Desert Runner (Puatera Online Book 1)

Desert Runner (Puatera Online Book 1) - Dawn Chapman I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

I'm a huge fan of RPGs. I love the Elder Scrolls series, the Dragon Age series, Pillars of Eternity, I can go on. Desert Runner is a bit more Fallout than Elder Scrolls. It's set in the world of Puatera Online which I heard was a bit like Mad Max (which I've never seen). In this book, a pretty gritty world with a kind of post-apocalyptic feel which I don't usually see in MMORPGs. This is also the first LitRPG book I've read and definitely not

The book centers around Maddie, an NPC who accepts a quest in exchange for a lot of credits. I've never heard of an NPC taking quests so that was a new one for me. It seemed that in this world, NPCs have some degree of sentience. They are also aware of their "visitors" or players from the real world. The premise is very unique, especially seeing how aware Maddie is of her own programming.

The book is very short, clocking in at around a 100 pages, making it more like a novella. Still, it was pretty tightly paced and focused on the story which makes the world-building feel a bit lacking. The RPG mechanics aren't very well explained besides a health bar and some buffs.

What I enjoyed ultimately, is Maddie herself. She's very aware and tries to fight back against the personality and characteristics the programmers forced on her. Still, even though she does try to fight back, sometimes she simply cannot help it. I wonder if she's actually one of those NPCs who are supposed to be the player character's love interest?

The book is tightly focused on its narrative and the two characters. There is insta-love in this book which was explained as a consequence of Maddie's own nature as an NPC. That was very interesting since the insta-love here actually has a reason as to why it exists.

My main gripe here is that it's so short. It's more like an introduction to the world. Still, as an introduction, it does its job well enough to make me want to read more.

This review can also be found on The Bookworm Daydreamer