L.I.F.E. Begins (Book 1 - Complete)
- Sexual Content
Humanity tried to fix the planet, but in their ignorance, forced humanity as a whole to retreat underground instead. In the future, and stuck with a life as boring as it could possibly be; Jack retreats to the virtual world his great-great grandfather had designed. L.I.F.E., or the Latent Integrated Fantasy Experience, was the best thing to hit the market... 200 years ago. Jack was determined to find that one game that would be the diamond in the rough; the one that every gamer searched for. A game you could actually live for. What he found was a game he would die for.
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Like the other review, it's still early days for the story so I would be making things up if I tried to fill in an advanced review right now.
I could gush about a lot of things in this story, but the main point I want to convey is that this is NOT the generic sci-fi VRMMO story you might think it is at first glance. The first 3 chapters are fairly slow in establishing who our main character is and why he's the best person for his job.
However, what's supposed to be a simple trip to his childhood home to find his dad's old files quicky builds tension and hints that many parts of this society are not as stable as they seem, and that a lot of intrigue is coming. We haven't even gotten to the VRMMO part yet.
You should read a few chapters, I guarantee you'll want to read more.
This is definitely worth a read.
Don't be misled by the description. Through the completion of book 1, the "virtual game" aspect is virtually non-existant (no pun intended). So don't go into this thinking it's GameLit or LitRPG. Perhaps it will be incorporated later on, but for what has been published, it's not part of the plot.
The story concept is good. It's pretty cyberpunk. Action, mystery, drama, romance. It's all there in certain quantities.
The charaters are well written. Some of the initial shyness of some of the female characters seems off to me. It reminds me of how teenage girls age in Japanese literature. It's nowhere near that bad, but it does remind me enough of that.
Some spoilers ahead. You have been warned.
As for the MC... He's pretty much a "Gary Stu" (male version of a Mary Sue). He's super smart, very wealthy, and fairly powerful (through connections). He's not perfect, but close to it. In a world where most people seem starved for currency, he has more than he can ever spend. His personality seems odd. He has no problem being all 'alpha', and doesn't take shit from people. But when it comes to women in his life, he seems to have no problems letting them treat him... not 'bad', but maybe 'less than he should'. Everything with Sandra proves that. His tiff with Amanda after his injury reinforces that idea. He was injured, and lost his ability to communicate with her, and nobody else could communicate with her about it, and they even told her that, but she still acted like a spoiled child. And Jack had to apologize. I understand why Amanda was upset, but for being his personal AI for so long, her acts seemed like a big betrayal. He was gravely injured, turned into a cyborg (something he never wanted to happen), lost his most precious memories of his mother, and learned of the betrayal of the woman he loves. I think Amanda could have cut him a lot of slack. But she didn't. And that earlly hurts my opinion of both characters.
Amanda is a super powerful AI that can seem to do almost anything he needs. He needs something, she takes care of it. Virtually anything. Jack has no problems antagonizing people, because he knows he's pretty much protected from consequences (which also seems odd to me when he acts so passive to women in his life sometimes).
And this makes the endling so odd. He's clearly a very valuable person, that has contributed a great deal to the System, but the 'higher ups' had no problems getting rid of him. All the events of the story are tied together very nicely at the end, but for the time being, it just seems a bit off.
And the entire political system wasn't very well defined. The readers are left to try to figure it out, but there just isn't enough info. The 'higher ups' are apparently the bureaucracy. There's mention of a Council, but it's not explained. Are they the higher ups? Why are battles pre-arranged between different Caverns? Since the victor is awared some kind of reward for winning, there has to be some higher political power governing all the Caverns. How could Jack have been imprisoned indefinitely if he was in the military by the higher up (where the System wouldn't have been involved), but as a civilian, he was untouchable (and was even afforded greater protections by the System).
I have so many questions! I'm hoping the future books will answer some of these.
The story is good enough for 4,5 stars. But 18 chapters in and I haven't seen the faintest hint of Litrpg, false advertatizing as far as I'm concerned. Therefore I've deducted a star.
The author would be better served by rewriting the synopsis to reflect the actual story and not make it seem like the game has any sort of significance besides as a sort of mcguffin that sets the plot moving. The mystery about the game may have relevance later on, and the game itself might appear as Litrpg.
Genre conventions have begun to be established and readers of the genre do expect to see the game mechanics relatively shortly after beginnig the story.
Otherwise a nice cybepunkish scifi that I would recomend, it simply isn't what's said on the tin and that has a tendency to make me irritated.
The author deserves congratulations. Not only is he a very competent writer but his imagination is a cut above the norm for RRL.
The story is set in one of the most original post-apocalyptic scenarios I’ve encountered, and the protagonist is a fascinating blend of opposites: dutiful antiheroes are rare, socially adept loners even more rare. Add to those, military leadership combined with being an IT guy. Sys admins everywhere rejoice — this protagonist shows how awesome you are.
Needless to say, I wait impatiently for each new episode ... but please, esteemed author, don’t rush. Quality is better than frequency. You have the balance just about right.
This is the only story I've ever given a max 5/5's. And I've read a LOT of stories on here. The characters feel like real people. They feel alive.
Style: I love the way the author writes their characters. I came for the game element, and I don't have the slightest care about it now. It could happen 20,000 chapters from now and that'd be fine with me, should I hear more of their lives.
Story: at the current date (April 2nd, 2018) there has been no VRFI game, but the plot is definitely heading in that direction.
Grammar: mostly perfect, and when errors are pointed out the author does fix them. I hope I don't have to state just how rare that is, and that it shows just how much they care about their story.
Characters: hands down, the most lifelike characters I've read on this site.
TL;DR: came for game, stayed for the characters. They feel alive. 99/100 pts.
It's only chapter 5, so I don't feel I can give you the kind of review you deserve untill there are more chapters. When there are more, and if you continue to impress me I'll change this and give you my full thoughts. But right now, I just want you to get more readers, because this book is amazing and needs more readers. You have taught me about multiple characters, given me an entire world view and world building, made me care about the plot, and there hasn't even been much going on yet. You're able to make the amazing seem mundane in this world, which should be the goal of all sci-fi fantasy writers. Making things that would be amazing to a modern day person, seem mundane. This makes the mundane seem amazing, which in turn holds your readers attention during the slow parts without becoming boring or uninteresting because we just enjoy reading about the world and don't need constant action or plot twists to keep us interested. Keep up the good work, and I can't wait till I can come back and give you a full review.
Let me start this review by saying the tags are a bit misleading. I started to read this story entirely because of the Litrpg tag. Thrity chapters in and there is no real litrpg elements. That being said the story is wonderful. My initial disappointment with the lack of rpg elements was quickly forgotten as I got into the story. I am quite enjoying the plot and the world as a whole. The way that this author writes is captivating and quite expressive. If there were any grammar issues they were so minor that I did not notice. The only slight downpoint for the entire story falls into the characters, specifically the female characters interacting with the main character. There only like one or two female characters in the whole story that are not either getting into the MC's pants or have already gotten into his pants. Nearly every interation that is made between the main character and females that are even total strangers is hyper sexualized. The parts where this happened draw me so far out of the story that I am honestly flabbergasted. A vast majority of the sex scenes could be completely cut out of the story without affecting the story in any way. In fact it would actually better even out the pacing. Sex for sex's sake does not a good story make. That being said the story is still fantastic and well worth your time. The only thing keeping this story from a perfect score in my oppinion is the hypersexualized female characters.
I enjoyed the story, it was neat, and its characters felt realistic. But, I really don't like the fact that you seem to have based everything around this game, but it really doesn't get more than a few chapters worth of time. It seems that it was just a hook, a way to lure people in, except its in the title, the description. Yet there is almost no mention of L.I.F.E other than a few chapters of playtesting.
Current chapter 43:
Not the best story I ever read but defiantly up there.
I don't think this should be rated like a typical royalroads story but more like a book.
It is engaging and feels fresh but that could be because I have been reading my favs for a long time.
Try it if you can stomach some very light NTR.
I really hate NTR but this plays it nicely so far.
// Slow paced progess but endearing chars. Main story seems to stand still.
So, claims to be a litrpg, since that's what people come to RR to read. However, there is no litrpg elements in the book at all. This is a straight hero is a god and all women want to bang him story; except it doesn't really have any sex either. This whole book is a tease that doesn't go anywhere or really do anything. Myrthan couldn't save this book.