The perma players' new reality gains depth and color. The virtual world has seen its first birth - and its first death. The invisible umbilical cord connecting AlterWorld to Earth grows thinner, and even the Fallen One cannot prevent the looming catastrophe. Could Max have ignored the Russian girl who'd just escaped slavery in a virtual China? Could he have turned a deaf ear to her pleas as the desperate fugitive clutched at straws on hearing her native tongue? All this triggers a full-blown confrontation, sending armies of thousands into battle in the heart of the Frontier, burning kilotons of mana, melting desert sands and hacking through impervious mithril armor. The two nations' furious war cries obscure the sky as the gods shudder at humans' desperate cruelty.
©2014 D. Rus (P)2015 Audible, Inc.
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"Good, But Getting Weird..."
So. I'm clipping through this series extremely quickly, just about a book a day- that should tell folks a lot about how engaging it is. I was rapidly developing into major fandom after I finished book II; this hasn't really been taken off the table, but it has been placed on the back burner pending book four. I'm going to preface the following with this: these books are translated and, as such, a *lot* can get lost in the process if it isn't done carefully. There are a few idioms and grammatical errors that are clearly translator/editor errors. The following issues may also be partially such as well.
Where the first two books were concerned with growth, building, and amazement (which isn't to say that isn't part of the current book), some very odd factors are starting to bleed into the story. Rus is starting to express some extremely xenophobic and... nationalistic feelings in his books. While we are rolling along in Alterworld, the protagonist goes on paragraphs long tirades about the glory of the Russian army in world war II, the cost of defeating the Germans, and centuries old hatred of Asians. Then we're ripped back into this world of magic and swords.
I'm not xenophobic myself, nor do I expect the world to conform to my "American Born During the Last Gasp of the Cold War" outlook on things. I fully understand that this is a Russian author writing about Russians who have melded into a virtual world. My issue isn't necessarily with the nationalism etc (not that I agree with it, obviously), but rather its bizarre juxtaposition in the book. I would take identical pause with a lot of talk about the glorious American spirit and centuries old anger at England for oppressing us, or how we liberated the concentration camps being interspersed in a piece of pure nerd fiction. It's almost like we have Monty Python sitting there saying "and now for something completely different..."
This being said, Rus has started to explore much more intense concepts as well. Slavery is discussed at length... but instead of it being a laudable denial of slavery in total, it is once more put through the nationalistic lens. For example, Russian lives are worth 10 of X race and, during one exchange, citizens from former USSR nations are left in captivity.
Religion is also tackled more intensely in this installment, which is always a touchy subject in MMORPGs. I don't think Rus does a particularly bad job of exploring it, nor is anything terribly offensive to the mind. Those more dogmatically inclined may feel differently.
Rus also exposes more of a chauvinistic side as well. In prior books it could be interpreted as a commentary on how women are treated in games (which is a very valid commentary indeed), but... it's verged a few times into the grey zone in this installment. Nothing outrightly 'bad' necessarily... just off.
I don't want to make it sound like the whole book was off-putting, it really wasn't. The vast majority was extremely entertaining and driven. The characters are developing nicely, drama is present, and we have moved into much broader topics. Overall I was less impressed, but still clipped along with the listening. Giving book four a shot, we'll see how it plays out.
Still worth a listen and your time, especially if you have been following along since book one.
"good story overcome by sexism and bad dialog"
Since book one I have thought, that's not how gamers talk. Neither I nor any of my friends calls every girl on the mike babe, yet in this book series that is how every woman is referred too. I just saw it as a petty annoyance at first but ignored it because this writer is so good at describing in game character building in a way that you feel like you are the one building the character. As the books went on the sexism got worse and worse. While I will admit that the author does it to his male characters too (where the crap is bug!! Two and a third books since he was introduced and no Bug!!!) the lack of use of Tali in the this and the last books and only using her as a plot device in this book stripping her of what little character she had is unforgivable. I am going to have trouble continuing to read this book series. I don't know if I can last four more books of hearing about this guys inner greedy pig constantly without hearing about the characters in the story that I really want to care about. There are also parts in the book that make me worry about how the author might treat women in real life as he portrays them as being creatures that when not tamed and made to obey men only cause men pain only giving a woman the purpose of affecting a man and no character and purpose of their own. The only reason I did not rate this book lower is because I still love alter world and the concepts of the game.
"Oh what a beating..."
It was mostly a time killer - it's the 3rd book in a series that has been OK but going downhill.
When the storyline focused on the gameplay and character relations - that I could see.
It was bland. The voices were too similar between characters. The cadence was quite quirky and inflections on the wrong words would make the story stutter rather than flow or create an emotion.
It has one - The Inferno, which I haven't decided if I'm going to purchase yet. The three so far have gone downhill and the last book could be, well, less.
There was a decent cliff-hanger however, so that's the only thing that still has me on the hook.
This is a wonderful story concept - I'm a huge fan of gaming storylines. This is the first series I've experienced about mmorpg gaming. It's a fairly new and modern book and set in the future and translated from Russian. I think my issues with this book lie there.
I noticed that the first story had a few odd things in the cadence and vocabulary at times. The Clan continued the strangeness and leveled it up a bit. However, The Duty reached a new level of weird- there is a lot of jumping around and disjointed topics. There is also a large amount of Nationalism and saber-rattling about historic conflicts that distracted from this being a story about gaming. Yes, a bit of it is necessary to set up how various governments are going to handle the laws and crime and punishment of the virtual world, but I didn't handle it well, with an eye-roll occasionally when he started on a new tangent about the Chinese or Germans in an old Russian conflict.
The other part of the translation is that the vocal cadence didn't seem smooth or continuous. A sentence would end as a question and there would be a pause like a written paragraph break and then another sentence that should be part of the same conversation would seem totally unrelated.
The vocalizations for the most part were quite similar and I would loose track of who was speaking at times.
There were some fun and 'visually stimulating ' pieces to the story. However there were just to many disjointed parts that were simply narration that didn't stimulate the imagination enough to keep me very interested.
I'm invested in the series- three books now but this may have put me off finishing up by buying the next installment.
"Glad I didn't listen to some reviews on this one"
I very much enjoyed this instalment if the series! I kept looking for more time to keep listening! This book really showed Max growing as a leader, tied up some loose ends from the first and second books, explore more of Alter World, and liberate more slaves. Another aspect of the story I really like is that each chapter starts with some IRL events and reports; in this book there are player characters that are followed IRL. My only real problem is with how the book ended felt rushed at some point. A good portion of the book was about going thru Asian territory to get to another temple; when they get there it's a matter of about 10 minutes and Max ends the raid ASAP. It felt like this time in the temple was rushed to get to the conclusion.
I really want to mention, though, that I have read some other reviews are this book concerning racism. Some reviewers say that D. Rus used some stereotyping of Asian people and go further saying that he makes a generalization that all Asian's are the same. this is absolutely not true. D Rus created Asian slaver bad guys but no where does it mention that all Asian's are like the bad guys. If anything, Mr. Rus gives Russia's more crap than anyone else. that's just something that bothered me.
some favorite moments were Loth's lair, Max picking up his 'cat' Bageara, assault on the gangster/slaver fort, Basilisk eggs, and almost every IRL moment.
Also, Michael Goldstrom has done another AMAZING job yet again. he is one of my new favorite narrators
"Epic quest interrupted with occasional politics"
Overall this was another good entry in the series. I however felt the non relevant to the story, real world moments to take me out of the fantasy. Still worth a listen though!
Not as good as the first 2. The books seem to be declining in quality.
"Loved the book but the constant random..."
Loved the book but the constant random reversion to ancient wars, comparative to the story's time, seemed like a repeating non sequitur which interrupted the story.
"Invested in the series"
Darn it, I'm completely invested in this series now. I can't stop listening at night which is giving me some tired mornings to deal with. Off to get book # 4 right now. The story continues to be engaging, the characters are sucking me in, and the narrator is awesome with a good clean reading of the story. I can't wait to find out what happens next!
"Great flow story"
Jumped right into this one after the first two reads. The author is doing a good job of fleshing out characters and ramping up the story. Interesting way of shifting between characters. The timing in the story is a little disconcerting but not enough to make it confusing. I enjoy the story line and departure from the first book of throwing in too much game play. Looking forward to the next installment.
This book seemed even shorter than the last. Very good and as always excellently performed.
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