Otherworld by Jason Segel, Kirsten Miller
Published by Delacorte Press on October 31st 2017
Series: Otherworld #1
Genres: Fiction, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Length: 355 pages Source: Borrowed from Another Source
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The company says Otherworld is amazing—like nothing you’ve ever seen before. They say it’s addictive—that you’ll want to stay forever. They promise Otherworld will make all your dreams come true.
Simon thought Otherworld was a game. Turns out he knew nothing. Otherworld is the next phase of reality. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted.
And it’s about to change humanity forever. Welcome to the Otherworld. No one could have seen it coming.
I think I need to come to terms with the fact that gaming books are not going to be a great genre for me.
And that kills me because I LOVE IT when it’s done right. But when it’s not… I feel like I spend a lot of time going “you imbecile, NOBODY calls them ‘non-player characters’!!!” or flailing that nobody has a gorram health potion and OMG do writers not research MMORPGs before writing about them please just stop.
Otherworld was super frustrating for me. First of all, I wanted to like it because I like Jason Segel as an actor. Obviously this is the WORST reason to decide a book will be good – I am an excellent maker of cookies but not a trustworthy sports correspondent, so not all skills are equal even in talented people. Secondly, I am still looking for something that pulls me in like Ready Player One and the comparisons are endless.
One small good thing – the transitions in writing were flawless. I have no idea what will written by Miller, and what was written by Segel. They flow perfectly together.
That’s all I’ve got on the “I liked it” scale. So lets talk about what didn’t work.
The characters. I hated Simon. I was not for one moment invested in his success or happiness. People dying for him? People helping him? I DO NOT CARE. He was a self-absorbed asshole completely obsessed with his gangster grandfather who treated other people like they were trash (especially his parents) and talked about his nose a lot. And Kat? Kat was barely introduced and wasn’t that likable either, so I wasn’t invested in that odd love story. I got to like Busara a bit, and Marlow as well. I would have been so much more invested if Busara and Marlow were the MCs. They had motive and were better rounded characters. Simon and Kat made very little sense (especially Simon) but Busara and Marlow? Yes. I love them, they belong, I even ship them a little.
Then, as someone who has played MMORPGs for most her life, Otherworld itself is just wrong. The lingo is wrong, the gameplay is wrong, the in-game character behavior is wrong. For example – how in the WORLD could a handful of total n00bs cross a PVP sandbox without getting mugged by level 60s? There were no potions, no leveling… there was literally NO in-game motivation for these characters. No skills to train. People don’t run around killing things for lols – they do it for loot and leveling. The complete lack of structure, even in a sandbox world, made the setting totally unbelievable for me.
The story, at the bottom of it all, was about a bunch of evil people uprooting a corporation to leverage a new technology for the sake of progress and money. Nothing new, not really. The foundation for an interesting (if not entirely original) story is all there, but I couldn’t appreciate it because of the cartoon-like villains, shallow characters, and poorly researched world. I think that people with a little less time spent in a traditional MMORPG could enjoy this book. If you like high action, or conspiracies, you’ll probably enjoy it.
Otherworld just didn’t do it for me.