Darkness Named (dARkness: Online Book 1)


In the False Lands, it's either git gud or die.

Tanisha Richards, known as Koest in dARkness: Online, isn't your typical augmented reality mobile gamer. She's a deer-hunting engineer from Oregon who lives in a self-sustainable house but drives a really inefficient truck.

She also happens to be in a wheelchair.

When the loot of a lifetime shows up during a potentially bugged event, Tanisha rushes out into the wilderness to capitalize on some intern's mistake. She was expecting some amazing drops. What she got was dropped into the False Lands.

Will Tanisha be able to survive in a reality ruled by the systems in dARkness: Online, or is it GG?

Darkness Named is the first in a the dARkness: Online Trilogy. It features a diverse cast of characters, LitRPG crafting and building elements, augmented reality gaming, and a ton of references to the games we've enjoyed over the years!

My Opinion: ?250 pages?, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

This is a trapped in a game world story with a main character (MC) that has a disability. She can’t walk and uses a wheelchair in the real world. She’s sent, against her will, to her favorite augmented reality game where she kills monsters and crafts using their parts. 

The story is definitely more Gamelit than LitRPG and while there are RPG elements with the MC gaining character and skill levels, they don’t matter to the story and don’t really affect it at all. It’s never established if this game world has a respawn system so the MC never loses and not having a particular crafting skill or a very high one doesn’t seem to affect anything. The other game mechanics do play an important part in the story. There are minor survival elements, with sanity and hunger pools to maintain. Killing monsters drops food and crafting components. But the big game mechanic and the thing the MC ends up doing the most is crafting. 

In the beginning of the story, crafting is frankly boring and tedious, even to the MC. Crafting is not real life realistic nor is it fully game like with simple button presses. Instead it's something between. It has all the tedium of real work but none of the challenge. The MC goes through all the motions of gathering and crafting but the process is so simplified that she is guaranteed success, thus losing any challenge or chance of failure. However, about 70% into the story, this shifts and the MC starts to reason out ways to do things and plan and make things that aren’t guaranteed successes including a camp, high grade tools, and stored resources. Once the novel hit this point, I’ll admit, I enjoyed the story more, but it was an awful long wait to get there.

Storywise, there isn’t one surprisingly. The setup, that the MC can go home if she just finds some castle and confronts a mysterious ‘them’, is dwelt upon at length but never gets resolved. Instead, after a very long setup and super boring tutorial section (lasts to the 40% mark), it’s really just the MC coming to terms with being trapped in this game, fighting monsters, and crafting. That’s it, which wouldn’t be bad in theory since I’m not opposed to a slice of life story except that combat is only ok and the setup made me think this was going to be a bit more plot dirven. 

Overall, I could almost like this. Even with the very boring beginning and middle, the combat that’s only ok, and the sometimes whiny MC. It almost wins me over after the 70% mark with the better written crafting and a reasoning, intelligently planning MC being proactive. But then it loses me with the ending where everything she did doesn’t seem to matter and no resolution to the setup at all, just this ...end.

Score: 6 out of 10 

Darkness Named (dARkness: Online Book 1)