The Beginning of "Strings"
May 8, 2012
Audience Adult, Young Adult
Format Book Length Manuscript
Type General Fiction
Word Count 100-120k (average/long)

Editing, Production, Marketing & Sales

Published Through Amazon Createspace – KDP
Additional services through IngramSpark (for non-Amazon distribution)

Reviewed on May 29, 2017

Review by Steve Wetherell

The Rundown

When tough-girl Mercy and her not-so-tough friend Bernard get magically transported into a video game world of might and magic, they soon find themselves on opposing sides of a cold war between Elves and Dwarves. Mercy and Bernard must find each other if they want to find a way home, but there’s a problem- the lines between their true selves and the video game characters they embody are becoming blurred, and the priorities of the fantasy world are pushing back against their desire to escape.

They must take up a quest to find and protect magic stones, which may have the power to save the strange new world, and perhaps even their own.

The Recommendation

Author James V. Viscosi writes a more than capable Fantasy, breathing new life into familiar staples of the genre, while throwing in a few of his own unique and interesting spins on swords and sorcery. The writing is particularly strong, with robust characters that stride confidently through vivid landscapes, marching to the steady beat of the plot.

Viscosi has a confident handle on the action, and Shards is packed with fight scenes that move fluidly and never outstay their welcome. There’s also an enthusiastic exploration of the magical underpinning of his world, without ever being so deep as to bog down the pace.

The concept of real-world children being sucked into what they think is a video game world is perhaps under-exploited, with little regard given to their former life other than a desire to get back to it as soon as possible (in one case) or not at all (in the other.) Shards is a missed opportunity to be stand out litRPG, that settles comfortably in to a well-written heroic fantasy.

Shards is an easy-to-read page turner that will appeal to fantasy fans and, bar a few instances of sexual peril, is suitable for young readers.

The Rating Reviewer Rating: 4 Stars

4 Stars (out of 5): Recommended. For the right audience, this book is a great read. It can hold its own against any traditionally published novel in its genre.

The Pros & Cons

Pros: Dialogue, Prose, Strong World-Building

Author’s Summary

Mercedes has always found escape from the tedium of daily life in fantasy books and, especially, in games, where she can enter another world and become Ambrosia the Sorceress, wielder of powerful spells. After one too many afternoons in detention, she returns home to find that someone has left a new computer adventure game in her mailbox. Mercy and her friend Bernard take an unauthorized day off to try it out, only to discover that the game has literally fulfilled its promise that they will leave their mundane world behind. In a realm of elves and dwarves and stranger things, forced into a quest to recover a powerful magical artifact, they soon learn that they’re not the only ones seeking the prize, and that ― when you can’t set the keyboard aside and walk away ― a game is no longer a game. It’s something like life.

Short Description

A game is only a game if you can stop playing when you want to.


Choose your character wisely.

Additional Links

Visit the Official Website
Find it on Goodreads
Like it on Facebook

You might also like...