Cover Image: Welcome to the Apocalypse (Pandora #1)

Welcome to the Apocalypse (Pandora #1)

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Review: WELCOME TO THE APOCALYPSE by D. L. Richardson

A subtle sense of humor, a speedy thriller with tons of unexpected moments, a frisson of anxiety over control by a computer, and really intense characterizations of individuals who can't help eliciting readers' empathy and understanding, weave together into a roller coaster of suspense leavened with romance, friendship, family bonds, as well as grief and unrequited longing. From page one on, you'll be thinking "what next, what happens now," and living vicariously through the characters, cheering them on. Thankfully, this is first of a series; I can't wait for more
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Quite a bit ago, I got Pandora by D. L. Richardson. I got this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book was published on November 21st, 2017. I got this book through a Kindle EBook and I apologize to the author/publisher that gave this to me because I am guilty of requesting too many books at once. 

This book follows two siblings, Kelly and Jack, and Jack's friend Reis. Kelly was recently widowed and decides to do the thing her husband had been working on prior to his passing. The Apocalypse Games. This is a VR game, on steroids. It lasts twenty-four hours with each and every movement of yours is reflected in the game. This isn't your average Vive or Oculus, it is The Apocolypse Games. But when the Apocalypse doesn't ever end, everyone starts to wonder if they will ever get out.

This book was pretty well written. It was definitely entertaining to read. At some parts, I did get really confused though, but I kept reading and it clicked. Overall, the book was really good and I definitely will finish the rest of the series, which is already out. The series is called Welcome to the Apocalypse and I definitely think the series is worth reading, especially if everything else is as good as this first one.
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Welcome to the apocalypse by D L Richardson. 
 Jack Minnow is with his sister Kelly Lawrence. They have gone to the apocalypse games. They will play for 24 hours. Reis Anderson is with them in the game. Rule number one. You cannot kill another player. It is immediate disqualification. Say goodbye to five thousand dollars, no refunds."  "Rule number two," said the operator. "You cannot target or hunt other players. That is also immediate disqualification. These are the only two rules. The rest you will need to decide for yourselves. After all, the fate of mankind is in your hands." If this lot was the fate of mankind, Reis pitied mankind. "While you cannot die inside the game," said the operator, "with the neural hook-up allowing you to touch, taste, smell, and feel your surroundings, your body will experience virtual pain. The key is to stay alive. No refunds for early exits." They can assist other players for bonus points. I couldn't wait for them to get Into the game. Although there was some people I didn't trust. I felt they only wanted to kill other people there. I can't wait to read next one. 5*
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Players hook up to a new virtual reality world where you have to survive an apocalyptic event for 24hrs, after which time, you come out of your pod and return to the real world. But that's not what happens to three friends. When Jack, Kelly and Reis hook into the game, they complete their first day but are then immediately transported to another situation. It's not till it keeps happening that they realise that something isn't right! They will have to hope someone outside will save them before it's too late. 

I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this! It was a unique LitRPG book. I've read a few and while they deal with a virtual world it's not like this one. In Pandora, the players are put into apocalyptic situations like zombies, aliens, end of the world things, and are told to put together a bug out bag and reach safety. I loved seeing all the different places they were sent to and loved experiencing them with the characters. Even though you know it's not real and you can't die, it's hard to not react when a dangerous situation presents itself!!

I liked the characters too. Kelly's husband worked on the game, and upon his death, she decided to have a look and see what it was all about. Plus she hopes to see something of her husband in the game. My heart went out to Kelly!! She doesn't really want to take part, but the game wont let her sit on the sidelines. Jack and Reis were also awesome characters. They were all well written and developed. 

I think I loved the sense of urgency created by the characters the most. That's what kept me reading quickly. They know that they can't survive long hooked up to the game without experiencing some serious complications, so as you're reading, you are feeling the need to figure things out and the sense that things are coming to a head soon. You're heart is pounding along with the characters!!

In all, this was a great read. It's unique and exciting and I'm looking forward to the next one. I can't wait to see where the author takes the story.
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A new reality game has been invented but this game is different.  When you play this game, you are in a pod with neural connectors that gives the player the feeling that they are in the apocalyptic world actually fighting for survival.  There are many different apocalyptic scenarios to choose.  One hundred people have entered this game.  The focus is on three people.  Kelly is a grieving widow, Jack is her overprotective brother and Reis their friend.  The three of them have chosen the vampire scenario.  When they finish this game, they are automatically put into another scenario, then another.  They don’t understand why except perhaps they did so well in the game, they were rewarded with another game?  Or is it for a different reason?

I liked the theme of the novel but did not care for the emphasis on Kelly and her grieving thoughts as it took away what I think could had been put to better use.  It is still an exciting story due to the imagination of the author.  However some of the scenes could have had more detail to the novel than was given.  I found some of the sentences not part of a complete sentence or why it was in the novel.  With the popularity of reality games and survival games I think the author has started what could be a popular series.  It was a good experience overall and am glad I had the opportunity to read it.
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This is an original take on the normally formulaic post-apocalyptic genre, mixing elements of sci-fi, horror, and action into an entertaining thriller.
It's the start of a trilogy, but luckily the next two are already out so I won't need to wait too long to find out what happens next.

Three friends, poor little rich boy Reis, and siblings Jack and Kelly, all in their late 20s and living in San Diego, volunteer to try the Apocalypse Games, a fully immersive virtual reality game, where players are ensconced in a life support pod, and enter the end of the world scenario of their choosing for 24 hours of fight or flight to help ensure humanity's survival, safe in the knowledge that they can't die in the game. Each of them has a private reason for wanting to escape reality for a while, and each is battling some trauma from their past. Then they find themselves moving on to one scenario after another, trapped in the game, and unsure what has happened, and what or who they can trust...

This was a great idea - and would make a fantastic TV series, as the protagonists face all the classic PA scenarios - from zombies and vampires to killer kids and killer clowns. I liked that our heroes are all flawed and pretty unskilled, often surviving more by luck than anything else. I would've preferred it if all the female characters hadn't been either feeble and histrionic or scheming and manipulative, but the males aren't all that strong or smart either, although they do all want to do the right thing, even when they know it's not real. Each scenario gave advice on items that would be needed for an escape kit, which was a great way of including some real survival tips into the story. (I live in a city on a major fault line so we are well drilled in earthquake preparedness, but wouldn't cope so well with a zombie apocalypse as no one here has guns or machetes!)

Overall this was enjoyable and well written, if you like action type thrillers with a difference, and I look forward to reading about what happens next - it does end on rather a cliffhanger!

Many thanks to BooksGoSocial and NetGalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Firstly,  I would like to thank NetGalley, BookGoSocial and D L Richardson for the opportunity to read an advanced readers copy of Welcome To The Apocalypse. 
This is the first book in a series. I loved the storyline which was well thought out and the central characters. I found I was holding my breath at times. Will definitely be reading more from this author. 
Can't wait for the next installment.
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I loved Welcome to the Apocalypse (Pandora #1)! This takes modern day and gives it a post apocalyptic spin/experience albeit the "players" opting to experience a 24 hour time frame of survival.  Jack, Kelly and Reis are the main characters we follow throughout the book. D.L. Richardson does a great job of offering up a realistic look at getting into virtual reality and how to "survive ". Throughout the book,  as the main characters change to different apocalypses, the commander leaders are there to give a brief background of what apocalypse they are in, and recommended items to gather before heading to supposed safe zones. I am looking forward to reading the 2nd book in the series to see what happens to Kelly and if shes able to go home or find the others.
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The Apocalypse Games were designed to create a realistic apocalypse scenario for anyone who can pay the hefty $5,000 entry fee. These games allow a player to be plugged into a cyber mainframe and escape reality for 24 hours of the pure Apocalypse mayhem of their choosing. The options range by difficulty level and experience. You can opt for a zombie end or vampire, disease, alien, supply shortage Apocalypse, anything your heart desires. That is if the computer runs smoothly.
Kelly Lawrence is a grieving widow whose husband helped create this online mayhem. Kelly has decided to enter the launch of the game for one reason: to see her husband, who she believes is hidden somewhere in the game, she just has to virtually die to see him. 
Jack Minnow, Kelly's brother, entered the game to look out for Kelly and to be his superhero self in sticky situations. Little does he know the game will test him more ways than his ability to save his loved ones. 
Reis Anderson is the son of a senator and the best friend to Jack. He also came along to look after Kelly, who he believes doesn't belong here. He also wants to test out the lengths this game will go to challenge its players. He will soon find out. 
These three entered as a team, expecting 24 hours of vampire fueled madness, instead. The game malfunctions and keeps its new players trapped inside scenario after scenario. Locked inside a hell no one thought imaginable. It's now their mission to get out, because while you can't die in the game, you certainly can suffer and real, physical death can come if the pod that is sustaining you breaks down. They become desperate to stay alive until they are rescued from their CGI prison.
This book starts out slow and was difficult to get into at first. This book is lush with the opportunity to build a world and to see the world truly from the eyes of the players. There was an attempt to build that world but ultimately it felt lackluster. I understand that there wasn't much time to build a world, characters, and move a story along, but the beginning of this book felt like no attempt was made to bring me into this vampire infested world, a world I imagine a lot of us would love to visualize in our heads. 
Another issue that prevented me from getting into this book, in the beginning, was the characters themselves. Kelly's obsession with her husband was heartbreaking and the author did a fantastic job at portraying true grief. However, after about 1/3 of the way through the book, it's hard not to become frustrated by her and her feeble attempts to die without success. Don't get me wrong, I feel like it accurately portrayed a grieving widow's response to life without her love, but it did nothing to move the plot along and hindered the ability to see Kelly as her own character. Reis was also a problematic character for me, but only in the beginning. He was obsessed with Kelly's lack of experience and kept repeating the fact that she didn't belong in the game and that he would have to protect her every second of every day. He didn't at all. And then there is Jack, Kelly's older brother. He has a superhero complex the entire time throughout the book, however, he was a genuinely good character. I don't have much to say about him other than I actually liked his character and he did help move the story plot along. 
Because of the reasons listed above, I actually almost didn't finish this book, but on a whim, I decided to try again and was so glad I did. The second half of this book really starts to draw all the little pieces together and form a much more cohesive story. It almost felt like the author got into a groove and found the niche that I was waiting for. The storyline started to feel like it had a purpose and plot was beginning more and more evident. The challenges the characters faced in the beginning were still there: how far is too far and at what point do you say you won't do something to survive? But the characters seemed to be able to navigate them a little bit better than in the beginning.
The computer itself, who the characters name Pandora, malfunctioning leads to a lot of twists and turns and a lot of evolving of non-player characters and scenarios. It was almost Westworld in nature with how the system started to evolve and learn and make things nearly impossible to get through without "dying" and going to a death dream. Having the author lay out those scenarios to give the reader a look into what could happen and those small reminders that they were in fact trapped inside their "pods", the area where they were kept alive for the duration of the game, meant I was sucked in and sold completely on this new world that has a possibility of existing in the near future. The cautionary tale aspect of this book makes it feel very much like Jurassic Park or Westworld in the fact that it shows what could and, possibly would, go wrong with an invention like this. It, also, makes me very curious as to how the author will continue this adventure in the upcoming books.
While this book is by no means a favorite of mine, I actually enjoyed the second half of the book and I look forward to reading the other two books in this riveting series. So while the beginning wasn't great at all, I thoroughly enjoyed the second half, which leaves me with a dilemma on how to rate this book. Overall, I think I'll give it a 3.5/5 the second half of the story and how the story made me feel earns it a higher rating than the first half of the book deserves but I can't help but have a soft spot for this book.
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I'm exhausted after reading this roller coaster of a novel. I kept finding myself holding my breath at time. Love the main three characters, I could emphasize and sympathize with them. Can't wait until I buy the next in the series.

This is an honest review of a book given to me from the publisher.
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With today's interest in gaming this book  grabs your interest.  I really enjoyed the book and could
By put it down
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Thank you to the author, publisher and Net Galley for letting me review the book for an honest review. I loved the book it was fast read and when the premise of the book is being thrown in the middle of an apocalypse for 24 hours you know you can't go wrong. The character build up is nice and you can see the connections and the relationships build and fit perfectly.   I think the book was a little short because I would have loved to have had some more chapters to build up more of the supporting characters. My only complaint is that to me the book was short and maybe that is just me and maybe that is the way for the author to leave you wanting more which if she did it because of that then it worked. So I don't put spoilers in my review but trust me this book is worth a read and I will say this if you start it then I say to you Welcome to the Apocalypse I just had to say it, you will get that joke later on.
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This book is set in the future, and it is an interesting world. The jumps from cyber-world to cyber-world can get a little confusing, but it was thoroughly enjoyable. I look forwarding to reading more in this series.
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Really enjoyed this book, if you're a fan of apocalyptic fiction then this is definitely the book for you, there is not just one apocalypse but multiple scenarios! Jack, his sister Kelly and their friend Reis are taking part in a virtual reality game, the rules are clear, no one will be harmed...but then it all starts going wrong
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Great premise, I had really high hopes. But, it seemed scattered and seemed aimless. It's great when a book keeps you guessing, but here I don't even know what I should be guessing about. I couldn't finish, and I stopped about 25% of the way through.
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I wish to thank the generous publisher, whose works I have enjoyed before, for an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion 

I really tried to like this book.  I put it down a couple of times, reading books between in the hopes that I would fall into the story if I just gave it another chance.  However, it was just not for me.  Between the choppy ides, the gross editiorial neglects and the author just not being inspiring, it just didn’t work.  I’m sure that there could be an audience out there if the author would take the time to formulate his thoughts a little more concisely and have a professional editor have a peek every now and again.  But as I wrote, at this time, this book just was not for me.

Due to my great respect for the publishing house, I will not be posting this review on my preferred sites.
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I received a free copy of Welcome to the Apocalypse (Book One-Pandora) by D.L. Richardson in exchange for an honest review.  This book tracks three players who enter a virtual reality apocalypse game as a team.  They are scheduled to play one game, a vampire apocalypse, and then disengage.  When the vampire apocalypse scenario ends, the game doesn’t.  Instead, the team is immediately dropped into another game with a different apocalypse scenario, and another, and another.  It’s an exhausting cycle of fighting and running.  When each of the team is killed in the game, they are then subjected to death dreams that are no less stressful than the main game.  The players are all aware things are not going as programmed; moreover, they all know the life pods are only set up to sustain their bodies for three days.  Can they escape the game before they die for real?

This was an action-packed story that also managed to explore the team’s personalities and problems.

#WelcomeToTheApocalypse(pandora1) #NetGalley
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