4 out of 4 stars
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Are you thirsting for some action and adventure? Then it is time you read a book from the relatively new book genre LitRPG (Literary Role Playing Game). This science fiction and fantasy subgenre allows readers to feel as though they are playing an online game. A good place to start would be by reading More Than a Game by Andrey Vasilyev. This book is the first of a twelve-part Fantasy-LitRPG series.
Harriton Nikiforov, a tabloid journalist, has a daunting new assignment. He is to travel to Fayroll and write a series of articles on the virtual world. In light of his rusty gaming skills, he is not too excited about it. Fayroll is in fact a MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game), one where the player is fully immersed in the game. Players feel and sense things as they would in the real world. To access Fayroll, players enter a capsule or “neural bath” where electrodes are attached to their skulls. Nikiforov creates his online character, “Hagen the Warrior” and must learn to master the game. This involves developing his skills, collecting points, and levelling up. He must do all this while balancing things in his real life, including maintaining a relationship with his crazy girlfriend, Elvira.
I was impressed by the author’s ability to create a whole fantasy world and immerse readers in it! Fayroll has a vast variety of locations - from quaint, little villages to imposing, ancient cities, and everything in between. The characters are your typical fantasy creatures like goblins, elves, mages, knights, and so on. I enjoyed how the author explored the various stereotypes associated with the different types of creatures, and how in some cases he defied them.
Nikiforov is a refreshingly realistic character. Unlike most protagonists, he is nothing out of the ordinary. Initially, he appears to be cynical, self-centred, and lethargic. As the book progresses however, his more appealing qualities are revealed. I enjoyed how the author chose to build up his character gradually. It was when he was completing quests, in the heat of tough situations, or when weighing a decision that I saw who he really is and what he believes in. What I love the most about Nikiforov is his dry sense of humour. The book is written from his point of view, as a result, it drips with sarcasm and sharp-witted jabs that left me chuckling throughout the book.
The authors uncomplicated, fun-to-read writing style made it easy for me to read while retaining an active interest. The book is translated from Russian by Jared Firth. I could not tell that it had been translated as there were no awkward phrases and concepts were communicated eloquently. I appreciated that gaming jargon was kept to a minimum, and that Russian terms were explained in the end notes. Links to these endnotes where provided. Sadly, only about a third of these links actually worked. Which is a pity because those links made navigation to the endnotes and back so much easier.
Overall, More Than a Game is an exciting read that fantasy fans and gamers will enjoy. It is a light read which makes room for younger audiences. I love this book as a young adult, and I probably would have loved it as a teenager too! Without further ado, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I simply cannot wait to read the rest of the books in this series!
More Than a Game
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