Before I get into the review I just want to mention Awaken Online Book 1 and 2 were my first two books in the LitRPG genre. I have to say I knew nothing about this genre until Paul introduced me to it and invited me to join a great forum on Facebook called LitRPG Society. I highly suggest checking it out if your interested in this type of genre. That being said let’s jump into the review of Awaken Online: Catharsis by Travis Bagwell.
Jason is just your average kid, except with one exception. He goes to a private school called Richmond, which is intended for the very wealthy. Jason’s parents are Environment Lawyers and I assumed you figured it out, don’t make a lot of money. Trees can’t exactly foot the bill now can they? They however pulled all there savings and pulled some strings to get Jason into Richmond, which many students and staff included did not appreciate. For this reason, Jason was constantly bullied and harassed mainly by the books antagonist Alex. This guy is the definition of an asshole for lack of a better term. He’s your stereotypical meathead, “I’m better than you” type of character which is great in it’s own sense because you really get to hate him. He uses his families wealth and power to extremes and does whatever he wants and his father just throws money at the problem to make it go away. Alex also suffers from issues stemming inside of him from things that happened in the past which his father – George Lane thinks is the cause of his outbursts. Jason does have some friends at Richmond, there all not out to get him. His closest friend is Frank and although she may not be considered much of a friend yet, Riley.
Events unfold at the school causing a certain situation between Alex and Jason, which ultimately gets Jason expelled. Without getting into too much for spoiler reasons, I will leave it at that. This gives him plenty of time to explore the world of Awaken Online through his VR headset. Upon entering the game, he goes through the typical character creation, and tutorial where he meets “The Old Man” and is given an ultimatum at the end which is just the beginning of his character and class development. Jason is determined to be better than Alex, who of course also plays the game and is known as Alexion. Jason is well aware in the beginning that Alexion is a very high level character and it will take dedication and time to better him and some luck. Which leads him to his first town of Lux where he meets Rex, Jerry and eventually Morgan and from there the story really starts to come alive! I won’t spoil anything from here so get on Amazon and read it!
The characters in this book are very well done. You even grow to appreciate Alex in a certain sense. It’s an interesting take on a book considering Jason plays the “Villain” and he’s the main character, you don’t see that very often and I really got into it. Riley and Frank play great supporting roles with much more expanded roles in Book 2. NPCS in the game such as Rex and Morgan are very well done. Rex trains the newbies and Morgan plays the Necromancer class but of course there is MUCH more to those two that you’ll have to read to find out about! Can’t leave out Onyx, Jason’s pet cat! Yes he has a pet cat but there is much more to this cat than you think. Claire and Robert – employees of Cerillion Entertainment, Robert is the lead engineer for Cerillion Entertainment and personally headed the design and development of the controller AI known as “Alfred” and Claire is one of the higher ups. Robert is the typical goofy engineer, who is carefree and enjoys his job. Claire on the other hand is the complete opposite. She is very strict, follows the rules and takes everything very serious. It’s very interesting relationship in the book to say the least.
I thoroughly enjoyed how well Travis kept you engaged with strong character development, world building, and motivations for each character in the book. He was very detailed in explaining what each skill did and what happened when the level was increased and how stat points were distributed. The story revolves around Jason picking an evil race because he feels like an outcast and his choice was a reflection of his personalty not the typical pick and choose as you see in most MMOs. Travis also does an excellent job of keeping the real world and AO separate. You can always tell when your in the real world or in AO.
As a newbie myself to this type of genre but not new to MMOs, I knew I was going to enjoy this. This book is very well done and from glancing at the forums I am definitely not the only one. Everyone is very excited and can’t wait for book 3. Currently there are 2 books in the series and Travis has stated there will be at least Book 3 with a possibility of a Book 4. I know I am excited and I recommend this book to anyone who wants to give this genre a try. I promise you, you won’t regret it. Pick this book up already!
Rating : 5/5