Character development is at the core of Continue Online and it is told (almost) entirely from the 1st person perspective of Grant Legate. After losing his fiance and burying himself in his job, he is given the prize of a life time, a chance to experience the hottest game on the planet as an Ultimate Edition player. Rather than launch into the game sword swinging and spells slinging, Grant goes at it slowly... very slowly. We get a good sense of who Grant is early on and how his character is (not) dealing with his trauma. As the story develops, so too does Grant's personality. He learns to enjoy life again, along with some rather heavy self discoveries.
Setting wise we swap between a fairly standard sci-fi future with self driving cars and robots and all the other stuff we've seen a million times, and a fairly standard fantasy MMO world. Only we barely get to see the world. We're supposed to infer that it is gigantic by the minute details of even the smallest characters. We literally get to see the day to day life of an NPC. But mostly we're just told that it's a really big world and we should be impressed by its size.
The narrative is slow. At times it meanders aimlessly, and at other times it takes three pages describing a game of pool. There is no action, and most of the character development actually comes through Grant living another person's life. It's an interesting concept, I just didn't really like how it was handled. In all honesty, I was bored for most of this read.
Continue Online has an interesting concept and a lot of good character interaction. If you are looking for a slow paced book about character introspection, with light litRPG elements, this one is for you. It wasn't for me.