This fast-moving, action novel is based on a game. So, the first thing I should let you know is I’ve never played such a game. The conventions, scenarios, options and all other aspects of gaming are utterly unknown to me. I worried initially this might make the book unreadable for me, or at the very least, less entertaining than it might be for a gamer. I’m happy to report my fears were unfounded.
This seems at first to be pure adventure, often with the protagonist facing what seem insuperable odds. However, as the story unfolds, revealing its many layers, it becomes clear this is a work with real depth.
The many characters, most formed in the fertile imagination of the author, and many utterly alien to the average reader, are invested with personality, quirks, fears, character, history, family, and emotions.
In spite of the more or less relentless action, which I understand as a vital part of any game, there are passages of real and deep emotional experience. The reader feels with the players.
This story is essentially the quest to replace evil with good, so frequently used as the drive for a fantasy novel. Here, however, we also have content more often found in the science fiction novel. But genre isn’t important here. The book is eminently readable regardless of the background to the story. The reader easily empathises with many of the characters and quickly learns to loathe the evil doers, the monsters, the destroyers. That the main protagonist is a physically, mentally, morally, and spiritually strong, female with a questionable past that haunts her throughout the tale, makes the whole experience more accessible as well as utterly gripping. We live through many threats, adventures, uncertainties, triumphs, and disasters with her.
The story, action-packed as it is, manages to explore morality, betrayal, courage, grief, friendship, loyalty, and the strange hold belief can impose on some individuals. And the denouement is superbly handled to leave the reader satisfied.
[Any review is a personal opinion. No reviewer can represent the view of anyone else. The best we can manage is an honest reaction to any given book.]