“Gamer for Life” is the first book in the “Alpha World” series. At the time of this review, both book one and book two are available in audio format. Book three is scheduled for release near the end of 2017. The series is written by Daniel Schinhofen and the Audible narration is performed by Peter Berkrot; who is a seasoned veteran in the audiobook narration arena. The book is classified as a contemporary science fiction piece, and best categorized in the Literary Role-Playing Game (LitRPG) genre. In a very crowed and growing category, this book attempts to stand out by adding a few unique elements that people either enjoy or greatly dislike. The story feels polarizing, and by looking at other reviews, it becomes clear this is because of the author’s focus on a darker, seedier, and quite adult world. If you are at all offend by the use of strong language or blatant sexual subject matter, I cannot recommend this book to you. It is at times quite explicit and mature, so I would only recommend it for adult readers who are not put off by this type of content.
One of the more important aspects of any good serialized story is to provide your characters with a good backstory along with the important character development as they level up. I felt the author spent a large amount of time setting up the world, the characters, and the situation, but when you finished the book you found yourself still wanting more. With some book that feeling of wanting more is a good thing by way of cliff hangers, etc. In this book, it just seemed like the author was setting the listener up to buy the second half of the story containing all the good stuff. I would have enjoyed the book more if all the development was done alongside important sub-plots or other actions which I felt lacking. I will say that I found a few unique and interesting unexpected twists such as the reason the game was created and why the main character was selected to participate. Instead of our character enhancing himself in the game, we often see him devolve into making the wrong choices and having to face the consequences; like with his physical life. I did enjoy some of the interaction between the main character and a few of the other players, but this was often overshadowed by the more erotic and adult direction the book turns in the second half. There were some humors and light-hearted characters; with Bob being one of my favorites.
The books narration by Peter Berkrot is spot on. His ability to voice and remember multiple characters and their personalities shone quite well in this book. The audio quality was excellent and professionally performed. I cannot recall any audio artifacts that pulled me out of the story while listening. I have a few other books by this narrator, and all of them are of the highest quality narration. You can tell when someone knows their material and when someone is simply reading; Mr. Berkrot knowns his material.
In summary, this book seems to ride a fine line with one food in the LitRPG camp and the other in an erotic romance novel. If you are not expecting it, I can understand why some people were put off when they encountered it. The author does include a small disclaimer for the second book of the series, but nothing warning listeners of the more mature content found in this book. If you are planning on finishing a series to answer a book’s story, and you can get past a few of the more erotic and vulgar aspects, you may want to think about picking up this book. I just feel there are many other less adult-centric books in the genre that you might want to grab something else instead.
Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.