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Karsyn's Kickass Jocoserious, Kooky, Jannock book blog: SOLARVERSIA by Toby Downton

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

SOLARVERSIA by Toby Downton

Solarversia by Toby Downton
Completed 07/29/15
5 of 5 stars
441 page book
Expected Publication ~ 8/31/15

I received this book from the author for my honest review.

I just finished reading Solarversia, and it was FANTASTIC!! Solarversia is a MUST read for fans of books like Ready Player One, Erebos and The Eye of Minds or fans of any type of gaming and virtual reality books. If you aren't at all interested in video gaming then this book isn't going to be for you. So far the reviews of this book seem to love it, with a few people disliking it. I saw one review that trashed the book because they didn't like the game. HELLO the cover says YEAR LONG GAME ~ if you aren't into video games don't read it. Geeeesh, I don't understand people.

Deep Breath!! Anyways, if you ARE a fan of gaming, then you're going to want to check this book out. Not only is it a great book but the author plans to create the actual game itself. All I can say to that, is that by the time 2020 comes around, I really really hope that VR rigs are affordable and I really really hope I have one because I want IN, I want to play this game, so much!! I've even though about what Grid Number I would want. Curious as to what I mean by that? Then READ THE BOOK!! The book was so much fun and I bet the game would be even better.

Now, I rated this book 5 stars but I'm not going to say it was without flaws. There were definitely some parts that I didn't like, but the overall story and the amazing games in it was good enough to warrant a 5 star rating ~ higher if I could. This is, once again, a book that I wish I could rate the different parts.

Solarversia is a book about a year long virtual reality game, and while 70% (or so) of the book is the actual game play, there are 3 major plot lines going on. One is of Nova and her game play which is the driving force behind the book. Nova is a flawed character, she isn't perfect like you see some characters in books today. She's often bitchy and selfish and sometimes you flat out don't like her. But she always ends up seeing the errors of her ways, even if it takes a while and we watch her grow through the book. The game play and the working on the game play were my favorite aspects of the book, by far. I didn't care about seeing the rest of her life story, especially the romance which felt forced. I would have LOVED if it wasn't in it at all, as I didn't care for his character and it didn't feel right. It feels almost as added as an afterthought to get some more females interested in the book. It definitely wasn't needed. Any female gamers, like myself, is going to be all about the gaming aspect and not care at all about the personal parts of the book. It didn't distract from the book, but I would have enjoyed it a little more if it wasn't there. Besides, she was with the wrong guy. The best kind of love is the love of a best friend. :) But that's just my own personal opinion (and experience) shining in there.

The 2nd of the major plot lines was from the developers of the game. The character we saw most there was likable enough, flawed in his ways too. The story told through this storyline enhanced the story by giving the background of some of the games or insights on how they came up with the puzzles and challenges in the games. Though the flashes into this part of the story did take us out of the almost non-stop action of the game, it only helped with the enjoyment of the game.

The 3rd and final plot line was that of the terrorist organization determined to bring the games, and a lot of civilization, down. This story line was the ONLY thing about the book that I didn't like. If it had been just the attacks, without the look in at the organization, then it would have been fine, would have kept the action moving with this scary unknown group causing chaos. Unfortunately, that's not how it was done in the book. Instead, we get a view into the group from a newly joined member, and I extremely disliked every moment of that part of the book, to the point where I started skipping those parts in the middle of the book. They added nothing to the book whatsoever and they halted the action from the main storyline. I'd be going along with Nova, all excited for her and rooting her on and then it'd switch to the terrorist group and everything would just slow down for a bit. If I could change anything about the book it wouldn't be to take out the group completely, the attacks would still happen, but it would be to not see in though the eyes of a character. It'd be so much better if it was a mystery to us, like it was a mystery to everyone else. My only other thoughts on it were that I wish the book had ended with Nova, not as the book did end.

My strong dislike of this 3rd storyline thankfully didn't take away from my overall enjoyment of the book. The gaming aspect of this book was fantastic. The author really went outside of the box on creating all the aspects of Solarversia, which extends beyond just the game. He went on to give incredible detailed background of the many creatures that Nova met along the way, as well as facts about the game, the planets and more. The gaming in Solarversia was a mix of mind and body, with ways to learn and practice along the way. The puzzles and challenges in the game were ever changing and interesting, with so many different things going on.

Overall, I definitely loved this book, and I look forward to following the progress of it. I hope that it is something that is created, because I'll try to be first in line, if I am able. While I absolutely LOVE gaming, I'm in no way great at it, so I know I wouldn't last half as long as Nova did, but I certainly would give it a try. I think it would be an absolutely FANTASTIC game and even if it is never to be, the book definitely has put a smile on my face and will keep one there for a while.

I highly recommend this book to gaming fans, you won't be disappointed!! I hope you'll check it out!

Setting = A++
Plot = A++
Conflict = B+
Characters = A
Theme = A++

Press Kit

About Solarversia
Drawn into an epic year-long virtual reality game, eighteen-year- old Nova finds her life fractured and her strength tested as she fights to become the last player standing in this action-packed novel inspired by the revolutionary Oculus Rift – and written by a groundbreaking digital innovator who is already turning fiction into reality.

In the year 2020, London-based gaming company Spiralwerks will launch their ambitious year-long virtual reality game, Solaversia. Over 100 million players from around the world, each given a unique number in The Player’s Grid that corresponds to their individual profile, will compete against each other across the solar system to be the last person standing and win the £10 million grand prize. Nova Negrahnu and her friends Burner and Sushi cannot wait to start playing. But when an international terrorist organisation sets its sights on the game and it’s creator, Nova finds her life turned upside down, as the line between simulation and reality blurs. Can she navigate between playing the game, coping with all the issues an eighteen-year-old girl faces and avoid the very real and present danger mounting outside Solaversia?

The world of virtual reality is about to fundamentally reshape the way in which we live, work and play. The Oculus Rift — the much-lauded and potentially transformational VR headset, which broke crowdfunding records in 2012, and was recently acquired by Facebook for $2 billion — is scheduled to launch in early 2016. While its most obvious impact will hit the world’s 700 million plus gamers, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg believes the potential VR impact to be far more profound: “Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face – just by putting on goggles in your home.”

The relatively new genre of virtual reality inspired science fiction, centred around the gaming industry is booming, with Ernest Cline’s bestseller Ready Player One already in production for a major movie adaptation with Spielberg directing. Downton is emerging as a driving force in the VR revolution. His novel Solaversia is just the first step in his thrillingly ambitious multi-platform story-telling experience that will explore the relationships between artificial intelligence, technology and the human spirit. Downton will be incorporating his tech-company – Spiralwerks – in the real world, developing Solarversia as a commercially available game, ready to storm the games market in 2020. Accompanying the publication of the Solarversia book, A Golden Ticket promotion will be launched this year, enabling games enthusiasts to win 100 specially reserved places within the Player’s Grid, through competitions, charity auctions and book sales.

About the author
: Toby Downton lives in North London and is head of business development at Matter, a digital innovation consultancy he co-founded. He has previously worked at the London Stock Exchange and has also lived in Australia. Solarversia by Toby Downton (published by CreateSpace, RRP £8.99 paperback, RRP £2.99 ebook) will be released 31st August 2015, and will be available to purchase at online retailers including

If you have read this far, then I'm going to tell you about something else. YOU can get Solarversia right now!! Just head to and sign up for the newsletter and an ebook will be emailed to you!! You can also do as I am, and take part in the Book Blogger Promotion to spread the word about Solarversia ~ both the book and the *crosses fingers* game.

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