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New Arcadia: Stage One

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Kindle Edition

First published February 16, 2021

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Eric Jason Martin

159 books16 followers

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5 stars
51 (17%)
4 stars
105 (35%)
3 stars
100 (33%)
2 stars
37 (12%)
1 star
7 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 66 reviews
Profile Image for Emily Tate.
40 reviews
March 11, 2021
I had a little trouble at the beginning of this book. It is set in the world of our current pandemic, only 3 years in the future when things have gotten much much worse and even more isolated, and I wasn't really mentally prepared to "enjoy" a "fictional" world that hit that close to home. But as it got into the point of the story, I found myself able to let go and get into it a bit more.

I wouldn't say it was the best book I've read all year, but by the end, I found myself really looking forward to the next installment. I will say, this is not a book that is satisfying and stands on its own as a single novel - it is definitely best read as the setup for a series.
1 review
March 18, 2021
Highly recommend audiobook for this one. The voice acting, production, and performance make it a fun ride.
63 reviews
December 27, 2021
New Arcadia seeks to right the wrongs of Ready Player One, in a sense. The comparison of the two books is absolutely inevitable - so note most of my review will be in terms of comparison.

I liked Ready Player One pretty well (I gave it 4 stars on here) but thought it was bizarrely situated in the literary catalog, all things considered - it was a YA book written expressly to target 30/40 year olds (what with the early 80's trivia sprinkled throughout).

If you've patrolled online forums you'll know that Cline's work, despite being a commercial success, is actually victim to incessant eye-rolling and put-downs from many readers. I'd always thought the reasoning is that the readership was not interested in YA, full stop.... so it was a weird book for a reader expecting something more "literary" like whatever recent contemporary fiction fits the bill (it's no The Vanishing Half, it's no Deacon King Kong - it's not anything like those books and doesn't touch those books, really).

So Eric J. Martin has done a wiser choice - sliding the scale up a little bit from early 80's trivia to instead late 80's and 90's - this gives you SLIGHTLY younger readers. Further - this is a playful, trivia-filled, "entertainment value" book - but it's not a YA book. The protagonist is 40 years old. There's that weathered depth to the protagonist that comes with being an adult.

In this way - this is a rather different experience than Ready Player One, and in some ways a better one. I'm right at 30 years old - the trivia here was way more salient, to me. The sort of darker tone of the setting of the book I enjoyed. There are not as many "wish-fulfillment" passages/cringe-inducing moments as Ready Player One. The themes are not the typical YA theme of "who am I, and what will I do about it?" - but instead something on a much grander scale, which I appreciated.

Where I've subtracted "stars" and where I think Cline's work edges out this book is in terms of execution of the story. There is a certain amount of "tell, don't show" both books are guilty of - but New Arcadia is more guilty. As a result some of the reveals and twists and turns don't have as much impact as they could. The book tends to jump around a bit in a way that lead me, anyway, to being somewhat confused. Further, having just read Ready Player One, I did suffer a bit of "Simpsons already did it" syndrome - descriptions of things like VR rigs or, in general, a living breathing MMO/AR type scenario - I was already wow'd for the first time by Cline's descriptions. New Arcadia, perhaps, does not stray far enough from the book from which it so obviously draws influence. Rather than being immersed in the near-future dystopian world as I was ignited by first-time descriptions of paradigms I had never, ever thought about - instead I had already thought about most of these paradigms, already, when reading Cline's book. There were, then, fewer surprises and "wow" moments.

All told - a good effort of a debut, IMO. Had you never read Ready Player One - honestly I'd say this is a better starting point for 90's born kids than RPO is - so snatch it up! If you have already read and enjoyed RPO - read this when you are in the mood to revisit the familiar concept, but with a drastically different protagonist and a darker setting.
Profile Image for Robin Pelletier.
833 reviews6 followers
December 22, 2021
This novel was advertised as Ready Player One during the Covid-19 pandemic but filled with 90s pop culture. It fulfilled its marketing promises in that it was set during the pandemic and was filled with 90s culture. However, the story did not immerse me the way Ready Player One did and I wasn't invested in the characters or plot.

John Chambers is living a mundane and unfulfilled life as a drone coordinator in a pandemic. Like most, he escapes into video games. When given the chance to sign up for a new immersive video game - John hesitates. After some hemming and hawing, he signs up and finds himself in New Arcadia - a completely immersive video game. John has a few adventures in the game at first, but it settles into a mirror of reality eventually.

The action does pick up toward the end. And Decker leaves the novel on a cliff hanger.

I loved the voice acting, sound effects and music. It was a very fun and engaging audiobook in terms of those three aspects.
2 reviews
March 29, 2021
Overall I enjoyed the story. The voice actors were fun and they definitely created a whole experience with music and the works. My only real complaint was that the climax of the story fell a bit flat. I would still probably listen to a sequel, but felt a little let down by how the story finished out.
Profile Image for George Okinaka.
34 reviews10 followers
February 22, 2022
New Arcadia was a fun listen (on Audible), and I’ve always liked full cast audiobooks as it usually makes it more entertaining. And while it wasn’t at the level of Ready Player One, I still enjoyed listening to it.

One gripe that I had throughout the book was the footnoted references to quotes and themes from movies & television shows in the 80’s and 90’s. I mean I enjoy the use of those references, but you don’t need to state what movie that it was from, when it came out and who directed it (every single time). Seemed like a bit too much to me.
Profile Image for JESSICA M.
56 reviews3 followers
May 15, 2022
I liked it! My only caution is that it does reference a pandemic situation pretty heavily, so if you are trying to escape that might not be the best choice. Some gaming knowledge is helpful, but I think basic awareness would do it.
Profile Image for Aaron Eichler.
203 reviews
October 22, 2022
a virus runs wild

In this dystopian future a young man is trapped in his home because of virus, sound familiar. It is basically the Covid-19 virus if it ran wild. I loved the old time video game style, but that might be because I am close to the age of the characters. I look forward to seeing what happens next.
Profile Image for Douglas Grion Filho.
144 reviews5 followers
July 24, 2022
DNF. Really tried with this one, even skipped ahead to see if it got better. Not for me at all though, I guess Im just cursed to not enjoy anything matt mercer narrates
Profile Image for Anna.
28 reviews1 follower
April 3, 2021
This was so much fun to listen to. And I hope there’s another book after this one. If you enjoy 80s/90s music, film, and gaming references with a heaping dose of “nerdiness”, you���re in for a treat.
15 reviews
October 12, 2021
This book is clearly in the vein of Ready Player One, but a lot of its pieces are a lesser replication rather than an inspiration. It is Ready Player One pandemic style, which I appreciated seeing some of the psychological pieces that come from living through a pandemic (eg difficulty of being in crowds again, loss of a loved one, etc). The last half of the book had redeeming qualities and more entertainment than the first half. That said, the book was too long for the content it covered. It takes about 100+ pages of set up before you get into the actual plot of the book. The humor throughout the book is trite and then is often acknowledged in the book as lame in a weird meta way. I think I would have received it better as an audiobook compared to reading the physical book. Overall, I was entertained and appreciate the attempted message of the book but would not recommend to my friends.
Profile Image for Kevin.
14 reviews1 follower
June 22, 2021
If you're looking for a new book to get lost in, read New Arcadia.

I really enjoyed this book!

I received a free review copy of this book and I asked for a hard copy, knowing it might be a new favorite of mine (I like to have physical copies of my favorite books), and I'm so glad I did. I've always told my non-reader friends, a good book doesn't need to be a huge epic, like Dune or Lord of the Rings (although those are great), it just needs to be a good book that makes me want to read more. That's what this book did for me, it made me want to read more.

Once I started, it was difficult to put the book down. I'm not always in the mood to read, so I've made a rule for myself that I will always read at least two minutes a day. If I really didn't want to keep reading, I wasn't hard on myself, but would put the book down and try again the next day. That never happened with New Arcadia: Stage One. Once the two minutes were up, I just kept reading, sometimes well past the time I should be getting to bed. I'm pretty sure I've stayed up past midnight twice while reading this book.

There were a few minor things I didn't love about the book. Certain references, when named, resembled Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. The director and year of film or game release would be named, and it reminded me too much of a different book. After a while, and after reading about Eric Jason Martin, I realized this was because the author shared the protagonist's love of 80s pop culture, and I eventually found it very fitting.

I'm sure many people can draw links between this book and Ernest Cline's Ready Player One; however, as I read more, I realized the books were very different. In New Arcadia, the world is under the oppression of a deadly virus, and many people - including the protagonist, John Chambers - escape from their reality of solitude by playing games on their VR headsets or tablets. It may seem far fetched, but I never questioned it; I was too excited to discover what else the world of New Arcadia had to offer.

Which brings me to my favorite part of the book. The world of New Arcadia. I found myself getting a little adrenaline rush whenever John Chambers leveled up, or successfully completed a task. The same thing that makes real video games rewarding - the feeling of success and getting stronger - is what made this book so enjoyable for me. I couldn't help but root for John. I just wanted to see Blaze kick some butt! I also really loved Kevin, not just because we share a first name. Something about him was just super likable and I'm really looking forward to seeing his relationship with John bloom over the next book. I'm also looking forward to seeing some more Blaze and Iceman butt-kicking.

I consider it pure luck that someone offered a review copy for me; otherwise, I might have missed out on this hidden gem. I strongly recommend it to anyone looking for a new adventure to dive into, I might buy a second copy to hear the audio version (which I've heard is amazing, I mean Eric Jason Martin has narrated or taken part in like a million audiobooks) and I'll certainly be among the first to buy Stage Two!
37 reviews
December 10, 2022
I received a reviewer copy of the audiobook for New Arcadia: Revolution, so I decided to pick up a copy of book one so I could get the entire story and be able to give a full review with all the details for the series. Since I am reviewing the audiobook, I am going to review both the story as well as the production of the audiobook. Lets get into it.
When I was offered the reviewer copy of book two and given the Synopsis I got extremely excited. It was promoted as: "It seamlessly blends the dystopian setting and nostalgic charm of 'Ready Player One' with the sharp humor and complex world-building of Shirtaloon’s 'He Who Fights with Monsters.'"
I am a huge RPO fan and I thoroughly enjoyed the HWFWM series. So seeing that I was already hooked. Than with the audiobook I see they have cast: Matthew Mercer, Sam Riegel, Scott Brick, Travis Baldree, and the list goes on. Okay now I'm just salivating to get into this story.
Lets start with the actual production, being an avid audiobook listener that's what I was excited about. Book one utilized a lot of music, especially during the chapter breaks. Now I get what they were going for with using the sounds that were common in 90's arcade games, but for someone who listens to the audiobook at 2x normal speed the sounds were a bit much and even painful at times. As excited as I was to see so many great names in this performance it at times was difficult to switch back and forth between the different characters. Each voice would come at different octaves and different volume levels making it difficult to jump back and forth at times. (again I do listen at 2x normal speed, so part of that may be because of the listening speed). Overall the production was consistent and well done. All the voice actors were excellent. I give the production a 3.5 out of 5.
Now for the story its self. The story starts off right away with the main character making a random 90's references, and I thought to myself "okay here is where the RPO come in". In my opinion the random 90's references were over done throughout the story, not to the point of distastefulness, but a bit much.
The IRL setting for the story is a bit unbelievable because it follows after only a 2 year pandemic where everyone is locked in their homes, but all of a sudden the powers that be believe the population needs some course of therapy to be able to cope and lean to interact with each other in society again. Now if this was a decade long situation than sure the masses may need some reconditioning, but having lived through a 2 year pandemic this scenario doesn't feel genuine.
Now the in game world is something new, typically you have a fantasy world with different races and magic. Not here, New Arcadia is a 1990's real world setting with 90's arcade level situations and graphics. The character level progression is a bit arbitrary. I believe a character increases a level when they deliver a single punch to an ally, just to fit a scenario in the story. I don't see any real application of what the character levels mean thought-out the story, which takes away some of the litrpg elements for me. Overall the story has some good elements it certainly is a fun fast pasted story. I look forward to book two.
Well done Eric.
Profile Image for Russell Gray.
384 reviews40 followers
October 19, 2022
Well, this seemed like a book by an industry "insider" that didn't know what its target audience was and didn't quite understand why its influences succeeded. I'm a child of the 80's who grew up playing video games, some of my favorites included Double Dragon and Streets of Rage, and I'm currently a big reader of Litrpg/Gamelit. This book should have been right up my alley, but it missed every mark. I went about 34% on my Kindle before throwing in the towel.

Character 4/10, Plot 5/10, Setting/Game Mechanics 4/10, Writing 5/10, Enjoyment 2/10

The character was unlikeable for me since he was too much of a socially inept idiot to be anything more than annoying. Strangely, it seemed to be intentional on the author's part, but I don't know what he was thinking, having an annoying character as the only hook for us in the first part of the book. He should have gone full Thomas Covenant and given us a truly reprehensible character that we can't look away from instead.

The plot troubled me, both as a regular reader and a gamelit reader. As a gamelit reader, the story took way too long to get In The Game. I think you should really do your best to give readers their first taste of the game world by the 5% mark. As a regular reader, I don't really enjoy my fiction when it imitates the unfortunate circumstances of our current reality (a pandemic). I'm looking to take my mind off that garbage, so the whole intro of the book taking so long and languishing in a pandemic world that isolates everyone didn't do this story any favors.

The game world was too slow and too boring. It seemed influenced by Streets of Rage, but there wasn't much effort on the author's part to really pin down some mechanics, which is going to let down a large portion of litrpg readers. I didn't see any real indication of actual fighting knowledge either. What a lackluster experience after taking over 20% of the book to enter the game world.

The writing was fine from a grammatical and proofreading standpoint, which is probably the closest thing to a compliment I have for this book.

I honestly found little to enjoy here. I kept reading as long as I did based on the premise. But at the end of the day, this seemed like an uninspired list of forced and overly detailed pop culture references that used Ready Player One and Litrpg as marketing buzzwords without understanding what made them interesting. Gamelit readers are unlikely to find much to enjoy or latch onto here and regular readers will probably get bored with this RPO imitation.
Profile Image for Kevin.
691 reviews11 followers
June 2, 2021
Read the audio version. I enjoyed the multiple narrators and quality. Definitely worth getting over the book.

Hard not to compare with Ready Player One. So I won't fight the obvious. It's a reproduction, in a way, and I'll review it as such. The 10 years after RPO is probably a good gap. Unfortunately, New Arcadia has a few too many similarities. The worldwide strife that causes people to quarantine inside is the biggest. Everyone turning to advanced virtual reality. The corporate suit that recruits, or attempts to recruit, the promising young VR player, and the resistance the player shows. However in New Arcadia, the conflict is out of place. And the corporate suit seems to actually be a good guy.

This book had more humor, in the beginning, than RPO. But that faded out, or got played out, towards the end. Not sure which one. While the main character is supposed to be a great game player, he seems to suck inside this game. It was a bit of a let down. Although, I think the biggest issue was that I didn't get invested in the whole premise of the need for the game in the first place. One, I don't believe it would be needed. And two, if it were needed, the idea that it could "save humanity" was far fetched.

Anyway, if you haven't read Ready Player One, this may be enjoyable. If you've ready RPO, this will be lacking in comparison.

Note: I received a copy of this audiobook for free.
Profile Image for Jibran.
185 reviews21 followers
July 27, 2021
Completely and utterly fantastic.

New Arcadia is everything I wish Ready Player One (Ernest Cline) and Rabbits (Terry Miles) was. The references range from the late 80's to the late 90's. Being my age, I connect to them on a deep and profound level. I find myself recalling the fondest memories of my childhood with every movie and videogame reference that is loaded into this book.

The story is deeper than the summary lets on. Set in an alternate world where the 2020 COVID pandemic has raged for 3 whole years and fundamentally changed society as we know it, New Arcadia: Stage One strikes at the deep psychosocial ramifications of isolation and brings together the importance of human interactions in a blissful and poignant way.

And its all masked in a fun, 90's style beat'em'up virtual reality game. It is both exciting and philosophical. It is both profound and quirky. The main characters are deep and varied. The Chum corporation has uncomfortable echoes of an unregulated Amazon. The story and the plot are both Retro and Modern at the same time. I am incredibly motivated to see where how this progresses and what Stage Two will be like.

If interested in this book, I highly recommend the Audible version as a listen-along while reading, as it has a full cast, fun sound-effects, and a thrilling set-up, that really bring the story to life.

My hats off to you Eric Jason Martin. You did a wonderful job crafting this treat.
Profile Image for Lisa Miller.
48 reviews
June 25, 2021
Oof, this was not a win for me. The story centers on a shlubby middle-aged guy grinding through a boring job in the midst of a deadly raging pandemic that has forced people to isolate themselves at home for three years and counting. Through a somewhat muddled premise the protagonist ends up entering an immersive virtual reality world styled after a 90's arcade knock out game, and adventures ensue. I assumed it would be a fun Ready Player One knockoff, but it did not deliver. There were aspects to this story I liked. I legitimately enjoyed following the protagonist through the game mechanics of the world, watching him level up and hit barrels for pizza. But the grander story elements like the overall plot, the character development, and personal motivations were just nonsense. And as the story continued more and more nonsense was revealed. There were fun parts of this book but overall it's too poorly written for me to recommend.

Thank you to Library thing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for J. L. Neyhart.
411 reviews145 followers
July 3, 2021
I really liked the premise and the beginning of this book. It definitely reminded me of Ready Player One. But I LOVE Ready Player One and I didn't love this one. I think part of that is that the pop-cultural references are even more gratuitous (and not as meaningful to me or recognizable to me as the ones in RP1. At least in RP1, there was a plot reason for the main character to be obsessed with 80s pop culture. I also didn't realize it was setting up a sequel when I started reading it, so that was frustrating. I got bogged down in the middle of the book and if I wasn't so stubborn about finishing most books that I start, I might not have finished this one. But I'm glad I stuck with it as the end was better than the middle.

The other thing that was a bit jarring about this book is that it was written after the Covid-19 pandemic started and the book takes place about 3 years later and is, in a way, offering commentary/speculation on the social/psychological repercussions of living through this pandemic.
Profile Image for Ozzy Mandias.
17 reviews
April 12, 2021
Received a complimentary copy of this book but unfortunately I just couldn't get into it. It's tailor made for my generation of pop culture nerds who grew up in the 80's and 90's and the writer banks heavily on this nostalgia. The writer tends to get lost in the details and focuses too much on menial tasks in games and in life.

The story takes place in the near future where every one has been on lockdown for years due to a virus and America basically doesn't exist anymore (We're getting there. Thanks Biden voters!) Corporations have taken over(accurate) and we are all corporate drones and the main character John Chambers spends most of his off time inside of an AR video game called World of Moby.

The game designer notices him, which also happens to be his employer invites him to take part in a new game in a place called New Arcadia.

If you're an 80's fan and pop culture nerd give it a shot.
Profile Image for Erin Clark.
389 reviews
June 9, 2021
Not being a gamer this book was probably not the best choice for me, however I did enjoy it. I really liked 'Ready Player One' and LOVED 'Heads Will Roll' by Eric Jason Martin, the author so I thought it would be a good match for me. Maybe not so much. The story takes place during a three year pandemic that has decimated earth. John Chambers is a drone pilot and his job is to deliver food and such via drone to the survivors who never leave their homes due to the deadly virus still in the air. John is a loner and likes to work alone. One day he is recruited to become a beta player of a new game by his employer Chum. He agrees and enters a virtual reality immersion game with several other players. John must learn to work with partners, something he chafes against but in the end becomes grateful for. John grew as a character, which I liked. Lots of punching and action, if you like gaming this should be right up your alley.
10 reviews
June 28, 2021
New Arcadia was touted as a Ready Player One of the 90s. If that is what you are looking for, you are probably going to be disappointed. There were a few moments when the references to 90's culture made sense, but most of the time it came across as a random throwback that feels out of place and not only adds nothing to the story but detracts from it. All that being said, I still enjoyed the story. The characters were interesting, even if they needed a little extra development and consistency. The world was fascinating and even though there were elements of the storyline that were a little on the thin side and some were a bit of a stretch, I still enjoyed the story overall.

Despite the flaws, I enjoyed the story and will continue on with the next one, if there is a next one. I just hope any future pop culture references are relevant in future versions.
Profile Image for Stacy Wolfe.
437 reviews3 followers
June 26, 2022
I was given this book as an ARC for an honest opinion. Here are my thoughts. If you are a gamer of iconic games, this book will appeal to you on a major level. I, however, am not a gamer, but I think my brother, an avid gamer, would love this book. Here’s the setup: John Chambers is living his life in quarantine after a major pandemic. He hasn’t had human contact in 3 years and spends all his time working and gaming. He gets invited to beta test a new game for Chum, the Amazon of this book. Interestingly, the premise is very much how to reacclimatize back into society. But, things go awry. The writing is not great, but entertaining. I liked all the pop culture references, and it could be witty. But, this book is niche. If you didn’t game, weren’t born in the 80s, or live through a pandemic, much of what happens in this book will not make sense.
Profile Image for Mark.
728 reviews56 followers
January 6, 2023
I've read a lot [way too much -ed.] of game inspired books. The vast majority pull from the fantasy RPG genre. New Arcadia goes a different direction as it is a homage to the side scrolling beat-em-ups such as Streets of Rage and Double Dragon. This transforms the fighting scenes from the standard boringly shallow to delightfully and self-knowingly shallow. Two of the main characters know they are there to flex and punch, and they gleefully fulfill their video arcades dreams.

Surprising to me, there is more to this book than just beat-em-ups. It is set in a world of pandemic times 10, where the survivors are basically locked in their houses as a fictional Amazon delivers food and necessities by drone once a week. The "New Arcadia" video game is an attempt to provide mental health support and reintegration for all the people who have been totally isolated for years.
Profile Image for Shauna.
578 reviews2 followers
April 24, 2021
Decent. A spin off of Ready Player One (virtual world, 90’s trivia instead of 80’s). I liked the idea of the story better, but not the execution. The characters were somewhat flat and unrelatable. The story jumped around, which made it somewhat confusing (rather than, “Wow! I didn’t see that coming,” it was, “Wait, what?). The ooze with which they entered the virtual world seemed disgusting and unlikely. That said, the language was much better, and after living through a year of a pandemic, it was fascinating to think about a world 3 years into a pandemic and having to relearn how to interact. This was a solid first attempt, and I hope Martin keeps writing, working on plot and character development, because the ideas are there.
42 reviews
July 25, 2021
I have given New Arcadia a five Star rating. I like this book very much the characters were great and easy to like. Most Of the games that were described were in my sons time so I had heard a lot about them and knew what they were. The friendships and the dislike of the characters were fun! The end goal was great. This book reminded me very much of the two Ready Player books but it was not as good in my opinion. Now my son who is 42, LOVED New Arcadia over the Ready series. He wanted to start playing the game immediately! The thought of some day living in New Arcadia is very interesting. This is a Must Read in my opinion! ( I listen to this book on Audible! Excellent people reading!)
Profile Image for Andre Simonsen.
209 reviews45 followers
April 7, 2021
As vozes são o diferencial e o trabalho de efeitos sonoros realmente foi bem feito, mas é basicamente um Ready Player One boomer em um mundo pandêmico com uma realidade virtual nascente.

As referências são meio forçadas e lembram The Big Bang Theory no lugar de algo como Community. Além disso, tem uma mensagem muito anos 80 "anti-drogas"/Nancy Reagan/Leão do Proerd que é absurdamente cringe/vergonha alheia*.

Algumas cenas são legais, a história é gostosinha e as sequências têm potencial, mas não sei se vou ler.


(*E olha que não uso nada e faz mais de ano que não bebo por causa da Pandemia)
Profile Image for Maggie Weiss.
2 reviews4 followers
May 10, 2021
I don’t always listen to audiobooks, or get my books on Audible, but when I do, I like to be sucked into the world of the book, same as if I was reading the book. And boy, does this book deliver! A full cast of voice actors is included in this audio tale, as well as the author himself narrating this roller coaster ride.

In a dystopian world that seems like it’s post COVID, a man who lives to game (and wouldn’t be out of place in the future created by Cline’s Ready Player One series) is selected to beta test an AR beat-em-up game that is more than it seems (spoilers/ plot twist: it’s a simulation to get the human race to interact with each other again in a 1990’s era setting, complete with pagers, boom boxes and fanny packs). The people he meets along the way (both real and NPC) help to round out the cast of characters, and make this world seem more real.

With post apocalyptic raiders, drones, unnamed gamers and hazmat suit-clad employees, this dystopian novel seems so much more real than anything I’ve read in the genre before. And the cliffhanger ending has me waiting on edge for the next installment, and questioning the motives behind the main developer of the game, Dekker, made even more enigmatic by the decision to have him voiced by Critical Role DM Matthew Mercer.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Anastacia.
77 reviews5 followers
June 16, 2021
A great start to a series. John lives in a dystopian world where everyone is stuck inside their homes. Everyone works online, and gets essentials delivered by drone. The company that rules the area, Chum, recruits him to test a VR experience. In that world, it is 1990's and the gameplay is like an old-school brawler. John is named Blaze in the game, and he has to figure out the world and its dangers. He isn't the only player in the game, and Blaze has to reconnect with people.

Great writing, and kept my interest. I'm not really into brawler games, but the world is more than just punching stuff.
Profile Image for Oscar Nevarez Leal.
6 reviews4 followers
July 10, 2021
I really wanted to like this one. If it wasn't because of the amazing effort put on the audible version, great narration, and sound effects this book probably would be a two-star.

The reason I didn't like it, well there are a few of them:

- There's no arc to sustain the story, it is constantly swirling and the minute you think this twist might be the "aha" moment we were waiting for on the plot, turn out to be another irrelevant scene with zero contribution to the narrative.

- Then there's the main character that if I wasn't the nerd that I know I am then couldn't probably relate to, and sometimes even so I found it difficult to understand his motives.
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