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AlterWorld

Play to Live, Book 1
By: D. Rus
Narrated by: Michael Goldstrom
Series: Play to Live, Book 1
Length: 12 hrs and 13 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (3,622 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    2,103
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Performance

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Story

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Not for people who are expecting a 4.5 star book

What disappointed you about AlterWorld?

If you're just looking for a fun story about a bunch of people stuck in a video game, and aren't too particular about quality, then you'll probably enjoy this book. If you're just looking for a fun read, go ahead. AlterWorld isn't necessarily awful, just sub par, but I was expecting A LOT more given the book's 4.5 star rating. So this review is really for people who are expecting a story that reflects the stars it's received.

Characters were flat and predictable, with nothing particularly special about them. Dialogue was cringe-worthy at times. The story itself doesn't do anything out of the ordinary either, and the writing is at about a high school level (to be fair, the author is very young). I don't understand why this series has such high ratings–it's average at best, and is completely undeserving of the 4.5 stars. Getting thrown into a video game world is an interesting (albeit overdone) topic, but the author could really benefit from developing his character/plot development skills, and could ESPECIALLY work on pushing his writing skills further.

26 of 30 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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I wanted to like it so much

I still wish I liked it! It's a great concept and the narrator does a great job. The problem is that instead of a compelling story you feel like your watching your older brother play a video game and you'll never get a chance to hold the controller.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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Sophomoric

What would have made AlterWorld better?

The writing style was immature. The author frequently introduces scenes with over the top characterizations hinting that the fight is unwinnable which the character proceeds to mundanely win anyways. The book feels like a male fantasy scribbling.

It also ends in the middle of the story with little if anything resolved.

Has AlterWorld turned you off from other books in this genre?

No. This book feels poorly planned and executed, which probably reflects the writer rather than the type of book.

What does Michael Goldstrom bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The reader is competent and expressive. He has to work with the writer's exaggerated narrative, though.

21 of 25 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

One Of The Best Books I Have

(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.

86 of 105 people found this review helpful

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Loved Ready Player One or Snowcrash? Skip This!

Full disclosure: I have not finished (slogged through) the entire book yet, but I think I can give a pretty heartfelt review at this point.
The concept of the book seemed interesting: The idea that you can BECOME a part of a MMPORPG for real and forever, leaving your corporeal body behind. But it rapidly became obvious that this author has some issues.
This is like some uber-gaming nerd's wet dream. Every woman is lithesome and willing. Max levels up with amazing rapidity. Every other player is awed by him or jealous or immediately his bestie. Only he could possibly have thought of this non-traditional character designation.
Getting back to the women, they are alternately: weepy, grateful when he picks them a flower, require rescuing, sex crazed and/or "such a girl/child." I've yet to hear him run across a warrior woman - and I'm not holding my breath.
Listening to Max detail how he grinds through leveling up is interesting at first, but becomes tedious rapidly. And the number of times he has spectacular luck in battle is beyond believable. For example, he happens upon a battle between another player and red bear. In the course of things, somehow the other player gets killed, JUST BEFORE the bear dies, meaning lowly Max gets credit for the bear kill, gets all the dropped treasures. One of them is a Soul Stone which he incarnates as a zombie and, voila!, has a ridiculously-leveled bear to do all his fighting and therefore his levelling. Max then sits on his butt while the bear does all the work (I even bored myself writing that explanation).
I have never played Everquest, but my sources say the game in this story is remarkably similar.
Additionally, I understand this is a Russian author, but there are some weird word usages - possibly translation errors, but weird.
I'd say, give this a pass. I won't be wasting time on the sequels.

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

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Didn't live up to the reviews

It's a very slow walk through of a dull player playing a dull game. It's a very drawn out step by step guide of an unbelievable character just plying a fantasy role play game. It doesn't even feel like a book. No story, no plot line, you are just reading about someone else playing a very dull role playing game online. Total disappointment.

15 of 18 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Like Watching Experienced Gamer Play on Easy Mode

This was like watching over the shoulder of an experienced gamer playing their favorite game on easy mode. Some of the game mechanics or graphics might be interesting but the actual game play is boring because there is no challenge or tension to the game. In this case, the hero of the game has never actually played the game and yet, he still strolls through each encounter. I kept waiting for the conflict, thinking maybe it was just a long set up. Briefly, there was the possibility of some IRL conflict but it passed uneventfully and unresolved. Maybe it's taken up again in book 2 and this book was a really, really long set up that gets interesting in book 2. I'll never know.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Fanfic

This felt like a fanfic, serialized into many parts for best monetary advantage. I was uncomfortable with the cigarette and torture sections. I wasn't all that convinced over the way perma-mode seems to keep going while the servers are down. All in all, mediocre.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Plotless

Mindless RPG isekai with no direction. Bored out of my mind. This might have been a new thing back in 2014 but doesn't hold up today.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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Sci-fi VR Story

Who wants to read every single step about playing a frigging video game? Way too much detail!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Tony
  • Tony
  • 01-14-16

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

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • tom
  • 04-27-19

Almost feels like a scam...

The story meanders from book to book with almost no sense of climax/conclusion. It feels like its been purposefully designed to waste credits by buying other instalments. Theres just no substance here.

Save yourself some credits (god help you if you paid full whack for this) and find something else.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Susan M.
  • 09-12-17

Not for me

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The immaturity and sexism were niggling. The over-use of unexplained acronyms was annoying. There were some poorly-thought out plot holes.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

An hour from the end, I realised I just didn't want to finish it. Usually, I will persevere, just to make sure I don't miss anything. In this case, I don't care if I did miss something; I couldn't face wasting that final hour.

Did AlterWorld inspire you to do anything?

I was inspired to return it, but it did make me a biit nostalgic for quest adventure games, so I think I might try to find a game to play.

Any additional comments?

The narrator was good, and the book wasn't really dreadful - it was just that by the end the bad bits were niggling at me enough to overwhelm any good bits.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • david
  • 02-24-17

Great RPG story!

If you're even remotely into role playing games, particularly online MMO's this story is right up your street!

It's a great adaptation of everything I love about MMORPGs in a story. Gives me my gaming fix whilst I'm driving for real world stuff!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • John
  • 06-26-16

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.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-23-16

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.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • J. A. N.
  • 04-01-19

The first audiobook (series) I've returned

This series has the dubious honour of being the first series I've decided to return.

This might be a solid, although fairly standard litRPG story, however, it is completely spoilt by Russian nationalism and homophobia.

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  • Teitur Ásgeirsson
  • 01-26-19

I really enjoyed the audio book.

I really enjoyed the audio book. A new spin on magic and the way the system works.. I highly recommended the book. I hope the author is a fast writer...

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Harvey
  • 08-03-18

Cringe

embarrasing story and character dynamics. It was cringeworthy to listen to.

the relationship with the love interest is unbelievable. the reader is monotone and uninteresting.

the dialogue is flat

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • despie
  • 01-29-17

Great book

It's been a while since I found an other who can write great fantasy, this author is up there with R A Salvatore and the other greats.