Publisher: Relay Publishing
Publishing Date: February 2018
Publishers Description: In the desolate future city-state of Verre, King Leopold and his lords rule with absolute authority. There’s only one way for oppressed serfs to rise in rank: the MMORPG called ‘The Grind’. Once a year, players in this virtual game can fight for the opportunity to raise their standing by gathering as many points as possible. Peasants can become Nobles, Lords and, with enough skill, sometimes Kings… Savannah “Savvy” deForge is a Grinder—the lowest of the low, who earns a living racking up points for players by “ghosting” them in the game. When a wealthy client named Timon comes calling, she sees him as her ticket out of the classless limbo of Grinder life.
Review: I am not really sure what to think of this novel. It had Fantastic world building both within the game and out. An improbable story line that fascinates and absorbs your attention. But average character development that should have enthralled what with the intense movement it was coupled to. The main character was a bit flat, myopic, self-centered and dumb. She never learns from the obvious instances happening in real time. Even after an event that should pull her in a certain direction, she is still conflicted or opposes the logical choice. This is called stupidity. It’s not a complex character or one pulled between extremes. You can’t have a self-centered thief with a heart of gold. And it is the prancing back and forth between those two personas that leave Savannah flatter than a road kill chipmunk.
What is good is some real crazy world building that pulls you into an incredible visualization matrix. I mean, what is not to like about killing crazy monster virus’? The power ups are cool and the trek is epic by design. The fights are continual and take up a fair portion of the novels content. Good or bad, you be the judge. I found it a bit long in the tooth but still palatable.
I would say that this could have been set up better with the outer world and inner world conflicts enhanced to imbue a sense of balance.