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"Five stars. If Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Raymond Chandler, and Dashiell Hammett got together to write a LitRPG, and they used every conceivable piece of noir verbiage ever written (in the best possible way), they'd turn out The Feedback Loop by Harmon Cooper. It's funny, fast paced, and full of bullets. The poetry purrs like a one-two punch. This is Cooper's tough love letter to the crime noir and LitRPG genres. Excellent from page one to the heart-wrenching end." --Baron Sord, LitRPG author of Reternity Online : Rescue Quest
"The Feedback Loop has a core of solid noir, is wrapped in a rich coating of ultra-violence, sprinkled with witty dialog, and leaves you satisfied with a smile on your face ... but drooling for more. Bravo!" --Eric Nylund, New York Times bestselling author of HALO: The Fall of Reach, and Hero of Thera. --- ★★★★★"Imagine if Sword Art Online was smart, violent, gritty and intense." -- Apollos Thorne, author of Codename: Freedom. --- ★★★★★ "Don't read this review, just go read the book." -- B. Hoffman --- ★★★★★ "This is one of the best books I've read in years! The style of story-telling reminds me of thebest sci-fi I read back in the 1960's... A wild ride from start to finish!" -- Jack Kenne --- ★★★★★ "What can I possibly review? It combines all my favorite things. Noir, LitRPG, snappy one liners,unnecessary violence, and beautiful dames..."--Mason Partman --- ★★★★★ "This guy can write! Great story, you'll get suckered in to the whole series! There's as much fun inthe language as there is in the storyline, and it's a pleasure to be dropped into these worlds!"--M.M. Halstead --- ★★★★★ "A mad, insane totally awesome sci-fi story... With sharp writing and an edgy, fast-paced plot,it's easy to get lost in the game yourself. The extensive and graphic world-building with The Loop should especially impress gamers for the authentic feel it gives." -- Amazon top 500 reviewer --- ★★★★★ "What made me start reading was the concept. What kept me reading was the well-developed characters, a plot that was not predictable, and finally, a book that was not just some glorified video game play script." --Kent Hoffman
From the Author
LitRPG is a new science fiction genre that merges science fiction, fantasy and online gaming. Add some cyberpunk and humor, and you have The Feedback Loop Series.
This book combines two themes that I love - being trapped inside a video game and repeating the same day over and over again. Quantum, our hero, wakes up each morning and faces the same set of circumstances, until he inevitably dies and wakes up to repeat the process. It's similar to returning to the same save point over and over again, and he exists in a virtual world that's a violent gun filled steampunk styled place. It's gritty and dark, and soon Quantum begins to notice minor differences and anomalies, which help to lead him to search for a way to escape this world by logging out.
Harmon Cooper's writing is very well edited without spelling or grammatical errors. The tone of the book is dark and violent, and his writing style emphasizes this with crass terms as well as gaming slang. Since this is a PvP (player vs player) world, there are assassins and killers lurking around every corner, with lots of battles, weapons, and bloodshed. The story grips you immediately and pulls you in, and the adventure and excitement never stop. The characters are well developed, and we learn about them and about the game system itself as our hero does. The book contains a complete story, so you aren't left hanging in the middle of a plotline at the end, but it leaves you with the sense that there are more tales to tell in the larger world of the characters and encourages you to continue the journey with them in the next novel.
Harmon Cooper's trilogy on virtual gaming begins here (although there is a 4th book out also by the time of this review).
Note: I received an advance reader copy from the author in exchange for a review.
The concept for the storyline is farfetched, but the play inside the game is believable. The setting is similar to that of Sin City (Fred Miller comic series), and has the slang lingo from the 50's and 60's ratcheted up to a high degree. Characters are rather one-dimensional at the beginning, but continue to expose their more complicated layers as the story moves along at a repetitive but steady pace.
A nice walk through gritty virtual reality, with enough descriptive detail to keep it very entertaining. Kept my interest steadily increasing until the conclusion, with an unexpected conclusion. Toss in a few adult themes and you have Cooper at his best here, leading you into his next series (Life is a Beautiful Thing) without you even knowing it.
Disclaimer: this was my first LitRPG but I love playing video games and I especially enjoy a well thought out RPG or MMORPG. With that being said I really enjoyed the heck out of it. Cooper was able to build a world that was completely believable and incredibly detailed.
Quantum lives in a world that is the same day in and day out. He lives in a digital Groundhog’s Day where every day the same thing happens to him and around him. The monologues around this were both funny and sad (sad because I cannot imagine reliving the same exact thing every day). Except for one day, things start to change. His 8:05 isn’t the same anymore. The NPCs (non-player characters) are starting to act weird.
The Feedback Loop was a really enjoyable Sci-Fi LitRPG. Cooper was able to combine elements from a lot of my favorite parts and subgenres and make them into one well thought out and a deeply interesting world. Quantum as a character was perfect for this. A little more than a little cynical with an incredibly dry (and a little sadistic) sense of humor – he was fun to follow around this generated world. He reminded me a little bit of Tex Murphy (this would be an old callback if they didn’t make a newer version recently). I mean that he had this self-hating noir-detective intermixed with a cyberpunk type musing. Also, Quantum memorized his item list was a nice touch. I know that playing games like this you always remember what number or slot your favorite weapons are in, so I thought this was a really nice touch.
The story itself was also pretty awesome. It had a The Matrix feel to it, and I won’t explain why because I think it’ll give too much of the story away. The other protagonist and seemingly first and only human character he’s dealt with in many years were also well written. She was tired of his crap within the first few minutes of meeting him and seemingly tried to help him change his ways.
Overall, The Feedback Loop was a great intro to the LitRPG world for me and I hope for you if you decide to pick this book up. Cooper created a wonderfully detailed world that will be memorable for me long after finishing this book.
Add in the narration by Jeff Hays, which felt like it could have been a full-cast recording, and you have a total hit. I know that I’m a little late to the party in reading and reviewing this book – but don’t be any later, grab this book now and see what you’re missing.