Disclaimer: I purchased an ebook version of this novel at release, then acquired a hardcopy version in a book trade with the author, whom I consider a friend.
Once upon a time, I was one of THOSE World of Warcraft (WoW) players. Had a full-time job, but still spent 30 to 40 hours a week playing the game. Questing quietly was my favorite part, but as these things happen, I also ended up raiding four to five nights a week. These were my friends, my social circle, and my motivation. It wasn’t just a game, it was a lifestyle.
I’m pretty sure that The Resurrection Pact gave me flashbacks.
And as a recovering WoW addict, I could absolutely believe the gamers as the villains of the story. Winston Casey’s evolution from cancer patient getting back to normal life to accidental hero on a quest to help and rescue the downtrodden is merged with the craziness of a game and world even more ridiculous than WoW could ever be. Every time I thought I knew where the story was going, Casey and the other characters completely surprised me.
Though advertised (quite accurately) as a “geek noir thriller” on the cover, elements of this book also verge toward urban fantasy territory. But that depends on whether you view Casey as an unreliable narrator or not, and I definitely spent large portions of the novel wondering whether Casey was really seeing and experiencing some of the things he conveyed to the audience. It takes skill for an author to hook a reader with an unreliable narrator and still have them believe in most of the story, but Smith has it in spades.
The female characters in this novel tended toward the cliche, but to be fair, so did most of the secondary male characters. The book could have also done with another careful editing pass for minor inconsistencies and grammatical issues, but these did not intrude too heavily on my enjoyment of the story.
I’m not sure where the Winston Casey Chronicles Book 2 will take us, but I’ll be back to check in on Aeturnus and remind myself why my WoW days are far behind me.
Currently reading: Threading the Needle (Erenthrall #2) by Joshua Palmatier
Currently writing: 31,003/45k words (as of 9/2/17)