For years now, I've been encouraged to be more active in promoting other independently published authors. And I haven't done it, largely because I don't even promote my own work very much, much less anybody else's. I've given people a shout-out here and there, but normally I don't even do that much.
I'm trying to get better at this, so I've been looking for some titles to promote. And after hearing enough suggestions about him online, I finally read Aleron Kong's first book, The Land: Founding.
(Which just so happens to be available on Kindle for only $0.99 even as we speak. You could pick it up for a dollar right now. WHAT A STRANGE COINCIDENCE.)
It's a LitRPG novel, which basically means it's about a guy getting transported inside of a world that works like a video game. He has to manage and explore his newfound RPG powers and abilities, including a village-building system that I found to be the most interesting part of the novel. But I could be weird.
I've read dozens of this sort of thing before, because it always seems like it would be right up my alley, but it never has been. Usually, I don't find the characters interesting and I get irritated by the amount of time they spend grinding and doing boring intro quests. I don't even enjoy that when I'm playing a video game, much less when I'm reading about one.
The Land: Founding, by contrast, kept me engaged from the beginning to the end. It keeps moving at a fluid pace, there's just enough of a plot to provide a sense of tension without taking away from the "guy freely exploring an RPG world" sensation, and the main character's quests are different enough from the usual that I stayed intrigued.
(There is literally a "Kill 5 Wolves" quest, but the context for it and the result of completing it are both somewhat unexpected. And funny, at least in my view.)
There are cons to every book, and in this case, there are really two that spring to mind. One broader than the other.
First, there's a segment in the middle with the main character battling skeletons that I found tedious. It takes place over about two chapters, whereas I probably would have wanted it summarized in a couple of pages. Not a big deal, but it stuck out, as most of the rest of the book progresses much more quickly.
Second, the book as a whole could have used a bit more time in the editing room. It's not bad, by any means--we've all read Kindle books that are much, much worse--but there are some typos, some choppy sentences, some incorrectly substituted homonyms ("where" for "wear," stuff like that). In other words, the same sort of mistakes you'd find in my own books, just...a few more of them.
I didn't find that any of that inhibited my enjoyment of the book. I liked it, I think it's a cool concept well-executed, and it made me want to try writing an overtly video-gamey book (although as I'm sure you've noticed, my books are about one balance patch short of video games already).
So if you like LitRPG as a genre and you haven't checked out Aleron Kong for some reason, give it a try. His book's on sale, I believe I mentioned. If you think you might be interested in reading a fantasy novel where the world works like a game, give it a try. And if this doesn't sound like your sort of thing but you're looking for something to read, give it a try.
It's a dollar!
All of it.
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