Sunday, April 5, 2015

AlterWorld by D. Rus

From Goodreads:
A new pandemic - the perma effect - has taken over Earth of the near future. Whenever you play your favorite online game, beware: your mind might merge with the virtual world and dump its comatose host. Woe be to those stuck forever in Tetris! And still they're the lucky ones compared to those burning alive eternally within the scorched hulls of tank simulators.
But some unfortunates - the handicapped and the terminally ill, shell-shocked army vets, wronged crime victims and other society misfits - choose to flee real life willingly, escaping to the limitless world of online sword and sorcery MMORPGs.

Once a seasoned gamer and now a terminal cancer patient, Max grasps at this final chance to preserve his life and identity. So he goes for it - goes for the promise of immortality shared with a few trusty friends and the woman he loves. Together they roam the roads of AlterWorld and sample its agony and ecstasy born of absolute freedom.
This book interested me from two different perspectives. On one hand I'm a gamer, on the other I'm chronically ill. I may not be dying from any of my illnesses, but my quality of life is quite low because of them. Would I choose to enter an MMO for all eternity if I could? Honestly I'm not sure. Maybe, but probably only if my husband came with me. Said husband is busy playing an MMO as I type but he says he isn't sure either. If I could go back in time and ask my December 2013 self (one of the lowest times of my life) I know she would have said yes in a heart beat.

I enjoyed the blend of game description and plot in this story. At parts it was like listening to a friend describe his latest D&D adventures. We have equipment stats and ability descriptions that might be hard to follow for non-gamers, but are quite familiar to those who have rolled a d20 once or twice. Yet the book is only half game, intertwined is Max's new life with other very real people and problems. As you get farther into the story the immersion gets deeper until the end when you realize for some it is no longer a game at all.

I quite enjoyed this book and immediately upon finishing went to download it's sequel: The Clan. There is a third, The Duty, already out with the forth, Inferno, releasing June 20th. According to Goodreads there is a fifth and sixth planned for the series. I would give AlterWorld 5 stars and (so far) The Clan the same. I would recommend it to other gamers and non-gamers should give it a shot too!

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