My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Bekka is fighting for her life when her brother Travis convinces her to help him and his friends win at a boss level on an online MMORPG. They had no idea a glitch in the system would send their party of five spiraling into the game itself. Their lives are forever changed as they struggle to stay alive, keep their identities secret and find a way back to their reality, if there’s even a reality left to go back to.
The words that escaped my mouth while reading the first few chapters of Embellished were “holy fuck!” I cringed a lot with jaw dropped, and it kept my heart racing. It was shocking to me that such a pretty book hides such a vicious fantasy world inside, but I guess that’s what I get for judging a book by it’s cover.
I was pleasantly surprised how face paced this was because the book is a lot longer than I anticipated it would be, but I’m glad the story wasn’t rushed. The characters never get too much of a break before the next conflict, which makes for an exciting adventure.
Embellished reminds me so much of the anime show, Sword Art Online (SAO), but also reminds me of Kiersten Fay’s Demon’s Possession and Lizzy Ford’s WEST: History Interrupted. There’s a LOTR feel to it at times too, but the author did a great job of making the story her own.
I highly recommend this book to everyone, especially those who love paranormal romance, though, there’s a trace of sci-fi fantasy here, which was refreshing and fun.
…possible spoilers below…
*note: my critiques don’t usually affect my star rating, unless the book is a mess to begin with. These are just my opinions, and hopefully taken as constructive criticism.*
I felt there were times when some of the character names were overused, especially in the dialogue. We have to remind ourselves of how often we would say a friend’s name while speaking directly to them. It’s not as often as you would think, unless you’re talking about them to someone else. While there were moments when a character needed to repeat the person’s name, there were other times when it was redundant.
The formality of dialogue between the teens and the game characters is something I couldn’t stop thinking about throughout the entire book.
Bekka, Travis, and Matt are modern teens, who don’t belong in this world, so they wouldn’t automatically be speaking formally to some of the game characters. And, if I remember correctly, Bekka’s 18 at the time, right? Even at 27, I don’t say, “I best be going” or use the word, “wereabouts,” and I’ve never uttered the phrase, “that really smarts” (which did make me giggle. I re-read that sentence three times before I finally got over the use of it). Instead I say, “I gotta go,” “shit, that hurts,” and “he’ll be looking for me.” I think this simple change would make the main characters more relatable. It’s one thing for the Stouts to tell them to change their clothes and hide who they are to stay safe, but it’s not as believable if they immediately act and talk like the other characters around them, since their behavior should set them apart from those characters.
I kept waiting for one of them to fuck up and say something they weren’t suppose to say. I kept wondering how difficult it would be to keep a secret like that and not let something slip, especially since the way I walk and talk would probably be just as strange as the way I dress. They would know something is up immediately. Someone close to them would have to be suspicious of their behavior too, not just the Stouts, who were able to point out the difference pretty quickly.
There were a few random paragraph or formatting issues. Not catastrophic. Just noticed it. There were pauses, breaks, and sentence separation that lacked the correct punctuation at times, and an overuse of the ellipsis (…), in my opinion.
Overall, I loved this book and plan on getting the second ASAP!
I bought this book via amazon for my own enjoyment.