers on the killer who is torn between two girls. One a dirty girl who wants him to join her team, and another nicer girl who isn’t above helping her man bury a body. You can root for who you will, there is no right or wrong answer, and the fact that the player has to make a choice at the end of the book, and that his choice will not only shape the game but reality as well is pretty powerful. The choice that is made may shock you, but I can honestly say that it is the one I would have made.
Digital hearts is a world that reminded me a lot of the Sims, if you virtualized yourself into the game and then was able to earn money and power in the real world. Something is off with the real world, and I have to say that DH sort of blurred the lines. Whenever someone died they did not return, so permadeath was a factor. Plus there were points where the game felt more like it was the real world than a digital one. I will say this is more Game lit than crunchy Litrpg, because there aren’t a ton of mechanics involved and the most obvious way to be reminded of that was by hearts appearing over heads of other players or notifications about your social standing. For example, I can’t recall if it was charisma or attractiveness but it would increase by performing certain social tasks. I have to laugh, because I can tell this book was written by a woman, even if I had no other ideas but the social clues. For example, one character gets a boost just for listening which is something very few men ever cotton onto. I told my son, when you take a girl out don’t talk about yourself. Ask about her, and pay attention. Just listen, and you’ll remain mysterious. He listened to me and bam, now he has a girlfriend. So, I’m not as dim as I look. So, the game works on real life principles. The story is the brainchild of Lynch, Lovecraft, Barker, and Cronenberg it is weird wild and has a neat twist ending.
The sex scenes are solid, and while I jest about the clown stuff, a little, it was intriguing and arousing so if you are interested in some down and dirty sex then this is certainly an aspect that will suck you in, no pun intended.
Anniliese Rennie narrates this story with sauce, spice, and a wink. She tackles the material like a linebacker on steroids, and gives it everything she has. The fact that she did the clown scene so well without turning it into a slapstick shows her professionalism. Plus, her deep voice is sexy as hell. Hell, she could get one of those Howard 100 shows like Tissue Time, which I have never heard BTW (I don’t have satellite radio) very easily, and I mean that as a compliment. Her narration skills have risen in my eyes.
Final score 8 stars.
Score: 8 out of 10