Viktor LOSt Maksimov is one of the top competitors in the popular computer game Star Sky. He, along with his team, is set to become one of the global champions. Just when fame and fortune appeared on the horizon, everything began to fall apart. The transfer of Nikita HiG Ostrovskiy to the team forces the management to let one of their players go. The “lucky one” happens to be Victor. He loses his game account and is banned from playing professionally. He looks to his girlfriend for support, only for her to leave him for another man. Viktor personal and professional lives have come to an end.
Meanwhile, an alien force threatens the human population. They have devised a plan to enslave humanity and indenture them to the service of mercenaries, used to scout the galaxy, pillaging and murdering on their way. All while under the guise of playing a computer game. Viktor resists, fighting on both fronts, as the enemy takes command of Earth’s Special Forces.
The deeper he plunges into this conspiracy plot, the more he realizes that cheating and treachery never cease.
My Opinion: 317 pages, $3.99, Available On Kindle Unlimited
This is a light LitRPG story that focuses more on the conspiracy aspect of the story than action adventure. The story revolves around a main character who has ‘a woe is me’ start losing his place on a competitive VR gaming team. He gets a chance to work with the government as a beta tester on a new game and most of the mid story is him going on various poorly described missions, many of whose actual details get skipped later, fighting aliens and them working his way up to being a pilot with an amazing ship. This part of the story is more about him figuring out how to balance work and home life while maximizing his gaming efforts to do well on his missions. Lots of upgrades to his ship as details about the game becoming better with better missions and a fleshed out game universe. Then the story shifts to one of conspiracy, as he gets access to information that changes the way he looks at the game. I won’t spoil things, but it’s a well done aspect that makes up for the poorly described missions that are skipped entirely and just shown as being completed without any info about what happened.
The RPG aspects of the story are pretty light, with levels gained for completing missions and skill points given to specialize. The money/credits awarded for completing missions is more important to the story than the XP to be honest as it ties back into decision making about real world bills versus ship upgrades and impacts his social life. Other progression aspects like upgrades to the MCs ship are more important and fleshed out better.
For most of the story I was on the fence. On one hand, there’s a distinct and purposeful lack of details in the novel. It was frustrating to see many missions just summarized or just told that they succeeded and that the MC had new credits to spend. However, it was still entertaining to see the real life versus gaming aspect go through and I kept waiting for the story twists to make it worth the wait. Eventually some story twists did make it worth it with added layers to what was really happening with the game.
However, where the novel really lost me was at the end. The end was just so frustrating. There’s this big conflict setup at the beginning of the novel with the MC losing his pro gaming spot.
Without spoiling things, he gets a chance to get payback and resolve things but instead of the resolution being told from his POV and seeing his feelings, actions, and strategies, it’s all told from the POV of some gaming announcers. The last like 15% of the novel switches POV and is told mostly from these gaming announcers perspective. Not only that there’s a last minute twist that comes out of nowhere and just sort of ruins the story for me. Some readers will like that twist and being surprised, but I didn’t. It made a bunch of the progress in the story meaningless.
Overall, much of the story was on the fence between a 6 and 7 for me. But the end pushed it right into 6 territory for me.
Score: 6 out of 10