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Coral was desperate. It had finally happened, she was now redundant in the only job she had known, reviewreplaced by a bot, leaving her to fear where her next meal was coming from. With bot automation jobs were scarce, even her own parents had sought work elsewhere. With nowhere else to turn, she did what so many people were, she turned to Travail Online. People made real money in game selling gear to pay to win players. The exchange rate was $1 per 10 gold, not great, but if she worked hard she could at least eat. There was a catch, however, if you died you started over, level one, no assets, or at least that was how it should have worked. She had never been a gamer, and she hadn’t expected to be so drawn into this world. Her aim had been to make money, instead she finds herself allied with an unlikely group who were trying to survive and make ends meet. She had been the extra number to allow access to a limited dungeon, excess baggage they had expected to die. Little did they know an in game glitch has set disaster on the world, permadeath at the hands of a psychotic NPC and, somehow, Level 1 Coral receives the only quest to confront this disaster. If she fails, it’s not only herself who will worry about the next meal, but the millions of people who rely on this game to survive. Failure is not an option, but with an overpowered NPC, learning, growing, evolving and slowly preventing the rebirth of player and NPC alike, what hope does she have?

There is something very addictive about Brian Simons’ Travail Online: Soulkeeper. I have only this year really dedicated any real time to reading books of the LitRPG genre, and thanks to books like this it is rapidly becoming my preferred genre. It’s no secret I am a gamer, but I had never expected to have so much fun reading this genre. Soulkeeper is an exciting intriguing road with the depth and world building you would expect from playing an MMORPG. Races are pitted against each other, driven to separation and conflict, and the promise of epic and tense future quests are constantly being implied during the pressure-filled adventure. There are some great characters, and they show some great person growth as they begin this seemingly impossible task. I will certainly be adding book two into my ‘to read’ list.

If you’re a KU subscriber like myself, you also have the added bonus of this book being free on Kindle unlimited.

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