- Title: Second Skin: Fractures
- Authors: M Damon Baker
- Series: Second Skin, #1
- Genre: LitRPG Adventure, Fantasy
- Publishing Date: June 6th, 2019
- Publishing Co.: Indie
- Length: 538 pages
- Format: Kindle Unlimited, Paperback
- Acquired: I purchased a paperback copy from Amazon as a giveaway after reaching 2,000 Twitter followers
- Amazon Link: Second Skin: Fractures
A Computer-Generated Fantasy Gone Wrong…
In one final attempt to salvage the wreckage of my life, I stepped into a virtual reality chamber, searching for something, anything, that might make me want to live again. But when I emerged inside the virtual world of Second Skin, I immediately discovered that things had gone wrong—terribly wrong.
I was suddenly trapped in a strange place where nothing was what it seemed; unable to determine what was real… unsure of anything, including myself.
Hunted and alone in this harsh land, how will I survive?
And even more importantly, who the hell am I?
Final Judgment: 4.5 Stars out of 5
Trigger Warning: Contains adult language as well as graphic violence and sexual content/violence.
In this LitRPG novel, set in a medieval “world,” Dreya must figure out to survive as an outsider and hide her Deathless status from the world’s native inhabitants. Dreya, her screen name in this new world, started off as an old man, who had lost everything in his life that was important to him, including his own wife. In a final attempt to make his life meaningful again, he enclosed himself into a new virtual reality game system, which took his body and placed it into this new, supposedly virtual world. But something happened as he was crossing over, and now he is stuck in the world as his avatar, Dreya. Throughout the novel, the man, now Dreya, is searching for ways to survive in the unfamiliar world, as well as searching for who she truly is. Is she the same man that her body left behind in the real world? Or is she actually becoming Dreya herself?
I will admit that this is the very first litRPG that I have ever read. As such, most of the aspects of the genre are new to me in literary form, although I am very familiar with the language and role-playing nature of the book, as I am an avid mmorpg gamer in the real world. I also dabble in Dungeons and Dragons with my friends and family 🙂 As such, I really enjoyed this book. I loved the blending of gaming and reading, and really allowed me to fall easily into the book. But, I do want to mention that it was set up to allow non-gamers to easily fall into the book as well! It does a great job of explaining the stats and different aspects of the game, so even if you are not a big gamer, you can still enjoy this book.
I will also say that it was a very quick read. If you go with the print version, it looks a bit intimidating at over 500 pages… But a lot of that page space is actually taken up by the repetition of Dreya’s stats every so often. The language is also quick and easy, and thus makes the book go by very quickly. I would say that this would be closer to a 200-300 page read, in regards to the time I spent on it. That’s how quick it was.
“With a sudden sense of clarity, I realized that my mind was not trapped in a strange body. That wasn’t the issue at all. The truth of it was that I was in my real body and this was my real mind. There was no conflict–I was just haunted by the fractured memories of a dead man,” (pg 163).
Although I did really love the book, and will indeed be getting the rest of the series for myself (they’re on my Christmas list this year!), I did not give it a full 5 stars for a few reasons. The biggest reason is that I find the random gender reassignment to be practically meaningless and distracting. I can see how it helped move along Dreya’s sense of self and allow her to truly find herself, but it was just plain awkward in the beginning. It is also strange that Dreya never thinks about her daughter she left behind in the real world. I would have thought that she would have felt some sort of regret or sadness in abandoning her with no explanation.
Another reason is that the book is a bit aimless and boring in the beginning/middle, as we simply follow Dreya wandering around towns and forests, working up her stats. However, I can see how this is reminiscent of a game, where you have to put in the necessary, tedious hours of skill grinding. But, after that build up of her skills and the world-building itself, the novel became much more interesting as she had a reason for her quests and found companions to share her travels. I would bet that the next books are going to be even better, now that this first one has laid down the foundations!
M Damon Baker is a great author, and I am looking forward to reading the rest of his work. Luckily for me (and you!) he has been working so diligently this past year, that he already has books 1-4 out on Amazon, and his twitter says that he is currently in the process of drafting book 7 out of 8! I am READY.