Wow I haven't put anything in the favorites shelf in a long time.
This story was utterly bewitching and played my emotions like a master fiddler on his...moreWow I haven't put anything in the favorites shelf in a long time.
This story was utterly bewitching and played my emotions like a master fiddler on his long familiar instrument. As soon as I finished it, I thought, "damn, that was well-crafted" -- just as if it all came together and I had the experience I was meant to have in reading it.
I am very happy to say that this is a gem of a find. I don't know how I have never seen it around before, but this was such a sweet and...more** 4.5 stars **
I am very happy to say that this is a gem of a find. I don't know how I have never seen it around before, but this was such a sweet and touching story and I loved Virgil and Kiren.
Virgil is a game junkie, he knows that, as well as anyone who might get a look at him when he isn't plugged into the game's interface, which he almost always is. Life isn't very great for a nerdy guy who is incredibly underweight and shy. The game allows you to be anyone you want, look anyway you want, and do anything you wish you could do in real life. It is somewhere in the near future, and the game in question is one step past virtual reality into actual reality. While plugged in (sometimes for days at a time) he travels with his friends, fighting monsters, and play-acting in a fantasy realm.
Yet, where others in the game design themselves to look how they really feel on the inside, Virgil doesn't. He looks the same in the game as in his real body plugged into game back home. He doesn't necessarily want to be someone else, like most of the other players, there just isn't anything in real life for him to care about anymore. But in the game there is Kiren, a spry and mischievous elf with curly brown hair that loves to climb trees, and Virgil has fallen in love with him.
The game is supposed to be safe -- their bodies are constantly regulated while they're inside the game. But when they're attacked by a monster and Virgil takes the brunt of the attack, he finds he cannot "blink out" and ends up passing out. Waking up in the hospital, he is happy to see his two friends have come to see him in real life. He can't believe how strange it is to meet them in real life, they are so different than the characters he has come to know them as. Kiren, however, doesn't come to see him, telling Virgil that no matter how much he would love to see him, it's for the best that they only see one another through the game. Crushed, Virgil makes up his mind to go and find the answers on his own. It might not work out in real life, but he has to know what Kiren is really like, and if he's in love with him as well.
This was such a beautiful story simply for the characters that we get to know so well within such a short amount of time. They all have their reasons for living their lives in a simulated world. And though they can speak, feel, and have sex in the game, it isn't enough for Virgil, who loves Kiren so much.
This story is a breath of fresh air for those of us that love to read about real characters and not He-bot hunks. I love to root for a character that is more like someone I know in real life, and I found myself really wanting Virgil to get his little bit of happiness. Then, the story took a turn that I never really expected when Kiren came into the picture, and I loved it all the more for who Kiren really is.
A sad, but uplifting story that has stuck with me since I finished it, and which I will definitely be reading again in the near future.(less)
This is one of the better Joyee Flynn books that I've read. There are still the old staples of her books, like giggly emotional twinks and strapping m...moreThis is one of the better Joyee Flynn books that I've read. There are still the old staples of her books, like giggly emotional twinks and strapping men that can't seem to let their mates walk anywhere, but sometimes I'm in the mood for that. And now, after reading many of Joyee Flynn's books, I know what to expect. Still, this story had more worldbuilding and interesting plot. I'm looking forward to reading Lust & Vamp.(less)
I ended this book regarding it with love and hate. I enjoyed a lot of the little details of the worldbuilding, but the characters just baffled me so o...moreI ended this book regarding it with love and hate. I enjoyed a lot of the little details of the worldbuilding, but the characters just baffled me so often. They did such strange things all in the name of the "greater good" which just caused no end of immediate problems, sort of like "suck it up and deal with it", but just really made me not like the principle characters very much. On top of that, I often though the things they said to each other were kinda mean and mean-spirited. Also no matter how much Moritmer's whining got on my nerves at first, I ended up thinking that I'd probably be whining too if I felt like such a pawn.
I also missed the progression of the romance. It seemed to just happen one day and I wondered if I had missed a few pages. Also, a lot of the interpersonal relationships between the mentors and boys were largely glossed over and I would have liked to see more about that.
All in all, on top of what I've already mentioned bothered me, there just seemed to be a lot of heavy handed writing. I felt like I was being clubbed over the head with conclusions about what everything "means" when I had it figured out from the beginning.
I'd take a change reading the sequel, just to sate my curiosity about what happens and if this series can get better and where Sulayman X might take it, but I'm not holding out for an unbelievably amazing story.(less)
I'm normally a very big fan of Sasha MIller's stories and novels, but this one just didn't work for me. I didn't really like either of the th...more2.5 stars
I'm normally a very big fan of Sasha MIller's stories and novels, but this one just didn't work for me. I didn't really like either of the three MCs and their behavior just completely baffled me.(less)
An engaging read from Amber Kell, who seems to be able to give the quick, satisfying read a little more depth than similar books. They're alw...more3.5 stars
An engaging read from Amber Kell, who seems to be able to give the quick, satisfying read a little more depth than similar books. They're always a joy to read and I feel like I get a bit more world-building in her books than in others but I still get a satisfying guilty-pleasure type book that I can usually read in under an hour.
This book ended with more questions than when it began, and it's pretty obvious that it is the beginning of another series. I'm looking forward to seeing where this one goes. The ending leaves the impression that the focus of the next book will also be about Randall and Sasha. I hope so, because I would really love to have a single relationship series instead of another with short installments that go from couple to couple, it seems less satisfying that way.