My rating: ❤❤❤ of 5!
Published: 30th of January 2019
Written by: Andrew Lynch
Source: Free copy generously provided by the author.
Disclaimer: I was lucky enough to receive a free copy of this book, in exchange for my honest review. However, please note that all opinions and views are my own.
A world on the brink of war, absent parents, and no friends sounds like a disaster unless all you ever wanted was to live inside your virtual reality pod.
Meet Severo, a fresh-eyed graduate, as he joins the ranks of new players in the HOPE engine, but quickly finds out that everything isn’t as advertised. An unnatural enemy is rising, more glitch than feature, that not even the highest level players can stop. A noob like Severo doesn’t stand a chance! Right?But with his starter village in the enemy’s warpath, he better figure something out! Before that, he needs to learn that NPCs are sentient, friends are needed, and food in fantasy games sucks! Oh yeah, and pick a class!
As if all that wasn’t enough to worry about, outside of the VR pod, real life is starting to have its own technical difficulties…
In the beginning we meet Severo, the protagonist, who is finally old enough to enter a popular VRMMO (Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online) fantasy game. After entering the world, building his character, and learning the ropes – Severo quickly finds himself within the main story line. While he levels up his character, he also has to deal with his village being right smack in the middle of a conquering enemy. After the intro (or tutorial if you will) of the world Andrew Lynch has created, the books starts to focus on a deeper plot line – as the same time as Severo learns the game. Participating in his first event really gets things going and following that, we learn what/who the main threat is.
One of the reasons I at times had a hard time really getting into the book was Severo. He is sixteen but at times he didn’t behave like that at all, and that made him downright annoying. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all the time. But it was enough to pull me out of the plot. The world building is pretty solid! The way the game is explained is worked in quite well. As a (former) gamer I do have a pretty thorough understanding of how characters work. However, the game I played was MMORPG, so there’s still a difference. And therefore I was glad that Andrew Lynch clearly defines equipment, loot, abilities, class and stats. That made it a lot easier to follow – and even if you’ve never played any game like this, I don’t think you’d have any trouble following at all.
Another thing that made me struggle at times, is the focus in the book. After the beginning the story kind of felt rushed, which was a shame. There was so many different directions, and each of them really intrigued me, but there wasn’t enough time to really get into it. It also raised a lot of questions that I felt was overlooked. In the spirit of full disclosure I should mention, that most of it is summoned up really nicely towards the end. However, I think it was a case of being too late for me, as I would have liked it to be addressed earlier. But if you enjoy any kinds of litRPG, I would definitely recommend that you give HOPE Engine the ol’ college try.
Have you read this book? How do you feel about litRPG books? Let’s talk in the comments!