The Luckless is the first book in the Second Age of Retha series by A.M. Sohma, a pseudonym for K.M. Shea, who is most well known for writing a fairy tale and romance stories. From her writing background, it actually came as a bit of a surprise that I quite enjoyed reading this LitRPG.
For those of you who don’t know, LitRPG stands for Literature Role Playing Games, a loosely famous example of this is Ready Player One. I’ll be honest, although I’m a gamer, LitRPG is not the kind of genre I usually read, because well, I prefer playing the games rather than read the book. I do however love some anime which made this genre more famous like .hack franchise and Sword Art Online.
Knowing that these anime are also the inspirations for this book, I know it’s something I will enjoy and I certainly did, with a few improvements it would even be something that I love even more. Like the anime I mentioned earlier, the plot of this book started off mostly the same, Kit, our main character, was prank by her cousin into playing the MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games), The Chronicles of Retha, only to find out that after logging in, she can’t log out of the game because of a software malfunction. The only probability of escaping from the game is to defeat the ultimate legendary boss that no one has ever beaten. Yes, very similar to SAO, the differences is that, where SAO features a super strong main character, in this case, Kit has to use the worst possible kind of job class, a dancer Elf because her cousin hacked her account.
If you’re looking for something grand and epic, this is not a book for you. There is nothing amazing here, nothing new, and nothing epic. The Luckless isn’t that kind of book, it’s written to be a fun story and in my opinion, it successfully delivered its purpose on this aspect. The prose and the world-building are also a pleasant surprise for me. Well written, simple and easy to read, there are no typos, and the world was portrayed vividly, with short and concise details on the rules and terminologies used in MMORPG.
I do have two cons with the book, one that I think the future book in the series could improve. First, as I said before, Kit was pranked by her cousin into playing the game, but the prank itself is very insane. Her cousin is an employee of the company that made the game, but he drugged her with sleeping pills, hacked her account, only for the sake of a prank? That’s just downright insane, what kind of cousin used his authority as an employee and use sleeping pills to their own cousin? If I have a cousin like that I’ll beat and sue the hell out of him. I just think the way Kit got stuck into the game is a bit illogical because her cousin sounds like a total criminal at this rate.
For the other one, this is totally just my preferences and I admit, this is why I prefer playing video games than watch or read LitRPG. There’s always this one problem in the genre, and that is the lack of tension in the story. I know that this is designed to be a fun story, but I always prefer the stuff I read to have tension and a sense of danger in it. Sword Art Online faced this problem too, for those of who didn’t watch it, in this anime, the repercussion of dying in the game is that the player will instantly fall into a coma or die in real life. Yeah, it’s pretty bad and dangerous, we all know how easy we could die in video games, but after the first 14 episodes, that plot device has been used and finished, which make all episodes after that just gamers playing with no repercussion. I found myself feeling bored because of the lack of tension. This book is the same, the characters can die limitlessly only to respawn again, which makes the concept of death almost pointless and killed the tension. A character dies? Oh don’t worry, he/she will respawn again, repeat. As far as I know, .hack series is the only series to use this kind of plot device right, with the characters having the chance to fall into an endless coma, and it was incredibly hard to find the solution. Again, these are my preferences only, doesn’t change my opinion that this is still a fun book to read.
It’s nice to read this kind of book once in a while after your hectic day. It made me missed my MMORPG days which I quitted because of how toxic the communities has become now, and this book somehow brings back that nostalgic feeling of how peaceful most gaming communities back then. Coming back home after school, can’t wait to go back online to play again with your IRL friends or make new friends. If you love Ready Player One, call yourself a gamer and a reader, this could be a book for you to read anytime you feel like taking a break from your serious story read. I’ll remind you once again, LitRPG is not a genre I usually read, the high chance is that you’ll enjoy it even more than me.