Choices are tough b!tches. Even when you have someone worth fighting for. I'm Jake Russel, and good luck doesn’t knock on my door often. I live in a world without angels or demons, miracles or magic—born with a genetic disease, I lost the use of my legs a few years ago. And now, I need exactly $657,800 to save someone I love. Someone who made a few bad decisions. That's why I signed up for ISTORIA ONLINE, the biggest video game competition of all time. To win the jackpot. I knew the catch: The game devs would test their avant-garde, premium capsule on me. Hardcore setting. Full immersion. Maximum pain levels. And a chance for a medical breakthrough I so desperately need. Starting in a Single-player campaign, I must gather my warband and survive in the harsh world of piracy, tribal warfare, and slave trading... not to mention ISTORIA's cruel mind games. Some choices are easy. Others—not so much. Will I choose right under pressure? Will I survive long enough to advance to Multi-player and compete for the main prize? https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SLPLHSL *** This is the (greatly overhauled!) 2nd edition. The 1st edition got okay-ish reviews on GoodReads (3.88, as seen here), and rather harsh reviews on Amazon (below 3 stars on average). In particular, @Conor Kostick reviewed the 1st ed. on reddit (here) and noted "Despite this excellence in craft, I wasn't particularly engaged by the book." Time permitting, I'll put together a more detailed post about the changes made (specially about the topics that seemed like good idea, but clearly weren't... since science demands it! =), but in short the 2nd. Edition attempts to keep the "well written" part while addressing the "yet boring" complaints Some parameters, to help potential readers decide if this is their cup of tea: > This is a VR-MMO story; the begining sticks to the usual tropes of this sub-subgenre (cash-strapped MC joins game hoping to win a lot of money), although it avoids a couple of others (nobody is trapped in-game, dying in-game does not mean death out-of-game, etc). Having said that, except the first chapter the whole story happens while the MC is logged in (i.e. the MC has strong out-of-game motivations, which affect the plot, but the story takes place while the MC is logged). > First person; mixes present and past tense for a specific narrative purpose (one of the things that earned the 1st edition a "well done!" from Conor) > No harems, although the 2nd ed. ramped up the sexual tension when compared with the 1st. > MC is not OP, although the 2nd ed. MC is stronger and more assertive (also a bit more jaded and cynical) when compared with the 1st (since this was one of the main gripes of most critical reviews on Amazon).