The Family: The Brotherhood
By Donte M McNeal

Based in Michigan, Donte's Playground is a blog by Donte M McNeal. His posts range from nonsensical ramblings about anime, in-depth reviews of books and television/film, to random spurts of philosophical babble.

Hell's Glitch Spoiler Review

Hell's Glitch Spoiler Review

Ok, so I've been following Mr. Wright since his debut, Average Joe & the Extraordinaires, and while his first book wasn't as good as I wanted it to be, I saw potential. He followed that up with a short story about intergalactic battles which I enjoyed immensely. And now, here we are at Hell's Glitch, a story reminiscent of Dark Souls in many ways. There will be spoilers throughout. Anyway, let's get to it!

In Hell's Glitch, we have Sam who is a game tester tasked with testing a mysterious and overly secretive full-immersion virtual reality game only known as Project DH. It's chocked full of creative monsters (who earn just as creative nicknames from our MC), a detailed world and a dark shadow looming over the project as a whole. What is that shadow? It is none other than the “genius” Fulton Milner, a heartless bastard who has shady goals, for a game that becomes all too real for its players. More on that later.

We start the story with a great look at the friendship of Sam and his best friend Robert. You get to see what type of people they are before they're thrown into the setting promised by the premise. And I must say, they seem like some pretty chill dudes. Their relationship is believable and relatable, two qualities any relationship needs to have in order to get the reader to connect/care.

Once we get into Project DH, things get even more entertaining. I might not know much about the LitRPG genre (okay I know nothing about the genre, and this is my first foray into the LitRPG genre) but the game aspect of the book was easily the best part of the story. It’s an immersive game with interesting enemies and NPCs, as well as other interesting players that Sam interacts with. I found myself in the mood for a good RPG myself after reading this one.

Sam, or Sarem's adventures in the game make up the majority of the story, with real life segments peppered throughout. I really enjoyed the in real life (irl) stuff though, especially when it had to do with Alex (who was my favorite irl character). With the addition of these segments, you see the other consequences of what happens in the game.

Alex is one of the game designers, and she’s assigned to none other than our MC, Sam. She has other beta testers she looks out for, but we mainly see her helping Sam since the story revolves around him. You see them develop a friendship fairly quickly, and even though the time seems to pass quickly, their relationship develops realistically, and you can’t help but believe their easy back and forth and hope for the best in their budding friendship. And I did, until Milner forced the project to advance prematurely.

And of course, this turned out to be the thing that would put a damper on the Alex/Sam relationship, and break the trust that was built between the two. You see, Milner had somehow arranged for the game’s log out function to be disabled, and in addition to that, when a player dies in the game, they die in real life. Talk about a game over, huh?

And to make matters worse, in the game, players are able to invade each other’s games (planes) and kill one another. This of course results in players going to the other player’s planes and killing each other. This is all before Milner’s tomfoolery with the real life deaths was announced, but it revealed that most who were killed in game died irl as well. This is a big blow to Sam, because he ends up killing quite a few players and has to live with that. I won’t say who he kills, because there are quite a few, but just know that these kills weigh heavily on him emotionally once he learns how they affect real life.

Hell's Glitch is ripe with emotional moments of both triumph and failure and characters that jumped off the page (Kalika, one of the other players was a beast and I wish I saw more of her. Hopefully she shows up more in the inevitable sequel). It boasts a world that could hold countless stories. It was an immensely enjoyable read; I'm most definitely looking forward to the sequel.

A Modern Day Homage to 90s Shounen Anime

A Modern Day Homage to 90s Shounen Anime

Welcome One & All!