More than just a game, Valhalla Online was designed as a permanent repository for the uploaded minds of mortals afraid of death. An artificial afterlife.
Samantha’s world is turned upside-down when she arrives in Valhalla - because as far as she knows, she isn’t like the other people uploaded there.
She isn’t dead. At least...she hopes she isn’t.
Now Sam must solve the mystery of her own abduction - or murder! - while trapped inside a virtual world, cut off from communication with the outside. To do this she must do more than simply survive Valhalla - she needs to win the game!
My Opinion: 285 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
The main character, Samantha, is in the military as an MP but one day finds herself trapped in an expensive full immersion VRMMO. The kind of game people that are dying pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to have their brains uploaded to. Only she wasn’t dying and can’t remember how she got there.
Samantha is an appealing character. She rides a fine line between strong and emotionally appealing. She actively searches for a solution to finding out what happened to her and kicks some butt. Yet, there are also moments when she reveals her worries and concerns about being trapped against her will in this game world.
Combat takes a realistic approach. Shields break during combat. Armor doesn’t protect every area but plate mail protects from arrows better than leather. Group tactics matter. Combat doesn’t have a bunch of damage numbers pop up from each strike. However, the player can bring up a damage log if they want to.
A lot of the game mechanics are like that. They exist but only pop up when the main character actively thinks about them or wants more information.
The game mechanics in the story aren’t anything special. Skills have to be learned by using them or taught by a master but can be upgraded when a player levels. There are the standards stats, health, stamina, and mana bars. The only sort of unique game mechanic are the points players get for killing each other, capturing castles, holding castles, and conquering dungeons. They can use them to upgrade their character or to travel to the next level/map (total of 9) of the game.
The novel can be divided into two parts: 1) MC is introduced to the game world which at first glance seems to be more a capture the Viking castle game. 2) The MC is forced to conquer a dungeon by herself or face an infinite respawns until she does.
It’s the 2nd part of the story that won me over. There is action, magic, and dungeon exploration. Additionally, it explores the emotional toll of being killed repeatedly takes on the MC and her gradual acceptance of world she is now forced to live in.
Score: 7 out of 10.