Review of Shards by James V. Viscosi

See full issue for 2017 05-29

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

The Links

More about Shards on UBR

The Reviewer

Steve Wetherell

Visit Steve Wetherell‘s website.

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