Stratus Online: Awakening by Drew Cordell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I have to admit this one is a total guilty pleasure. Granted, I've only read a handful of crossover computer game RPG crossover SF's, but the few that I have, have been uniformly awesome.
Which others? Oh, a few common titles like Ready Player One and Heroes Die, to name a few. I think I may have raved about them in the past.
So, it turns out that LitRPG is a thing, now. I want to think that it might be derivative or silly because it is, after all, crossing RPG video games over into novels, capturing the thrill of loot and leveling and fascinating characters while still being just a novel, but in point of fact, it's fun as hell and dispenses with all that otherwise silly stuff of explaining where the power comes from or other BS. Let's just get right into the action and play the game, already! Like story? It has a good story! Like defeating enemies with your new skills and your new weapons and armor? You're in luck! You can even keep a close eye on your HP bar or your Mana.
Don't forget to pee!
It's hard to remember these things since so much keeps happening and you need to optimize all your time to catch all the prerequisites and outfit yourself for the big boss! And don't forget that you've got to rouse all your npc's and work closely with your online friends or this is NOT going to end well. They're relying on you, after all! Just hold it. Forget real life injuries, too. Suck it up, buttercup. Get back in the game. :)
Of course, with other great franchises like .hack that tell similar stories AS a video game or Sword Art Online which is a fantastic anime about a video game, there's always these little snags where games intrude RATHER heavily on real-life, and this book is no different. That's part of its charm.
Am I addicted, already? Yup. Guilty pleasure? Yup. I've played a lot of video games and this stuff is a pure crowd pleaser. :) Fast, great characters, great reveals and a purely fantasy-life that I'd choose even when it gets really bad because the potential for absolute godhood is so tempting. :)
Now, I just have to take a leap and see if it's just all that I've read in the LitRPG field or whether I've just been extremely, extremely lucky. I think it's probably that I've only been picking the most highly regarded stories, though, and haven't had the misfortune of reading crap, yet. :) I can only thank the pioneers who have been reviewing this field for me.
Of course, It may not be the field that I love so much, as the writers I've chosen to read from. Drew Cordell has been consistently fantastic in all his other works and that was the main reason why I jumped on this one so easily.
It might just be the luck of having found a really talented writer who can turn his pen to anything. :)
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