Welcome, one and all, to another MDM Projects book review. This time around I’ve been diving back into Belart Wright’s LitRPG series, Hell’s Glitch. Having fallen behind with it a bit, I’m only book two, which is Glitch Fiends Part One. By way of disclosure, I did not request a review copy of this particular book, but picked it up a copy on Kindle myself. I like Belart’s work in general and I felt that book one was sadly overlooked in the genre. Something I hadn’t realised until I read the novel was that Belart also gave a shout out to my Spark Form Chronicle series at the back of the book, which I am very grateful for, so thank you for that!
Background: Detroit born Belart Wright is the author of multiple books, including the aforementioned AJatE, The Story of K, Liandra and the Dream Reader, Psy Hunters, and Hell’s Glitch: Into a Dark Adventure.
Picking up where book one left, the book follows Sam Nagai as he tries to find a way out of the virtual world in which he has been trapped. Unfortunately, just as Sam has started getting to grips with the way the game works, he is faced with a system overhaul. Then, something far darker than anything Sam has faced so far infiltrates the game …
The Good: Okay, so let’s start with the system overhaul. As is covered in a message from the author at the back of the book, Into A Dark Adventure was criticised for leaning too heavily on its Dark Souls influence. Now, there was obviously more to come to differentiate it from said game, but that may have been a hard sell all things considered. I already praised Belart’s work in creating the game system in book one, and this new version has at least as much work put in. Throughout the story, we see character classes, stat modification, item descriptions and more, all adding to the VR-MMORPG feel of the world. In particular I think that this deserves praise because while Belart had a plan for the story, this overhaul will have meant altering things that he had in mind in order to incorporate the changes. That he has managed to do so without losing the feel of the first book is a real achievement.
Sam continues in much the same vein as he did in the first book when it comes to his general attitude. Here though, he is also faced with a number of challenges that test his view on the world that he is currently living in. Despite being aware that what he is facing are pre-programmed foes, he is beginning to be affected by the back stories and design choices for the characters. This is a really nice touch because, not only is something that could be expected given his virtual incarceration, it also ties in with the idea that the game has ties to what was deemed the most immersive VR experience in Sam’s world. This degree of integration is a fascinating touch, and one that I hope Belart explores further as the series progresses.
The introduction of the titular Glitch Fiends adds another dimension to the tale too as, not only are they a new obstacle for Sam, they also kick-start a major development in the backstory. With antagonist Fulton Milner’s background getting some coverage too, these two points come together to give some real indicators as to where the story is going in the long run. The Glitch Fiends also force an awkward working relationship into place which I think will serve the story well in the long run, as the characters involved will essentially be forced into further interaction.
The action is well done here too, with Sam’s method of adapting to the new game system leading to him working his way around some new in-game moves. Battles that amount to grinding are kept suitably short though, and the bigger battles continue to feel as important as they should.
The Bad: I would personally have loved to see a bit more interaction between Alex and Sam here, as their relationship was a big hit with me in book one, but it’s pretty clear that we’ll see more of this in the next book anyway. It’s a minor thing, and the lack of it doesn’t make the book difficult to read at all, but I did miss it.
Final View: I stand by my previous statement: Belart Wright’s work is consistent. With Glitch Fiends Part One, he has continued to create a dark but vivid world, inhabited by a good mix of characters. The main story is advancing at a great pace, and I for one am looking forward to seeing how the second part Glitch Fiends plays out.
Final Score: 4.5 / 5