Review 3 – Pangea Online – Book 2 – Magic and Mayhem

An interesting one from the guys.

Book link to US –

Review 1

 

To be honest I enjoyed this book, it wasn’t a stand out something completely different but it was a good solid read. It ticked all my boxes but didn’t add a ton extra on top. The book starts in a first person shooter simulation packed with action, it gives you a lead into the main character and ties back into the end of book 1. You see from the very beginning the hardships the MC has gone through as well as his thought process on where he currently is. He wants a better life for all his friends and those that are impoverished, he wants everyone to be able to enjoy the freedoms he has recently discovered. Throughout the book you see him dig deeper and even get upset over the things that a large portion of the population is being forced to endure.

The MC feels human and you feel compelled to want him and his friends to succeed. The secondary characters play into his strengths and weaknesses well, the book really revolves around a group of friends in the RL world and 1 of the 2 game worlds, and then a plethora of NPCS.

The unique thing about this book that I haven’t seen in others is that there is really 3 worlds in play, a Real World, a VR world, and a prototype Full immersion world. The full immersion world is the one with the most world building as he is the first player to ever join, the goal you are approached with is let’s see if the game is viable and how much of the game will change when a player is introduced, the AI is set to morph the game to the decisions of the players. This is well done but during this time he doesn’t forget where he came from, what his goals in the real world are or his time and friends in the VR world. He does a good job balancing the three. My biggest gripe is there was no real protagonist, he does “side quests” in the VR world only one really plays a factor in the overarching story plot. He sticks to his guns and his ideals in the real world. But in the full immersion game world is really where you see this character come to light.

At the end of the book you do find out the ultimate importance of the game world and I think it is a neat twist, I wish that there would have been more of a lead up to the revelation of why it was created. I feel like that is what would have made the game great, give the book it’s true protagonist from the beginning, lead the reader to root for the characters even if only 1 of the secondary characters really knows what is going on. The magic system and how they differ between the two games is well detailed, the games themselves are detailed enough you never forget which he is in.

The flow and story line were well done, the characters were believable, the plot was linear and easy to follow. A well written and well done gamelit, light on the stats but heavy on game world and world building. I look forward to more from this author and will continue to read this series as the next is released. I do feel with about 20-30k more words and depth added to the overall plot and reasons behind what they were doing this book would have jumped up to a 7.5-8 for me from a 7. It felt a little rushed at the end and the reasons for the safety risk they were taking was not properly described.

This book comes in at a 7.0/10

Review 2

Started off well, but couldn’t face it after a couple of chapters. DNF

Review 3

It’s nice when simplicity builds into authenticity and this book does exactly that. With a slow building MC and an insight in build progression that relies on more than just “I have the money so I can build it”.

It’s a very middle ground book that doesn’t confuse the reader with overly in-depth stats that can cause some people to shy away, instead, it’s very much open, aware and fully explained in items as well as in stats. The pacing follows a great model that only adds to this books charm and the story evolves over a very enjoyable period.

As with any book, there are errors, however, the main one being the spelling of one of the MC’s main group. From Kindra to Kendra this spelling mistake is repeated a lot and continues from the 1st third of the book right the way through to the end which is disappointing and for sticklers of grammar it can at times distract from the main story and as such I ended up skipping her name entirely and just deciding to call her Kendra.

Apart from that is quite riveting and you can see the author has taken a heavy influence from Lions Quest which actually is not a bad thing as that series has stalled somewhat and it fills a nice void.

Overall as it’s singular series I give it 8/10 for its realism, cast of characters and a sense of true leveling.

Review 4

I don’t have a lot to say. It felt a little like nothing really happened. There was little conflict and it honestly felt like there was no real motivation behind our protagonists actions.

In book 1, Esil lays it all on the line in a desperate attempt to save his friends mom. He pushes beyond his limits, reaching beyond his abilities because he knows that he is her last hope. In this book, Esil kinda meanders around. He’s alpha testing new VR full immersion tech and he still plays his old VR game but it feels very casual. While this may not bother everyone, I found myself slowly losing interest. The final “twist” at the end of the book explains some things that have gone on earlier on but for the most part, it felt like it was too late. The end of the book felt a bit rushed.

The world building was great. Rowland had 3 worlds to maintain and develop and he did a phenomenal job. When the second game was introduced I worried about feeling overlap between two games but each game felt unique.

I enjoyed the GameLit aspect of the book. I was not drowned in stat tables or skill descriptions for which I am eternally grateful. However, the direction the story took just did not hold my interest at all.

No Rating is given by the reviewer.

Reviewer 5 – Taking a break for personal reasons.

If anyone else would like to join us, send me a message, thanks.

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