“Breakers of the Code” by CB Archer

This book is…what can I say about this book? It’s set in a video game world, where all the characters are avatars. Our hero, Anders, starts off as separate from his avatar, but gradually merges with his game character as the story progresses and he becomes more and more sucked into the alternate reality, something that is skillfully handled. The game setting is unusual, but many other things are standard portal-quest/epic fantasy, with the main character falling down a rabbit hole of sorts into another world, where he then spends the rest of the action traversing exotic and/or dangerous terrain, fighting monsters, and trying to achieve some quest aim, which in Anders’s case includes finding a decent pair of pants. If you enjoy epic/portal-quest fantasy (as I do), you’re likely to enjoy this aspect of the story (as I did); if you think that the hobbits spend way too much time on the road to Bree (and if so, what kind of a fantasy philistine are you?!), then you’ll probably wish Anders could just level up, get some pants, and win the game already. That’s up to you, but this story, for all its souffle-like lightness, has a definite epic background, which can be seen in its length and its multiple characters with multiple storylines.

So, the basics out of the way, all I can say is, while I hesitate to state that this the kinkiest thing I’ve ever read, it certainly makes top three, and it is one of the most exuberantly weird pieces of fiction I’ve ever read, but in a good way. Sort of like “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” but with much, much more bizarre and graphic sex. Anders stumbles into a whole unexpected side of the game, one in which the game monsters want to use him as a sex toy rather than fight him. At first he panics, but then goes along for the ride, discovering amazing superpowers in the sex department on the way. In a book other than this one, Anders’s predicament would be disturbing rather than amusing, as his consent in many of these encounters is sketchy or nonexistent, but somehow he always ends up on top (figuratively speaking; literally he’s normally on the bottom), defeating the bad guys with his sAWESOME heinie (that’s the word I’m going to use here, hehe) of holding and maybe finding love along the way.

If that’s not enough, the different characters all have distinct voices, which is conveyed through the use of game text boxes (BTW, unless your Kindle is super-fancy, you’re going to want to read this on a mobile device) and unique punctuation. The secondary characters also go on their own quests, involving much sexual confusion and gender-switching, when they’re not arguing so hilariously via text box that at one point I actually cried with laughter. This book is not for everyone (e.g., those squeamish about graphic depictions of gay sex), but for those who want to read something a little bit (or a lot) different in the fantasy and erotica genres, I can’t recommend it enough!

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