This fast-paced collection of novellas and short stories from leading Russian LitRPG authors sheds new light on their signature worlds. New works by Vasily Mahanenko, Andrei Livadny, Alexey Osadchuk, Michael Atamanov, Pavel Kornev and Andrew Novak! Expect your favorite heroes to play second fiddle to an array of new main characters; once-minor plot lines to lead you in unexpected directions; familiar story events to take new surprising turns.
SIX unique writing styles. SEVEN meticulously conceived gaming worlds, two of which come from authors new to LitRPG but who are already experts in the craft of genre fiction.
My Opinion: 162 pages, $3.99, available on Kindle Unlimited.
Right off the bat, be aware that there are ton of ads for novels published by Magic Dome Books at both the beginning and end of the book.
Full disclosure: Magic Dome books gave me an advance copy of the book to review. As usual, I purchased the book when it was officially released.
There are seven stories from four well known Russian LitRPG authors and two newcomers. Any short story collection is hard to review because there are always going to be stories you like and stories you don’t in the set. So, I’ll review them individually.
Shamanic Rites - Vasily Mahanenko (Way of the Shaman series)
Remember when Mahan got his totem? That first shaman trial? Well, Fleita, another character is doing the same thing to get her totem. Lots of hero worship of Mahan but besides totem she gets, nothing really new.
Purgatory - Andrei Livadny (Phantom Server series)
Set before the Phantom Server series, a short story about a character testing the neural implants used to jack into a game where he can create items from his memory through an act of will. It’s also about the character facing his troubled past. It’s a cool story.
Throne World - Michael Atamanov ( Perimeter Defense series)
An account of some of the events from the Perimeter Defense story told from the POV of Likanna, daughter of the main character Crown Prince Georg. While there’s some original story here, it also felt like a review/clip episode of a TV show.
The Best Quest - Andrey Novak (Alterra Series) a new LitRPG series.
Since this is from a new LitRPG series, everything is new. The ‘short story’ actually felt like the first chapter of the book and may be a way the publisher is testing the market.
Set in a future where the real world is a wasteland, Alterra is a game setup by the elites, that even ‘ghetto inhabitants’ are allowed to play, and earn credits that can be turned into real world money. In this short story, Jack the Drifter tries to make a living in Alterra. New LitRPG, totally into it.
Countdown - Pavel Kornev (A standalone LitRPG short story)
The story is set in a fantasy full immersion VR game world. The main character is sent in as a gun for hire/trouble shooter to find a player killer who gruesomely murders his victims making sure they feel every bit of pain before they die. Again, original LitRPG material, enjoyed it.
The Date - Marina and Alexey Osadchuk (Mirror World series)
Events in book 2 of the Mirror World series, told from another character’s perspective. Remember the guys that hire Olgerd to pick up rare resources for them because they want increase their reputation but need a high level resource gatherer? It’s that story plus the real life date two of those characters go on, Count and Irene. It’s cute.
The Story of a Raid - Vasily Mahanenko (The Galactogon series)
If you’ve been wanted more from the Galactogon series, this is likely the closest you’re going to get until Vasily finishes writing the Dark Paladin series.
The story of the ship Alexandria and the player Marina as they go on a raid in the game. This is a standalone story set in the Galactogon game world. Fun to dip my toes into this world again.
So, I like five out of the seven stories in the collection. You may like more of fewer of these short stories depending on how you feel about their larger series.