Esme’s Indie Highlights/SPFBO: Fantasy Online by Harmon Cooper

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This was part of Ventureadlaxre’s grouping and has since been eliminated, but it received praise  in the review – https://ventureadlaxre.com/2017/07/19/spfbo-round-three-the-reckoning/


Plot:

Ryuk is a young teenager living in Japan, near or in Tokyo. In the start of the book he’s playing an online mmorpg with his friend Tamana, and when they sign off and head home she seems to commit suicide by jumping in front of a train.

Soon thereafter Ryuk suffers from hallucinations thinking that npc’s from the game have invaded his apartment. Ryuk’s android looks into reports about the game, and it seems that players that “reset” are dying in alarming numbers, all in pretty strange ways.

In this game, players can be rpgs, or Reborn players, meaning after they die they can reappear in the video game and live out a second life in the digital world. Ryuk wants to find Tamana in-game to ask her what happened and to try and figure out what’s going on with resetters.

However, Tamana’s player has been kidnapped and he has to get her back, but she’s been kidnapped by members of an elite guild and it won’t be easy to get her back. In this game resetters don’t have access to any resources they may have had before they reset, essentially putting them back at absolute zero.

The story follows him and a few friends trying to get Tamana back, and figure out what’s going on.


Character:

Ryuk – he’s the main character and outside of a couple interlude chapters from his brothers POV, it’s all from Ryuks POV. He’s a nice person, he’s fairly easy to relate to, and he’s determined to find out what happened to his friend. He’s a fairly typical teenager with a crush, who has to worry about grades, and dealing with a sibling he doesn’t like.

There’s a goblin named Hiccup who’s very, very, very lewd. He farts himself awake, refers to his genitals a fair amount,(usually calling it his chalupa), picks his nose, scratches his ass, loves prostitutes and loves to *try* and curse. Goblins have been programmed so they can’t technically curse, so Hiccup uses the word Mitherfickers as a substitute. Everyone else can curse, so this is not a ‘clean’ book, fuck shows up a lot.

Ryuk doesn’t get along with his brother, his brother is a piece of shit who’s so easy to hate. He’s a crime lord of the Yakuza and is despicable in every way. He’s violent and cruel towards his brother, he’s disrespectful to those around him, he’s arrogant and extremely chauvinistic – reading even his short interlude chapters were grating.


World Building:

From what it sounds like the game has been around for a long time, the year is around 2070 and it’s normal to have VR sets – it’s not something that sounded like only the very rich could have.

Their family has an android butler/servant kind of person who seems to look out for Ryuks best interest. He was originally assigned as protection for Ryuk, but since his older brother is becoming more and more violent towards him, the android is putting more effort into assuring Ryuk can take care of himself.

Tamana died in real life, but she can live on in the video game – people who have died and come back to live in-game are referred to as Reborn players, and it seems to be fairly common.

While you’re in the game you still experience pain, but it’s on a reduced scale.

The guilds within game seem to be rather cutthroat, and if you decide to redo or reset your character, you become cut off from your former guild, leaving you without resources or friends – forcing you to start over entirely.


Pacing/Prose/Tone:

The book had a lot of meta-humor and was very ‘modern’ in its dialogue and style. There was a lot of humor in the book and a lot of references to stuff. The tone was overall light and adventurous. There was actually a ton of simile and metaphor in the book, but it was coming mostly from the goblin, and none of it was very poetic – lots of toilet humor turns of phrase.


Audience:

  • For people who like litrpg
  • For people who enjoy an underdog story
  • For people who like traditional fantasy races, gnomes, elves, dwarves, goblins etc
  • For people who like action filled books
  • For people who like magic filled books
  • For people who like urban fantasy
  • For people who like shorter faster-paced books
  • For people who like south park kind of humor

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