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Alterworld by D. Rus


by D. Rus

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Things I liked about Alter World:

Fascinating concept: Spend too long playing in a virtual reality capsule and you might just find yourself a permanent resident in an online game. The phenomenon is still mysterious, but it appears to grant you immortality in the game. I don’t want to give away spoilers, but the limits seem to be as endless as your imagination. It’s also a very appealing idea in some ways, I know one person who’d love to go perma just because he could game forever.

It’s a book set in a game! How awesome is that? This book easily blends reality with the sci-fi idea of playing MMORPGs in full virtual reality, and the fantasy setting of Alter World itself. From the minimal research I did after reading this, I discovered that Mr. Rus is widely credited as having started an entire sub-genre with this series. He even won an award for this book.

A different voice: These books were originally written in Russian, and the first three have been translated into English. This shows in the book, and it’s refreshing to read.

Things I Didn’t like:

God-moded main character: This is, funnily enough, an RPG term rather than a literary one. I did a fair share of D&D style role-play online, and one of the biggest fauz pas is to create, or role-play, a character in such a way that it’s practically invincible. I am, admittedly, not the greatest gamer, so perhaps there’s truth to the way this book was written, but I felt a tad disappointed when I hit the halfway point and realised pretty much everything this guy tried was going to work out for him.

Side characters of convenience: On the other side of the coin, we have a cast of characters that seem to exist only for the author’s whim. Despite some interesting back-stories, these people lack depth and drive. Their influence on the plot often felt contrived rather than a result of an individual’s nature.

Overall, I find this a hard one to call. The characters are a major flaw in the story, but the sheer ingenuity behind the concept carries you. You want to see what this world has to offer its perma players, and there are some surprises near the end in that regard.
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  ChaosCaitlin | May 23, 2017 |
The translation from Russian is a little rough and it's not really a complete book (it ends in a huge cliffhanger without really resolving the central plot), but I'm a sucker for VR MMORPGs. ( )
  oswallt | Nov 25, 2016 |
My original AlterWorld audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

After reading the synopsis of this audiobook I was marginally interested in giving it a listen. Then I read the title of a review on Audible of which the title was this, “Yes that’s right better then Ready player one”. To me. that was a pretty bold statement as I adored Ready Player One. For a book to be better than that is huge.

The author D. Rus, is from Russia so much of the geographical comparisons are directed to that end. From what I could tell, it is told in present day, or the near future. There is a MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role playing game), something akin to World of Warcraft, except the player can play the game in these full immersion capsules. That allows the player to literally be alive in the game. They can feel pain, actually swing their swords at the enemy, etc. Sounds pretty awesome to this nerd! Here is the really interesting part. Player that play in the capsules consistently for too long have a high probability of going “perma effect” within the game. What this means is that your mind and conciseness become digitized and only exist in the game. At this point it does not matter what happens to your body, it can die and you will continue to live in the digital AlterWorld.

Our protagonist is Max, who is diagnosed with a terminal illness. His only chance of living past the next month is to go perma in AlterWorld. So, of course, that is what he sets out to do.

Very geeky gaming explanations or the intricacies of AlterWorld were included, because Max was not a gamer and we learn as he does, well mostly. From creating an avatar, his digital character, to the way the HUD (Heads up display) works, to getting and choosing quests.

Then it ends when Max is in immediate peril and I had to start listening to the next book right away.

Yes, I did gloss over much of the actual story in this review. I did not want to chance giving anything away. Amazing story. Plain and simple.

I was thoroughly entranced by the Alterworld and by the situations Max gets himself into and the other characters. If you are a gaming and or fantasy nerd like me. You will love this audiobook. Do your self a favor and bu them all right now.

Michael Goldstrom was a perfect choice to bring this audiobook to life. I cannot imagine, even Wil Wheaton, could do a better job with this amazing story. He was able to make all of the explanations of the game content seem so natural. Good characterizations, where he really shines is with the pacing fluctuations. Everything I look for in a good narrator performance Goldstrom excelled at.

Audiobook purchased for review by ABR. ( )
  audiobibliophile | Dec 31, 2015 |
This book was great, but I'm still scratching my head over how it managed it. This was more than just a story about someone immersing themselves permanently in an MMO (online game). It spent lots of time dealing with the mechanics of that world and the details of items, buffs, stats and other game related stuff. That's a recipe for a really dull book... but somehow the author made it interesting, fascinating even.

The characters are vivid and well developed. The virtual world feels cohesive and real, with glimpses of a much darker side showing through from time to time. The only downside I can see is that it might not appeal to true non-gamers. While I'm not hooked on MMOs I have played quite a few and I've been a gamer for far too many years so most of the terminology was familiar to me. That said, even if you aren't into games I think this is well worth checking out.

( )
  Simon_Goodson | Feb 6, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0990707903, Paperback)

cation Date: July 18, 2014 A new pandemic - the perma effect - has taken over Earth of the near future. Whenever you play your favorite online game, beware: your mind might merge with the virtual world and dump its comatose host. Woe be to those stuck forever in Tetris! And still they're the lucky ones compared to those burning alive eternally within the scorched hulls of tank simulators. But some unfortunates - the handicapped and the terminally ill, shell-shocked army vets, wronged crime victims and other society misfits - choose to flee real life willingly, escaping to the limitless world of online sword and sorcery MMORPGs. Once a seasoned gamer and now a terminal cancer patient, Max grasps at this final chance to preserve his life and identity. So he goes for it - goes for the promise of immortality shared with a few trusty friends and the woman he loves. Together they roam the roads of AlterWorld and sample its agony and ecstasy born of absolute freedom.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:32 -0400)

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