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Lycopolis Kindle Edition
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Online gamers (which I'm not, but it didn't matter) will especially identify wth LYCPOLIS. The story involves young people playing an online game, set in a medieval city called Lycopolis, that turns scary and unpredictable when some of the characters pledge allegiance to a demon in the online game. The results spill over into their real lives with life and death consequences as the characters made choices between fear and courage, good and evil. An underlying theme is the always provocative question of what price anyone might put on their soul if they could exchange it for wealth or power.
One way the author swept me up into the fascinating intersection of reality and fantasy was by developing the characters with real insight into the lives, emotions, and angst of teenagers in various domestic situations. It was not hard to imagine the various reasons each one felt drawn to the community and acceptance they felt inside the game, since for most of them, it was lacking in their real lives.
I believe this was the author's first published novel. Not once did I find a mis-step, omission, or rough patch in her story. I was gripped from beginning to end, and even came away with a bit more appreciation for the attraction of online gaming. Kudos to Ali Luke for a debut success.
This is a well-written supernatural thriller that is both imaginative and realistic at the same time. For the most part the action occurs in England, primarily Oxford, a setting the author knows well. Ms. Luke also has had thorough experience with role-play or multiplayer online computer games. Both areas of her first-hand knowledge provided her with authentic details for her story. So there is an interplay between an accurately described everyday world we all experience and supernatural realms, and progressively the line between the two begins to blur.
You'll find that Ms. Luke's characters come alive on her pages. She has a mature understanding of people, both the good and the bad aspects, which undergirds the feeling of reality. She portrays us humans as we are. The result is a downright scary tale.
Keeping the characters straight is a bit challenging, particularly in the early pages, since most of them have two names, their regular names and the names for their characters in the role-play game. So the reader is advised to make good use of the character-names-list the author provided at the beginning of her text.
I think too this novel might just serve as a cautionary tale for those tempted to dabble in things occult. Luke certainly dramatizes some of the possible disturbing consequences. The suspense is magnetic and constant. The story had me quite worried for several of the characters at points. It's definitely a page-turner.
If you enjoy supernatural thrillers. Here's one you will want to read.
You'll quickly start caring about the characters. Their thoughts and interactions provide insight into their motivations and complex personalities. You'll understand why they often show poor judgment.
It would be easy in a story like this to create one-dimensional characters who are either all good or completely bad. But since Ali lets you see their inner lives, you end up feeling sympathy for even the one who does some terrible things.
The story moves along quickly and is full of surprises. It's hard to put down. The details allowed me to visualize the people and places where they found themselves.
The book also gave me a good picture of online gaming. I've never done it, but now can see why many enjoy it so much.
I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this trilogy.
1. Ali Luke writes great blog posts.
2. I am passionate about supporting indie authors, particularly those that write any form of fantasy.
3. The price was right.
As an editor, I look for what I would have suggested to strengthen the story, and in this case I only have a couple of thoughts. While the plot was solid and the characters believable, I wanted more time with the heroine, Kay. I also found the use of bold text to represent the game world a bit much; I think a simple font change and headline would have been less disruptive. These are very picky, subjective notes, and I still highly recommend this book and congratulate the author on a job well done.
This book was absolutely worth the price of admission, and I am pleased that there will be more in the series.
The pacing is fast and I found the story really enjoyable. I couldn't put it down, which is always a good sign in my opinion! I finished it in a few days, because I kept picking up the book to read on and get to the exciting finale. Can't wait for the next installment!