A new pandemic - the perma effect - has taken over Earth of the near future. Whenever you play your favorite online game, beware: your mind might merge with the virtual world and dump its comatose host. Woe be to those stuck forever in Tetris! And still they're the lucky ones compared to those burning alive eternally within the scorched hulls of tank simulators. But some unfortunates - the handicapped and the terminally ill, shell-shocked army vets, wronged crime victims and other society misfits - choose to flee real life willingly, escaping to the limitless world of online sword and sorcery MMORPGs. Once a seasoned gamer and now a terminal cancer patient, Max grasps at this final chance to preserve his life and identity. So he goes for it - goes for the promise of immortality shared with a few trusty friends and the woman he loves. Together they roam the roads of AlterWorld and sample its agony and ecstasy born of absolute freedom.
©2014 D. Rus (P)2015 Audible, Inc.
(I am not going to give a synopsis of the story because you can look at the description and the other review and get some good ones)
These days it takes a lot to get me to really rave about a book. I have over 400 books in my audible library and I have listened to almost all of them because I have a long commute almost every day. I bought this book on a whim, not expecting much out of the idea of real life mixing with a video game. I have read books before where a human mind gets trapped in a video game, or where people bring video games into real life, and other compounds of the two. This book, however, surpassed them all.
I have some background playing video games. I am a bit of a gamer now (on steam) and played World of Warcraft as a teenager for a couple of months before I realized that it was sucking my life away. But I have never forgotten that time and the fun that I had on that MMORPG, going on raids with other players, leveling up my character, joining a clan and deciding which stats I wanted.
As such, the my inner nerd had a nerdgasam about an hour into this book and I haven't looked back since.
There was a time, about three hours in, that I thought that although this was a fun book, it was not going to be very deep as far as themes and character development. I couldn't have been more wrong. The book and the series that follows (I am on book three right now) deal with some very heavy themes indeed, from life and death, to government involvement in personal life, to revenge, to rape, to the concept of eternity, to slavery, to greed, to what makes things right or wrong... The list goes on and on. It has been a while since I listened to a book that did such a good job of involving deep ideas while still moving the story forward in an such an interesting way. The main character also kept my interest all of the way through while continuing to change and grow as a person and as a game character.
The narrator for this book is also excellent.
One other thing: I figured out part way through that this book was translated form Russian to English. The translation is flawless however, as can be seen from the fact that I didn't even realize it for quite some time.
I read, I write; I listen
As an old time gamer dating back to the days of my first quest on my eight bit Nintendo Entertainment System playing as Link in The Legend of Zelda I really enjoy the latest books that try and capture that same adventurous feeling and take gaming to another dimension. I thoroughly enjoyed Ernest Cline’s “Ready Player One,” but was disappointed by his second book “Armada,” in that it wasn’t the immersion into the gaming world that was RPO. I wanted to find another book with the ability to follow along with a character that was totally immersed into his virtual world and become one with him on his quest. Then I found not just a book but a series called, “Play to Live”
. In this first book “Alter World,” we meet a terminal cancer patient, Max, who is looking for an alternative from the fate that would normally await him. What he finds is a vivid digital world that kept my ears glued to every word. This is a must listen for anyone that likes this genre.
D Rus is a Russian born writer and his books are translated into English; I believe it makes some of the references using his culture perspective a more interesting story.
The narration by Michael Goldstrom is terrific.
I can't really say I liked or didn't like this book. I have never been a fan of RPG games and did not find the process of living forever in this fashion entertaining or intriguing. In my opinion this is similar to watching You Tube videos of other people playing games. Not a bad idea, just not my cup of tea.
If I hear the phrase "my inner greedy pig" one more time......the author must love that phrase since I heard it about 25X during the reading. It really got old after the first 10.
This book is repetitive, slow and boring. It felt like grinding during a gaming session. Also this book is definitely NOT for non gamers. Many references and storyline elements( like tech trees) are straight out of gaming references( I had to look some up Id forgotten, like DOT) I barely finished the book; not really caring about any of the characters. So. no sequal for me.
I think it needs to be stated, outright, that you will think this is a significantly better book if you have had gaming experience, preferably in the MMORPG flavor. Confessing my inner geek, I have played Warcraft since it first launched- this book is *right* up my alley. Anyone who has played RPGs will, without question, see themselves reflected in these chapters.
That being said, it is still high quality entertainment and story, even if you aren't in the category of supergeek with a multiple level 100s in all purple. Originally written in Russian and flawlessly translated, it is not a one dimensional story. It addresses many of the fundamental aspects of life- just as the game(s) do. Games are a reflection not only of their creators, but their players. As such they are a perfect analogous microcosm of real life projected onto a fantasy/adventure world.
Rus captures this quite beautifully. I can say that the depth of the story continues to grow (I'm already into the second book). Others have said that the female characters are one dimensional- that is a commentary on the objectification of women in game by others, rather than a chauvinistic statement by the author.
This is a great book and well worth your time, gamer or not. Spend the credit.
Has the potential to be a great story but instead ends up being a reading of a video game in progress. Distracting and annoying.
Loves a good adventure with heart and lots of laughs.
The concept itself was wonderful. The idea that a dying man uses a video game to extend his lifespan was enough to really get me into the plot at the start of the book, but as time went on it became obvious that this was some oddly themed power fantasy.
The main character, Max, remains almost unchallenged throughout the entire book in any real sense. Sure, there are action scenes, but these are always of him simply playing the game to level up. Even his impending death problem in the beginning of the book was glossed over. Most other characters like him instantly or are awed by the simplest of his ideas, he gets a girlfriend his first week there without any real drama at all, villains are almost non existent or don't show up until the very end of the book, even the game itself starts rewarding him for the simplest of actions.
Max's journey is so easy that the plot drags like crazy, it would have been boring if the setting wasn't so well thought out and the ending not promise some real issues in the next book.
Yes, because if I didn't everything in this book would have been a waste of time. I want a story, not what currently amounts to a blog of someone else's video gaming adventures
Not much. His telling of the story was steady, but almost too steady. There are parts that hint at dark issues in the story but the way he voices the characters reactions make them all seem disturbingly fine with those moments. In fact, the character almost seem more emotional over losing points and video game items than over the important stuff.
Maybe, but only for the special effects.
"Alterworld: Play to Live" was fine, but I was expecting more based on the scenario and setting. The ending does promise an interesting and actual conflict that matters for the next book so I'll be picking that one up. Hopefully the story will as cool as it's setting on the second book "The Clan: Play to Live".
All of my reviews are on my blog audiobookreviewer dot com
After reading the synopsis of this audiobook I was marginally interested in giving it a listen. Then I read the title of a review on Audible of which the title was this, “Yes that’s right better then Ready player one”. To me. that was a pretty bold statement as I adored Ready Player One. For a book to be better than that is huge.
The author D. Rus, is from Russia so much of the geographical comparisons are directed to that end. From what I could tell, it is told in present day, or the near future. There is a MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role playing game), something akin to World of Warcraft, except the player can play the game in these full immersion capsules. That allows the player to literally be alive in the game. They can feel pain, actually swing their swords at the enemy, etc. Sounds pretty awesome to this nerd! Here is the really interesting part. Player that play in the capsules consistently for too long have a high probability of going “perma effect” within the game. What this means is that your mind and conciseness become digitized and only exist in the game. At this point it does not matter what happens to your body, it can die and you will continue to live in the digital AlterWorld.
Our protagonist is Max, who is diagnosed with a terminal illness. His only chance of living past the next month is to go perma in AlterWorld. So, of course, that is what he sets out to do.
Very geeky gaming explanations or the intricacies of AlterWorld were included, because Max was not a gamer and we learn as he does, well mostly. From creating an avatar, his digital character, to the way the HUD (Heads up display) works, to getting and choosing quests.
Then it ends when Max is in immediate peril and I had to start listening to the next book right away.
Yes, I did gloss over much of the actual story in this review. I did not want to chance giving anything away. Amazing story. Plain and simple.
I was thoroughly entranced by the Alterworld and by the situations Max gets himself into and the other characters. If you are a gaming and or fantasy nerd like me. You will love this audiobook. Do your self a favor and bu them all right now.
Michael Goldstrom was a perfect choice to bring this audiobook to life. I cannot imagine, even Wil Wheaton, could do a better job with this amazing story. He was able to make all of the explanations of the game content seem so natural. Good characterizations, where he really shines is with the pacing fluctuations. Everything I look for in a good narrator performance Goldstrom excelled at.
Audiobook purchased for review by ABR.
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If you are a gamer, you might enjoy it. If you are not, don't bother. The entire book was like watching a gamer's YouTube videos. The actual effects of the "digitized life" are vastly overlooked. Superficial. If you have the patience, this may be remedied in following books, but I am not optimistic about it. I will not be following this series unless I run out of options.
main character is not developed; female characters are sex objects and play a mindless traditional role.
"surprise new genre for me mmorpg..."
i loved this book, very original and for someone that played warcraft for years , this really took me back. The other books are also well worth the read.
it narrated well and the action just keeps on coming. not a book for kids as there is swaring f words so buyer beware, but for adults its a ripping yarn. highly reccomend
I want expecting much, after a slow start I really got into it. Great book if you are an mmo fan or just like this genre
"Enjoyable but lacking"
This book which describes the common gamer fantasy of living within a game world is strangely compelling despite its flaws. Narrated very well by Michael Goldstrom, it suffers from a somewhat two dimensional story that could have been so much more if interactions between the game world and real life could have been expanded. In the end it is almost just a description of someone playing a game. Perhaps later books on the series will expand on the potential.
I also have to note that the casual sexism in this book is very off putting. The male lead picks up a girl who follows him around, doting on him, pleasing him in the bedroom in very teenage-male-fantasy ways and generally just acting as a subsidiary to him rather than being a fully-fledged character in her own right. Another missed opportunity.
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