Book Review: Lycopolis by Ali Luke

Set (mostly) in England, the contrast of a current, high tech world and ancient, primeval powers provides a thrilling and thought-provoking journey. The story plays out in parallel, with a group of role-playing gamers who find themselves in a story thread that becomes horrifyingly, real.

Seth, the creator of the game Lycopolis, has a dark secret and he uses the game to draw people into his mad experiment. His assistant, Kay, becomes aware that something is off and must work within the game and in real life to defeat Seth’s plan and save her friends.

It is not a simple tale of good versus evil, or even “real life” versus role playing. The author explores themes of depression, family, and deceit while taking the reader on a page-turning ride.

Aside from the intriguing premise, I bought this book because:

1. Ali Luke writes great blog posts.

Thus, she had already established trust. Yes, fiction is different than non-fiction, but I still knew she could write.

2. I am passionate about supporting indie authors, particularly those that write any form of fantasy.

Indie authors face an uphill battle. While they may be turning out books that are as good or better than those traditionally published, the expectations are that traditional=quality and indie=crap-shoot. Fantasy is my favorite genre, and if I could find a way to just read fantasy all the time, I would. Now that authors can get their work out there sans “gatekeepers” I will never hurt for fantasy tales. As a reader, writer, and editor, I feel a responsibility to help the good stuff rise to the top.

3. The price was right.

At $2.99 for an instant download to my Kindle app, I didn’t have to think twice about purchasing it. I had high expectations going in but knew there would be something to learn no matter what.

As an editor, I look for what I would have suggested to strengthen the story, and in this case I only have a couple of thoughts. While the plot was solid and the characters believable, I wanted more time with the heroine, Kay. I also found the use of bold text to represent the game world a bit much; I think a simple font change and headline would have been less disruptive. These are very picky, subjective notes, and I still highly recommend this book and congratulate the author on a job well done.

This book was absolutely worth the price of admission, and I am pleased that there will be more in the series.

*Shaking my affie-taffy.

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