May 25, 2013

Book review: Epic by Conor Kostick

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Welcome to a society governed through computer games!

On New Earth, society is governed and conflicts are resolved in the arena of a fantasy computer game, Epic. If you win, you have the chance to fulfill your dreams; if you lose, your life both in and out of the game is worth nothing. When teenage Erik dares to subvert the rules of Epic, he and his friends must face the Committee. If Erik and his friends win, they may have the key to destroying the Committee’s tyranny. But if they lose . . .

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)

I thought I would like Epic more than I did. Roughly half of the story takes place inside the video game called Epic and the other half takes place in the real world. The chapters within Epic are better, but I found the chapters that take place outside the game to be boring.

The game of Epic itself is not unlike some of the MMORPGs we have today. Players take on characters like warriors, thieves, or wizards to engage in combat or go on missions in order to earn money, which they can use to improve their players. I found the events that took place within the game to be interesting, if somewhat disjointed because of the jumps in and out of the game. The game narrative builds up to an entertaining climax at the end.

On the other hand, the scenes that took place in the real world were boring. Because dying in Epic doesn't mean you die in the real world, there wasn't much tension involving the real world characters. Given how unfair Epic is, the author could have raised the stakes a lot more by building on the conflict between the common people and Central Allocations in the real world, but instead, the people in the real world are strangely content to let their lives be run by the outcomes inside the game.

I wished more of the book took place inside the game or that the real world situations contained more tension. If you're into MMORPGs, maybe you'll like the book for that aspect. Otherwise, it was just an OK read.

I read this book as part of the Authors A to Z reading challenge. Next up: Legend by Marie Lu.

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