Saturday, April 8, 2017

My new book reviewed from a guy I know (on Amazon uk)

The growing popularity of Sword Art Online and many stories like it is certainly rapid, however this does not excuse its lack of actual quality in the eyes of myself, Albert Oon (author of the story), and many others. This is the author's attempt at taking the core of Sword Art Online, and improving it in almost every imaginable way. I'd personally say they did an exceptional job, and the many minute and obvious details present deserve commendation. The story follows Kaylen, Kerano and Angel, who are all trapped, body and soul, in a video game (roll credits). They each have 3 lives to beat the game within 3-5 days before they die of thirst/starvation, and losing all 3 lives traps the player in a coma that lasts until the game is finally beaten. The story is told from Kaylen's perspective, and this is a strong aspect of the writing. From this perspective, the reader understands how Kaylen thinks and reacts to his surroundings (with his internal thoughts ranging from serious to utterly perverted). This helps to develop him as a likable protagonist. Despite the parallels to Kirito, he isn't a one man army, and it's made very clear that he would be toast without the help of his allies. Angel and Kerano are also well written, and react how you would expect to Kaylen's actions (for example, Kerano isn't exactly pleased when Kaylen risks the lives of others for his own gain). The development of Angel and Kaylen's relationship is also done decently, and the banter between the 3 is genuinely quite hilarious.
Another detail that deserves praise is how the stakes are set; SAO's Aincrad arc takes place over a span of two years I believe, and this creates numerous plot holes and inconsistencies. For example, if the cause of death is microwaves frying your brain upon disconnecting from the device, how were people transported to hospital without grilled brain on the menu that night? How were the creators not found in those 2 years? How was no ethical hacker able to hack into the game and modify its code in those two years, when superjesus Kirito was able to store an extremely complicated piece of code as an item while scanning the entire game's code in 10 seconds? This story, however, avoids the massive quantity of plot holes by having the cause of death be death by thirst or starvation, meaning transport would be possible without death as a result, and the story taking place over 3-5 days also solves plot issues such as real-world condition of the characters. The story also feels like it was written by someone who has actually played a game in their entire life, as Rule Humanity Online sounds like an actually decent game, while the in-universe games of SAO sound like absolute trash that nobody would play upon putting 5 seconds of thought into it.
One of the best aspects, by far, is the humour and self awareness. The humour is crude and sexual without appearing juvenile, and the characters' reactions to their situations also to the humour. The story is also rather self-aware, and it never tries to have its cake and eat it too, as the story is rarely taken very seriously. The book is also packed with references to other media, such as Dark Souls (my favourite game ever made), and it takes influence from other sources. Of course, it's also full of jabs at Sword Art Online, with one scene in particular completely tearing apart the aforementioned Kirito superjesus hacker moment.
Overall, definitely a recommendation. The potential of Sword Art Online is combined with actually good writing, and the length of time the story lasts (for me a little under 90 minutes, although I read rather fast) justifies the price. So good job Albert, look forward to future projects.

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