When a mysterious Player Killer with the ability to cause his victims to die in real life appears in the fully immersive massive multi-player online roleplaying game (MMORPG) Stalwart Souls Online, administrators shut down the game servers to find the criminal.
What they didn't count on was the system being hijacked. Stalwart Souls Online is rebooted, a new patch applied. All players online at that time revert back to Trainee level, their hard work erased. They soon discover that the log out function has been disabled, and that that isn't the only thing that has changed in the game...
In the midst of this is someone who must cope and survive in this updated RPG world while avoiding becoming the Player Killer's next target. Roy will face dark dungeons, go on adventures, compete in player versus player battles, navigate the difficulties of guild politics, and learn a more realistic definition of good and evil.
The Player Killer’s Mark is the first book of the Stalwart Souls Online fantasy LitRPG series.
My Opinion: Written by Kaye Fairburn; 281 pages, $5.99 and available on Kindle Unlimited.
I had a very hard time staying interested in the story. The characters felt flat and I wasn’t emotionally invested in anyone. The story also suffers from comparison to Sword Art Online which has an almost identical premise of being trapped in a VR world where death in the game means death in real life. This story isn’t a copy of Sword Art Online but because the premise is so similar I found myself comparing it to that story, to the detriment of Stalwart Souls Online.
In Swort Art Online the guy who takes over the game and traps everyone immediately sets a goal for everyone to accomplish if they want to escape, get to floor 100 and defeat the boss. That doesn’t happen here. With the exception of the GM, players can’t kill each other. Only the environment/monsters, so there isn’t really any reason for anyone to leave the starter village.
I liked the story more when it wasn’t trying to be like Sword Art Online. The politics of the North Star Guild, the run through the Dark Forest Dungeon, the brawler character class.
Score: 5 out of 10.