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Reboot: An Epic LitRPG (Afterlife Online) (Volume 1) Paperback – June 15, 2017
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About the Author
Domino Finn is an entertainment industry veteran, a contributor to award-winning video games, and the grizzled Urban Fantasy author of the best-selling Black Magic Outlaw series. His stories are equal parts spit, beer, and blood, and are notable for treating weighty issues with a supernatural veneer. If Domino has one rallying cry for the world, it's that fantasy is serious business.
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Where the book was strong, it was very well done.
The reason for only four stars?
There were some character choices that did not ring true for me. There were some parts/ choices/ scenes that I would not have done, but you may enjoy it more than I did. The ending tied up a lot of plot points almost in a Hollywood 'let's all hold hands and sing' ending. Keep in mind I like things to be a bit on the dark side, so you may be cool with the finale and afterwards.
Having wrapped up so much with book one, does this mean book two must have even more action, adventure, and awesomeness?
I hope so. I’ll be looking for it to come out.
The game elements are relatively simple, but appear to be well-thought out. Simple is good, since it allows the author to keep the game elements important, including giving Talon the ability to strategize character building (an important game element which is often missing from litRPG) without going too much into technical details. I found the character well-developed and growing throughout the story, both of the MC and the others stuck in the game. The story is tense and I like the mystery and how it develops.
I am not entirely sure about the pacing. The story takes place in 1 day and a lot happens in it. Sure, Talon uses his wits, but most games are not this forgiving and earning 10 levels in 24 hours seems a bit extreme for a game that supposedly keeps people entertained for decades. Not overly important if you just care about the story, and the author might very well offer sollutions in future adventures. I am also not entirely sure about the concept of a game for the dead. Sure, I can belief that if you can copy a mind into a computer, keeping that mind entertained is important. Keeping that mind completely seperate from RL and not using it as a resource seems odd though. What value is there in preserving a mind if you do not intent to use it?
All in all, an entertaining read and I am curious about future parts. Certainly a good addition to the litRPG genre.
I should note that there are a few religious undertones in the story. But you're going to get that with just about any afterlife story. In this case, the game company is represented by an employee with an avatar named Saint Peter that is introducing the main character to the closed beta afterlife. The bad guys are goblins, cyclops, ogres, trolls and other monsters referred to as the Pagans. The big bad guy and tempter is Lucifer, a rogue player that just wants to see the game world burn. That’s pretty much the extent of it though.
The first half of the story, is mostly story setup and information about how the game world works. Heck, the first 10% is just character creation and the tutorial for the main character.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s not interesting in it’s own way. You’re introduced to all the important characters, you get a feel for the world, who the bad guys are, and you get an explanation of how the game world works.
One of the places the story shines is the in potential depth of the game mechanics and the authors background as a real life game designer show through here. There are four basic character classes: Artisan, Mystic, Warrior, and Explorer. Each with their own benefits. However, the game’s mechanics also have a skill system that allows for a staggering number of customization options for the players in this world. There’s also crafting, which I love. So, if you’re a nerd for game mechanics like me, you’ll like all this stuff.
The story gets to be a real page turner after the main character is told by Lucifer that the game company has been lying to him and they’re intentionally not letting him talk to his brother in the real world. The consequences of the main character deciding to hack into the game’s servers push the story into a much faster pace. From there it’s a series of big battles, plot twists, and story revelations.
I really enjoyed the nods to other games like God of War and Shadow of the Colossus and many more. The relationships that develop between the main character, his frat bro roommate and the ice queen are a little forced at times but still genuinely interesting. I especially liked the author’s inside jokes and commentary on the gaming industry. For example: the bug report button, is featured throughout the story, and hinted at as an alternative way to get the attention of the devs. Yet, when ultimately used was totally useless. It made me laugh out loud as someone that’s beta tested MMOs before. The author nailed those inside jokes.
Overall, I had a good time reading the story. The beginning was a little challenging at times to stay interested in but I’m really glad I stuck around and the last half of the story really just flew by.
Score: 7 out of 10.
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