Anyone who is a fan of text based role play video games will geek out over “Lycopolis”. The story is about seven people who all play together in an online world created by a young man with a sinister ulterior motive. But when the demon they summon in game doesn’t stay there, the characters begin to adopt their online personas in the real world in order to fight a force they have difficulty believing in. The paranormal aspect of the story is fun and unique in and of itself, as the book switches a bit between what’s happening in the online realm and the real world, but I enjoyed the flawed characters, and the greyness around Seth, and Edwin most. I love sympathetic villains! I love heroes with dark pasts! Basically, I like characters who you can identify with, so no matter if they are doing good or bad things, you get where they are coming from and ache alongside them.
Now, I will say that when it comes to books, I’m a bit hard to scare. So while I didn’t personally find the paranormal creepiness of the story anything that would keep me up at night, I can see how the things present in this book could give someone the shivers. There is demon summoning and demonic forests, creepy wolves, plus adult themes around depression and bullying. If none of that bothers you—I found it to be pretty light in the story personally—then you should be good to go. I still wouldn’t classify this as appropriate for YA readers unless they are pretty mature, despite one of the characters being 14 years old. But I’d say New Adult fans would be more than fine with the content within these pages.
It’s really hard to talk about the book, because I don’t want to spoil anything, and honestly, the real treat for me was getting to know these characters. However, I will say that while I could see where Seth was coming from, his “tragic” backstory was the most flimsy, which made a lot of his later motivations seem a bit weaker, especially when compared to people like Mark and Edwin. That being said, I found Edwin to just be the most precious thing ever! This poor kid tries so hard to be “goth” and embrace his “weirdness” when deep down, he’s just this lonely boy who wants to be accepted and find his place in the world… He pulled all my heart strings! However, the fact that there are so many characters did mean that we didn’t get in depth with a lot of them, especially the characters that the reader should feel most attached to—Kay, Seth, Ed, and probably Mark. The inclusion of the other characters is fine, but that’s the problem: it was just fine. I didn’t care much for the other three, and thought Brandon had very little purpose in this particular book, though that may change later. Had some of the characters been combined, or their POV excluded, then perhaps the author would have had more opportunity to delve deeper in the main characters and expand on their backstories, and make their dialogue flow a bit better. It may have also freed some page time so some of the things about Kay could have been teased earlier. That way, come the end of the book, they didn’t feel like convenient devices used to battle the big baddie. I know, super vague, but like I said, I really don’t want to spoil anything!
Despite my minor issues, I do recommend this book. It’s unique and I found Edwin just so, so endearing. There is so much potential for Seth and Kay too that it makes me excited for the other books in the series as we get to see more of how they grow and develop. Luke has crafted a cast of complex characters where I genuinely cared about them and wanted all of them to be saved, or redeemed, all alongside an intriguing plot-line. Not an easy feat to do, but it’s handled nicely, especially as this is the first book in a series! “Lycopolis” itself is pretty much its own standalone book, the story and conflict presented in this novel is wrapped up well, where the sequels are more of following a cast of characters readers are already familiar with as they encounter new paranormal creepiness. Which is great! I love series where the individual books are complete stories in their own right. There is a lot going for this book and series in general, so even though I found some of the characters to be a bit weak, I still enjoyed the story which is why I am giving it 4 stars. I am eager to see what happens next, and thanks to the author for providing me with a copy for an honest review!
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