Friday, August 13, 2010

Review of "Massively Multiplayer" by P. Aaron Potter

Massively Multiplayer This book didn't turn out like I thought it would. Ended up being much better.
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me in exchange for a review. I did not receive any sort of monetary incentive for a positive review.

Type: Science Fiction, Virtual Reality, Gaming, Hackers, Stand alone

About the book: " When Andrew Hunter logs into his favorite online game, he's escaping the pressure of school and family. In the world of Crucible, Andrew doesn't have to worry about what major to pursue, or whether he should get a summer job. All he has to do is worry about whether or not he'll get eaten. For programmer Wolfgang Wallace, though, Crucible isn't just a game, it's his job. So when a mysterious hacker begins using the game servers to transfer huge amounts of encrypted data, Wolfgang needs to act fast before the FCC the FBI, or the Better Business Bureau shut down his company for good. Unfortunately, the hacker seems to know all that, and has taken pains to lock Wolfgang out of his own system. What Wolfgang needs is a player on the inside of the game. What Andrew needs is a reason to play - or stop playing. What the hacker needs is anyone's guess, and until they figure out the rules, they're going to have to play for their lives."

I thought "Massively Multiplayer" was very reminiscent of "Neuromancer" by William Gibson. I found plenty of similarities between the stories, such as the fact that the reader is just thrown into the story, and said reader is just supposed to know certain things about the world. But I found "Massively Multiplayer" a little easier to understand, since it does explain things, eventually. This book takes place some time in the future, where people conduct every-day business in a virtual reality, through a computer set up called a Virlo. While Andrew Hunter's parents use this set up for work, Andrew uses his for his online games. For anyone that has ever played a Roleplaying game.. as much as you get into your character, it's still just a figure on a screen- but not in Andrew's world. Andrew can hook himself up to his computer, and actually become his character - Druin. We actually see most of Andrew's part of the story from Druin's perspective in the game.

I'll admit to being confused for the first almost half of the book. I wasn't sure how these two extremely different people - a young man playing a character in a game, and the programmer dealing with some strange computer issues, were related. So even though the book was good right from the beginning, my confusion kept me from being unable to put it down. But once I reached about the half-way point, I was hooked. It was literally like a switch was flipped. This book went from good-but not great, to something I couldn't put down.

Andrew/Druin set upon a strange quest in his game, a quest that has real-life consequences. All of Druin's quest-mates have something to hide, and Druin was brought in to keep the group together. All the while, Wolfgang is trying to deal with whomever is hacking into his system, and why. But in order to get the results Wolfgang needs, he has to make sure Andrew, and his character, keeps going. I don't think I could pick which character was my favorite - I loved Andrew/Druin, who was so good-hearted, and he so wanted to do good but seemed to keep falling short of his parents expectations, and then there's Wolfgang, who you just can't help but love. You even get to witness a seemingly rare moment, when Wolfgang appears in the game itself.. and I loved seeing that side of this character, even if it was just a virtual representation of himself. And Malcolm... who could forget him? A side character, Malcolm is a "noobie"... more commonly called a "llama." But one can't help but be amused by his ever formal medieval-esque speech. Forsooth.

This story is incredibly complex. The reader finally thinks every secret has been revealed, and we're getting close to the climax.. and then BAM, another element is added to the system. A lot of thought went into this book, and I was pleased with the result. Yes, the book did take it's time leading up to the story, but once you really hit that spot, you can't stop. If you enjoy science fiction/virtual reality stories, this is definitely something you'd want to pick up.

I'm going to give "Massively Multiplayer" by P. Aaron Potter a FOUR out of FIVE (4/5). I really, really enjoyed this book, but the initial confusion I felt made me knock it down a point. However, that doesn't mean it isn't one for the keeper shelf! Well.. the virtual keeper shelf, that is.. since "Massively Multiplayer" is currently only available in ebook format. Which, considering the content... it probably fitting!

Read the book? Share your thoughts in the comments! Want to check it out? Find it at - Only $4.79 for this rather awesome book.

Happy Reading!
~!~ Morning Glow

Coming up:
"Entwined" by Elisabeth Naughton
"Lost Innocents" by Sonnet O'Dell
"How to Succeed Without Dying" by Becky A. Bartness

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