An extinction-level asteroid, 213 Astraea, is cannonballing toward Earth. Collision, imminent. An international team of scientists is working around the clock to avert the cataclysm - few are optimistic. World governments are preparing for impact with deep earth bio-dome bunkers, but only a select few lottery winners will be saved.
Jack Mitchel, a 32-year-old EMT living in a tiny studio apartment on the west coast, isn't one of those winners.
Still, there might be a way for him to survive Astraea: a slim chance, requiring a radical leap of faith. Through a connection at Osmark Technologies, Jack's acquired a NexGenVR capsule and with it, a one-way ticket to the brand-new, ultra-immersive, fantasy-based VRMMORPG, Viridian Gate Online. Taking that leap of faith, though, means permanently trapping his mind in the game, killing his body in the process.
Worse, one in six die during the transition, and even if Jack beats the odds, he'll have to navigate a fantastical world filled with vicious monsters, domineering AIs, and cutthroat players. And when Jack stumbles upon a secret conspiracy to sell off virtual real estate to the ultrawealthy - transforming V.G.O. into a new feudal dark age - the deadly creatures inhabiting Viridian Gate's expansive dungeons will be the least of his concerns.
If Jack can't game the system, he's going to be trading in a quick death for a long, brutal one....
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By Ray Johnson on 14-03-18
Escape death in exchange for eternal serfdom
How would you like to learn that your worl was going to be wiped out by an asteroid in just days, and the best hope that you have is to go into a VR Game in order to survive it? Now imagine that after you are in, you find that the game has been rigged to heavily favor of some members of the upper 1% when they enter the game. You are fated to be an eternal servant? You'd probably like it as much as Grimjack does.
VGO is an interesting take on the RPGlit/Gamelit genre. It has some familiar twists and turns, but done in brilliant ways. Hunter has a nice flowing writing style; he knows how to open and close a chapter, and his ability to do dialogue is fantastic. I would put this book up against Delvers, LLC, Awaken Online, and Lion's Quest. Cutter, Grimjack's sidekick/partner in crime is a complete jerk, but one who is loyal to the core; Taylor makes him sound like a young Mick Jagger, all cocky and vitrolic, to a point I thought he had to have practiced that voice for hours. One thing I liked was that the book did not focus on having to level up or power level in such as hurry; it happened as it happened.
Again, Taylot was a palpable force while narrating. He played out the entire cast of characters in different voices, and their personalities shined through. He was a one man troupe in a play of dozens.
I also enjoyed the way in which the character used his head, rather than his hammer, to defeat his foes. It really came into play during the big "Godzilla vs Mothra" fight at the end.Even though I did receive a promo code for this review it in no way influenced my considerations of the material, and in fact, inspired me to be more honest. In fact, getting a code generally makes me harsher as a reviewer as I am more often concerned what someone like Me will decide based on my review.
This book really popped and stood out as a new take in a fledgling genre. If you are a fan of fantasy or RPGgamelit (LitRPG/GameLit) then you will regret not getting this book.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
By Irshad Karim on 04-05-17
There's some potential here, but far from perfect
The premise is definitely strong - I've always loved the clash of the real and the virtual worlds, trying to come to terms with age old challenges in a new environment, with a chance to upset the balance of power.
That said, this book has a lot of weaknesses that keep it from really taking advantage of its own plot. It leaves much for sequels, but ends up focusing so much on the quests, the levelling, making them the primary focus rather than storytelling devices.
This is very much my own opinion, but I've always preferred litrpgs that don't rely on quests and interactions with npcs (unless they're really fleshed out) to drive the story forward. The thing about quests is that they feel inherently fabricated - it's like reading a standard fantasy novel, obstructed by the lens of VR and MMORPGs. Again, this is specific to what I look for in a litrpg, but my favourite titles have always been much more rooted in the interactions of real players, using the virtual world, the npcs, the quests, etc. as a backdrop.
Story aside, I did feel that the writing ckuld use some refinement. While there was some lovely turn of phrase, much of the vocabulary smelled of ex-roleplayers, who have a tendency of needlessly over complicating their wording. Complexity is not always the best choice.
Finally, the narration - generally not bad, a great variety of voices. My only issue was with the way there seemed at times a sort of forced sense of drama, especially at the end of each chapter, in the way the last few words were read. May have also been more if an issue with the writing itself, trying to punctuate every chapter with an almost campy concluding phrase.
14 of 15 people found this review helpful