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AlterWorld Audiobook

AlterWorld: Play to Live, Book 1

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Publisher's Summary

A new pandemic - the perma effect - has taken over Earth of the near future. Whenever you play your favorite online game, beware: your mind might merge with the virtual world and dump its comatose host. Woe be to those stuck forever in Tetris! And still they're the lucky ones compared to those burning alive eternally within the scorched hulls of tank simulators. But some unfortunates - the handicapped and the terminally ill, shell-shocked army vets, wronged crime victims and other society misfits - choose to flee real life willingly, escaping to the limitless world of online sword and sorcery MMORPGs. Once a seasoned gamer and now a terminal cancer patient, Max grasps at this final chance to preserve his life and identity. So he goes for it - goes for the promise of immortality shared with a few trusty friends and the woman he loves. Together they roam the roads of AlterWorld and sample its agony and ecstasy born of absolute freedom.

©2014 D. Rus (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (49 )
5 star
 (37)
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3 star
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4.5 (46 )
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3 star
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Story
4.7 (46 )
5 star
 (34)
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Performance
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  •  
    Tony England 14/01/2016
    Tony England 14/01/2016 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "surprise new genre for me mmorpg..."

    i loved this book, very original and for someone that played warcraft for years , this really took me back. The other books are also well worth the read.
    it narrated well and the action just keeps on coming. not a book for kids as there is swaring f words so buyer beware, but for adults its a ripping yarn. highly reccomend

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John 26/06/2016
    John 26/06/2016 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Enjoyable but lacking"

    This book which describes the common gamer fantasy of living within a game world is strangely compelling despite its flaws. Narrated very well by Michael Goldstrom, it suffers from a somewhat two dimensional story that could have been so much more if interactions between the game world and real life could have been expanded. In the end it is almost just a description of someone playing a game. Perhaps later books on the series will expand on the potential.

    I also have to note that the casual sexism in this book is very off putting. The male lead picks up a girl who follows him around, doting on him, pleasing him in the bedroom in very teenage-male-fantasy ways and generally just acting as a subsidiary to him rather than being a fully-fledged character in her own right. Another missed opportunity.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 23/11/2016 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "Going to return this"

    The sexism in this book is ridiculous, women are viewed as objects and it's a shame because the female lead has such an interesting background. However, I think the sexism came from the fact that this entire book is based on immature teenage boy fantasies, therefore the sexism probably wasn't meant to be offensive.

    The main character is far too lucky, I cannot feel the tension in the battles. Also he was supposed to be in his early 30s but I kept thinking he's only in his late teens or early 20s. The author failed to portray his maturity and intelligence, would be better to make him younger.

    There are some good aspects, the idea of being in a game world and that his pet became more "alive". The blurred line between the light and dark is a nice touch and so does the gaming experience. The first few hours are quite entertaining but soon the main character became an almost unstoppable player.

    The narrator is quite good, made this book easier to listen to.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    david Swindon, UK 24/02/2017
    david Swindon, UK 24/02/2017

    D Hayden

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    "Great RPG story!"

    If you're even remotely into role playing games, particularly online MMO's this story is right up your street!

    It's a great adaptation of everything I love about MMORPGs in a story. Gives me my gaming fix whilst I'm driving for real world stuff!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    steven Stoke on Trent, United Kingdom 16/02/2017
    steven Stoke on Trent, United Kingdom 16/02/2017 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A great series opener"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Others are also tackling the game life crossover genre, but this is especially well done. If you like the subject, its sure to have your inner 'geek' purring with pleasure. I purchased the first book, got books 2+3 straight away and books 4 to 7 within a week. Just a slight caution, the first 3 books are solid work, then the care and fresh idea's slow down. Look at the book lengths ... rushing them out? Pressure from the publisher after book 3? I could see a trend there :/ That being said, do I recommend them?
    Yes I do. Great fun to be had, but please Mr D. Rus, if you are the type of author that reads poorly written reviews, please take your own sweet time with your next book :)
    (Not as long as Patrick Rothfuss though lol)


    What did you like best about this story?


    Good balance of the geek Vs story. By this I mean it caters for old school gamers and the non gamer sci-fi readership.


    What does Michael Goldstrom bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Well narrated by Michael Goldstrom, Michael is no 'Rupert Degas', but who is?


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made me smile a few times, from a miserable old git, that's good enough.


    Any additional comments?

    Additional for readers that remember the late 70's to early 90's - If you like the game immersion theme and haven't yet read 'Ready Player One', give your self a real treat :)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    despie 29/01/2017
    despie 29/01/2017 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great book"

    It's been a while since I found an other who can write great fantasy, this author is up there with R A Salvatore and the other greats.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sanu Satheesababu 28/08/2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great story"

    I want expecting much, after a slow start I really got into it. Great book if you are an mmo fan or just like this genre

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Steven
    OPELIKA, AL, United States
    20/11/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One Of The Best Books I Have"

    (I am not going to give a synopsis of the story because you can look at the description and the other review and get some good ones)
    These days it takes a lot to get me to really rave about a book. I have over 400 books in my audible library and I have listened to almost all of them because I have a long commute almost every day. I bought this book on a whim, not expecting much out of the idea of real life mixing with a video game. I have read books before where a human mind gets trapped in a video game, or where people bring video games into real life, and other compounds of the two. This book, however, surpassed them all.
    I have some background playing video games. I am a bit of a gamer now (on steam) and played World of Warcraft as a teenager for a couple of months before I realized that it was sucking my life away. But I have never forgotten that time and the fun that I had on that MMORPG, going on raids with other players, leveling up my character, joining a clan and deciding which stats I wanted.
    As such, the my inner nerd had a nerdgasam about an hour into this book and I haven't looked back since.
    There was a time, about three hours in, that I thought that although this was a fun book, it was not going to be very deep as far as themes and character development. I couldn't have been more wrong. The book and the series that follows (I am on book three right now) deal with some very heavy themes indeed, from life and death, to government involvement in personal life, to revenge, to rape, to the concept of eternity, to slavery, to greed, to what makes things right or wrong... The list goes on and on. It has been a while since I listened to a book that did such a good job of involving deep ideas while still moving the story forward in an such an interesting way. The main character also kept my interest all of the way through while continuing to change and grow as a person and as a game character.
    The narrator for this book is also excellent.
    One other thing: I figured out part way through that this book was translated form Russian to English. The translation is flawless however, as can be seen from the fact that I didn't even realize it for quite some time.

    80 of 95 people found this review helpful
  • Jim "The Impatient"
    Springfield, MO, United States
    25/02/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "MY INNER PIG"

    STRENGTH VS INTELLIGENCE
    Let me start with what I like, as I was entertained, but my list of problems are long. The possibility of being able to imprint your mind into a game is intriguing. Being able to cheat death also intriguing. At times I wanted to quit listening and go play a game. Figuring out how the game worked was interesting and for the first half of the game I was at five star level. I also liked that this player chose to have an intelligent player, figuring the majority of players would go for strength. It is weird that they put a sword on the cover of the book, as this player never uses one. I also like books by foreign authors, just so I can get a feel for their culture. What it would be like to live in a game and not be able to leave is probably what carries this whole story.

    MY STOMACH THINKS MY THROATS CUT
    I gave Nick from Ga. a helpful vote as he hits the nail on the head. I am an old man, so I am not as much in to gaming as the generation of my kids, but I do know enough. I know that these games are set up for it to take you awhile to learn how to play. That you are going to die several times trying to figure the game out. I can only recall this character dying once. In hours, he is levels above players who have been at the game for weeks. The story could have been better with more conflict and had the main character had a harder time of it. It shows a weakness in the author's abilities that he made it so easy. He also makes a big deal out of the fact that he did not check this world out too carefully before he decided to make it his world for eternity. He is an experienced gamer and he has played several games, but when he is going to pick a game for life, it is done without thought. Since it was done this way and he points it out, I was expecting this to bite him on the butt, sometime in the game, but nothing came of it. I also want to point out that while at times I wanted to play a game, at other times it was like watching your older brother play Nintendo, but not let you play. I got tired of this is worth so many points and adds this to my several abilities, all spelled out specifically. Take all this out and the book is two thirds smaller.

    THE GIRL
    It must be a cultural thing, as I ran into it, reading another Sci-fi Russian novel, but women never play a role in the book or as in this one they are belittled. Even though you can mold your character anyway you want, you can even pick your sex, the main female character is a wisp of a thing. She is his girlfriend and he often refers to her as THE GIRL. Her are some of the quotes referring to women, including his girlfriend. NOTHING LIKE A TRINKET TO MAKE A GIRL HAPPY. WOMEN AND THIER LOGIC. EVEN TALLIA DECIDED NOT TO BE A DIVA. ALL WOMEN WERE THE SAME, YOU OFFERED THEM A HAND THEY TOOK AN ARM. WHAT A CHILD SHE WAS. When he first meets her, he is considered the romantic hero, cause while everyone else is gifting her items that will help her in the game, he gifts her worthless flowers, cause girls prefer flowers over anything useful.

    For the most part I was engaged and entertained. With all it's faults if book two goes on sale, I will purchase it. Towards the end it looks like the story is going to turn dark, but if he glides through the game as easily as he did book one, I will not go further in the series.

    If you are not familiar with games, than you will not enjoy this book. There are a lot of game acronyms and familiarity with gaming expected.


    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • D
    corona, ca United States
    01/12/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Gaming Ever-After"

    As an old time gamer dating back to the days of my first quest on my eight bit Nintendo Entertainment System playing as Link in The Legend of Zelda I really enjoy the latest books that try and capture that same adventurous feeling and take gaming to another dimension. I thoroughly enjoyed Ernest Cline’s “Ready Player One,” but was disappointed by his second book “Armada,” in that it wasn’t the immersion into the gaming world that was RPO. I wanted to find another book with the ability to follow along with a character that was totally immersed into his virtual world and become one with him on his quest. Then I found not just a book but a series called, “Play to Live”
    . In this first book “Alter World,” we meet a terminal cancer patient, Max, who is looking for an alternative from the fate that would normally await him. What he finds is a vivid digital world that kept my ears glued to every word. This is a must listen for anyone that likes this genre.
    D Rus is a Russian born writer and his books are translated into English; I believe it makes some of the references using his culture perspective a more interesting story.
    The narration by Michael Goldstrom is terrific.

    46 of 58 people found this review helpful
  • James
    Powderly, KY, United States
    02/12/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Only if you like RPG"
    Any additional comments?

    I can't really say I liked or didn't like this book. I have never been a fan of RPG games and did not find the process of living forever in this fashion entertaining or intriguing. In my opinion this is similar to watching You Tube videos of other people playing games. Not a bad idea, just not my cup of tea.

    12 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • LINCOLN
    LOS ANGELES, CA United States
    27/05/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Gaming gone boring"
    Where does AlterWorld rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Very low.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    If I hear the phrase "my inner greedy pig" one more time......the author must love that phrase since I heard it about 25X during the reading. It really got old after the first 10.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is repetitive, slow and boring. It felt like grinding during a gaming session. Also this book is definitely NOT for non gamers. Many references and storyline elements( like tech trees) are straight out of gaming references( I had to look some up Id forgotten, like DOT) I barely finished the book; not really caring about any of the characters. So. no sequal for me.

    27 of 37 people found this review helpful
  • Charles
    USA
    05/03/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Highly Entertaining"

    I think it needs to be stated, outright, that you will think this is a significantly better book if you have had gaming experience, preferably in the MMORPG flavor. Confessing my inner geek, I have played Warcraft since it first launched- this book is *right* up my alley. Anyone who has played RPGs will, without question, see themselves reflected in these chapters.

    That being said, it is still high quality entertainment and story, even if you aren't in the category of supergeek with a multiple level 100s in all purple. Originally written in Russian and flawlessly translated, it is not a one dimensional story. It addresses many of the fundamental aspects of life- just as the game(s) do. Games are a reflection not only of their creators, but their players. As such they are a perfect analogous microcosm of real life projected onto a fantasy/adventure world.

    Rus captures this quite beautifully. I can say that the depth of the story continues to grow (I'm already into the second book). Others have said that the female characters are one dimensional- that is a commentary on the objectification of women in game by others, rather than a chauvinistic statement by the author.

    This is a great book and well worth your time, gamer or not. Spend the credit.

    42 of 58 people found this review helpful
  • The Super-duper Amazing Silver Golem
    USA
    16/01/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The setting is more powerful than it's plot."
    What did you like best about AlterWorld? What did you like least?

    The concept itself was wonderful. The idea that a dying man uses a video game to extend his lifespan was enough to really get me into the plot at the start of the book, but as time went on it became obvious that this was some oddly themed power fantasy.

    The main character, Max, remains almost unchallenged throughout the entire book in any real sense. Sure, there are action scenes, but these are always of him simply playing the game to level up. Even his impending death problem in the beginning of the book was glossed over. Most other characters like him instantly or are awed by the simplest of his ideas, he gets a girlfriend his first week there without any real drama at all, villains are almost non existent or don't show up until the very end of the book, even the game itself starts rewarding him for the simplest of actions.

    Max's journey is so easy that the plot drags like crazy, it would have been boring if the setting wasn't so well thought out and the ending not promise some real issues in the next book.


    Would you be willing to try another book from D. Rus? Why or why not?

    Yes, because if I didn't everything in this book would have been a waste of time. I want a story, not what currently amounts to a blog of someone else's video gaming adventures


    What does Michael Goldstrom bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Not much. His telling of the story was steady, but almost too steady. There are parts that hint at dark issues in the story but the way he voices the characters reactions make them all seem disturbingly fine with those moments. In fact, the character almost seem more emotional over losing points and video game items than over the important stuff.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Maybe, but only for the special effects.


    Any additional comments?

    "Alterworld: Play to Live" was fine, but I was expecting more based on the scenario and setting. The ending does promise an interesting and actual conflict that matters for the next book so I'll be picking that one up. Hopefully the story will as cool as it's setting on the second book "The Clan: Play to Live".

    12 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • A L BLAIR
    28/12/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Falls flat, immature worldbuilding"
    What would have made AlterWorld better?

    Less chauvinism. Better world building. Less detail of fantasy game mechanics. More consistent story threading. More reason to care about characters. More character building.


    Has AlterWorld turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No. I like the genre, but this was a failed attempt at it.


    What aspect of Michael Goldstrom’s performance would you have changed?

    Michael was okay, but the story he was given was terrible, he made the best of it I think.


    What character would you cut from AlterWorld?

    The Inner Greedy Pig.


    Any additional comments?

    I am a big fan of gaming, MMO and game design theory. This book should have been right in my happy zone, however it falls short for many reasons. First, the female characters in this book are just ridiculously passive and stereotyped. The female lead pretty much has a tropic revenge story and wants to jump in bed with the protag with no buildup of a relationship (because he is so awesome don't you know?)
    The author's "Dream MMO" is so badly designed it wouldn't even make it in the present marketplace, let alone the MMO marketplace of the future. So many immature mistakes that MMOs have stopped doing as far back as the first Everquest expansion, but this came out in 2014?
    This book stinks of one man's fantasy MMO where he is the central hero and everyone else are just accents to his story, they have no real personalities and only serve to further the main character's ego. This had such a cool setup and premise and left a lot of things unexplored/unexplained and just overall upset me because it could have been so, so much more.
    This book puts too much effort into "what stat goes where to make me uber, oh look how clever I am that no one thought of this obvious combination ever?" and not enough effort into simple character development to make the reader actually interested in what happens to the characters.
    I regret spending credits on this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Umaros
    19/12/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great idea, poor execution"
    Any additional comments?

    I enjoy the litRPG genre, and Rus has some great ideas, but he does not have the writing skill to properly execute his vision.

    Players permanently stuck in the game (usually by choice) can influence the state of the game, and the possibilities of that influence are endless. His depiction of the game is a dream MMORPG where the players have control over the world.

    However, the potential is heavily overshadowed by repetitive phrases ("my inner greedy pig..."), antisemitism (small, but it comes out of nowhere and makes no sense), and sexism. There is a female love interest, but I hesitate to even call her a character. He vainly attempts to give her a backstory, but ignores it for most of the book. She has no personality and barely any dialogue; her only purpose is to have sex with the main character.

    The book reads more as a collection of events/moments rather than a cohesive plot. There is a vague idea of the direction of the story, which is quite interesting, but he barely moves that plot along and instead gets lost in wish-fulfillment moments and sub-plots.

    The story lacks one of the most important, core elements of a fantasy novel: worldbuilding. I am interested in the lore and setting of the virtual world, but other than saying it is large, he does not describe the place. I have no idea what the world looks like, if there are multiple continents, or where the dark lands are.

    From a game perspective, he does not say how many races or classes there are, so his character choice does not have the impact he wants. There is supposedly a war between light and dark factions, but at times it is not even clear if the dark side includes player characters. He chooses a dark class with a light side race, but could he have chosen the same class for the dark side? In my experience with MMOs, his description of being the only player to create a character the way he did, to be truly unique, is unrealistic and difficult to believe.

    I finished this book because I was intrigued by the potential, but I will not be continuing the series. It's unlikely that his serious writing flaws will improve as the story continues.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Steven
    17/11/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Do not trust the high ratings"

    I was sorely disappointed with this book. I kept hoping the characters would develop, but no, absolutely not. No clever strategies to overcome problems other than - i hit them more times - each time. The female character (Taali) is treated as a sex toy and arm fluf and referred to as "his girl" - cringe worthy moments - His "inner greedy pig" tag line was funny the first time it was mentioned, but after more than a dozen (maybe more) uses it grew boorish. Chauvinistic and homophobic to boot. I have given up on this book, and this author. Go read Ready Player One, much more enjoyable and well crafted.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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