Runner has a problem. He and 499,000 men and women are trapped in a game. He also just happens to be the only person from IT who could log everyone out safely. And he doesn't remember his password.
He, like everyone else in this nightmare, had their memories scrambled or lost in the process of being loaded into the game. A single garbled message is his only clue on how to save everyone.
The problem is that whoever loaded them into the game, loaded their minds completely. If they die, their brain gets wiped.
Now it's time for Runner to flex his skills as a power gaming min maxer and see what he can do. Because every time he levels, he might gain the memory of the password. Time to go Hardcore.
My Opinion: I had to push my way through the beginning of the novel but I’m glad I did. It’s really good. I enjoyed the fights and use of gaming tactics and common MMO exploits to win fights or overcome difficult situations.
The game world the characters are trapped in is describes as being realistic with the AI governing NPCs being able to dedicate more processing power to them as needed to develop more realistic personalities. This explains how the NPCs can have personalities just like ‘real’ players and creates a sense of immersion for the reader.
Where I had issues in the beginning is how the main character (MC) threw out so many gaming terms while talking to the NPCs that it sort of ruined that anticipated immersion. However, once I pushed past that I realized the author had to create the contrast between how the MC viewed the game world and it’s inhabitants in the beginning and the end of the story. Once I got past the transition period where the MC treated the world and NPCs as if they were just people and not programs I enjoyed the story immensely. I look forward to more novels in the series.
Update: The author has come out with a revised and professionally edited 2nd version of the story. The changes smooth out a lot of the rough patches in the story and the overall flow of the novel is improved greatly. If you already bought the novel you should get an automatic update with the revisions.
Score: 7 out of 10