Friday, September 11, 2015

Humor, gamer culture, sex, violence, exploding bluebirds...more, please!

Forging Day by Noelle Alladania Meade

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'Forging Day' doesn't lend itself to to easy categorization. It's not a romance, lesbian or otherwise. It's not pure erotica. Ti's not post-apocalyptic. That said, it does include elements of all three genres. When we meet Olivia, the narrator, she is unemployed, living off the kindness of her friends and the generosity of her sister, and scraping the bottom of the barrel for boyfriends. She's not a bad person, but she is broken. Over the course of the book, she, like the Shards of Narsil, is reforged into strength and purpose.

There's a bit of dialog that captures the flavor of Olivia's transformation:

“Oh my god, Berto. We’re noobs. We’re not even first level adventurers. We’re those idiots trying to figure out the tutorial— and I always skip the tutorial. . . . when I dreamed about becoming a fantasy adventurer, I was always a max-level character with epic gear. Look at me. I’m wearing vendor trash.”

Thankfully, Olivia, like countless other low-level adventurers, has a party backing her up. Her friends have abilities of their own and are learning to use them as well. As with any ensemble cast, most get only the screen time and storyline they need to have, not what they ideally should have. Developing the secondary characters would have added a lot to the story, but I think it would have lessened the urgency and tension the plot needs.
Less of a flying rat and more of a flying hand grenade.

Olivia's romantic relationships are a significant part of the story, especially in the first chapter. In online gaming terms, Chapter One is a gear check for the reader. Make it through to the end (and I mean the entirety of the chapter) and you're in good shape for the rest of the story. The author handles a rough scene with great skill, and the reader becomes invested in Olivia almost at once. The other sex scenes in the book are nicely fun and sweaty. Olivia doesn't get magic items as she levels up but she does get magic moments.

Obviously this is the first book of a planned series, and I can't wait to pick up the next one.

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