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 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.
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 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.
I'm a gamer so I really wanted to like this one, the author did an ok job with the battle seems and captured the feel of a game environment. Though the luck of the main character seemed too good to be true. There was always some rare circumstance that allowed him to come out unscathed. The main character - who was supposed to be an adult male a had the personality of an insecure 14 yo boy. Maybe that was on purpose, but it made him
difficult to like. The only female character was one dimensional and bland. And though the main character is meant to care for her he often said derogatory things about her due to the default failing that she was a woman. At the end of the day this is a book that has a target audience of an adolescent male with little or no real success with female relationships, romantic or otherwise. I will take a pass on reading any more of the series. The narrator did a good job.
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".
I really really wanted to like this book, but it was definitely a struggle to finish. I was hoping it could be what Sword Art Online could have been, but it suffers from the exact same flaws. If you enjoy gaming, the terms from MMORPGs make the book entertaining, but that is about its only value. If you're looking for a story, I would look elsewhere. The characters are entirely superficial and exist only to artificially elevate the protagonist as some sort of godly gamer. It's like listening to a prepubescent boy describe his fantasy world.
Has the potential to be a great story but instead ends up being a reading of a video game in progress. Distracting and annoying.
Best - the potential of this world. The narrator.
Worst - absolutely no story to bind it all together. Complete mishmash of unrelated random quests and battles. If you like watching other people play video games you may enjoy this. I sometimes do, but I didn't this time. If you want a story you may not. Even the living characters felt like they were video game characters, which is somehow ironic.
Not this series...
A superb storyteller, he more than once prevented me from moving to my next book.
For more random unrelated quests? No.
"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
"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.
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
"Going to return this"
The sexism in this book is ridiculous, women are viewed as objects and it's a shame because the female lead has such an interesting background. However, I think the sexism came from the fact that this entire book is based on immature teenage boy fantasies, therefore the sexism probably wasn't meant to be offensive.
The main character is far too lucky, I cannot feel the tension in the battles. Also he was supposed to be in his early 30s but I kept thinking he's only in his late teens or early 20s. The author failed to portray his maturity and intelligence, would be better to make him younger.
There are some good aspects, the idea of being in a game world and that his pet became more "alive". The blurred line between the light and dark is a nice touch and so does the gaming experience. The first few hours are quite entertaining but soon the main character became an almost unstoppable player.
The narrator is quite good, made this book easier to listen to.
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