Today we have a novella by Eddie J Green, entitled Death and Doris: Episode 1 (Escape Terminal). Modeled after anime such as .hack and Sword Art Online, is it worth your time?
The story centers around Everett Hall, a teenager with a incurable disease. His life consists of bouts of chemotherapy and agonizing nausea. One day, however, he receives an offer from the Escape Terminal Foundation to transfer his consciousness to an MMORPG called New Terminal while they work on a cure.
So he finds himself in a fantasy-themed online game. He chooses his name ("Everett Death"), his class (Hexer), his appearance, stats and skills. At first, his time in New Terminal is very liberating since he feels no sickness there. He soon meets a Berserker named Doris Night who asks to team up. Since anyone who dies in this world loses all medical support from Escape Terminal Foundation, Everett agrees to the alliance. They waste no time getting to work fighting monsters and leveling up.
But they quickly get in over their heads when they take on a particularly tough enemy and are saved by a mysterious Assassin named Miro Shade. In order to repay him, they agree to take on a seemingly simple quest. The quest turns out to be a lot more complicated than they bargained for, and tough decisions will have to be made in order to complete it.
And even if they succeed, they'll discover a sinister network of player-killers threatening the lives of people like Everett and Doris who depend on medical treatments from Escape Terminal Foundation for their survival in the real world. But our heroes will have to decide who they can trust in a world where everyone has secrets.
Death and Doris has a good story that's held back by a few things. First, Everett is annoyingly emo and keeps spouting cringe-inducing lines such as "You can't outrun the Reaper. The name's Everett Death, now take it to your grave." This bit gets old really fast.
Second, this book was very poorly edited; punctuation errors abound and you'll be spotting them with alarming regularity.
But, as I said, it has a good story. Green has included all the trappings of an MMORPG and you'll feel like you're playing one as you read. Also, the players' collective plight of playing the game to receive medical treatments makes them sympathetic and relatable, even though some of them do horrible things to one another. I especially like the fact that the longer they play the game, the more real-world memories they lose, lending a double-edged aspect to their adventures.
This is supposed to be the first in a long series of books. I look forward to future entries and hope Green will get them properly edited and ditch Everett's lame dialogue. That's all it will take for this series to become great.