Monday, October 28, 2019

Review: Guild of Tokens by Jon Auerbach

Guild of Tokens
Guild of Tokens by Jon Auerbach
ARC Worlds Publishing
Publication Date: June 25th, 2019
Paperback. 420 pages

About Guild of Tokens:

"All Jen Jacobs has achieved in life is loneliness. So when she stumbles across a real-life game of epic quests on the streets of New York, she jumps at the chance for some excitement and gold tokens. Little does she know that the items she strives to collect hold a darker purpose… 

After a particularly harrowing quest pairs her up with Beatrice Taylor, a no-nonsense and ambitious mentor, Jen hopes she’s on the path to becoming a big-time player. But as she dives deeper into the game’s hidden agenda, she realizes Beatrice has her sights set on the Guild, the centuries-old organization that runs the Questing game. And the quests Jen loves are about to put both of them in grave danger. 

Will Jen survive the game before powerful forces cut her real life short?"

Guild of Tokens is an inventive, adventurous, and highly compelling urban fantasy with a dash of litRPG elements and an exciting plot. Urban fantasy is still one of those subgenres that I haven't read extensively in, so I was excited to check out this book and explore some more urban fantasy, and I'm happy to say that I had a blast with this one.

In Guild of Tokens, we follow Jen, a woman who is looking for something more in her life. It's not that her life is bad, but it's also not exactly exciting or particularly happy and she's looking for something a bit more in the way of adventure, which is pretty much exactly what she gets once she joins a real-life questing game. I love this premise and was constantly looking forward to see the quests Jen would have to have take on, as well as how as how she would be able to take on all of them.

In addition to Jen are a variety of other characters that we run across with her while embarking on the various quests, all of which I found to be executed particularly well. Auerbach definitely knows how to create interesting, developed characters with real flaws and personalities that make them seem like real people I might run across in New York. There are also a lot of important topics handled in really smooth, almost quiet ways that stand out to me as effortless and talented writing.

The setting of this book is in New York and although I've only ever visited it once, it seems obvious that Auerbach has captured the essence of the city where the majority of the events take place. It felt authentic and fresh, the real and normal mixing easily with the more fantastic elements at play. This really seemed like it could be real and actually happen at any time in the real New York of our world, which added to my enjoyment immensely.

The only areas I tended to have issues with were in regards to the pacing. I believe that this book was once released in three parts as three separate novellas, and I find that slightly apparent in relation to how the narrative flowed throughout the book. There were a few moments that felt slightly repetitive or just had awkward pacing jumps that stood out to me and I'm not sure if the previous novella format is the problem or if the pacing itself had some minor issues. Regardless of the cause, it's something that stood out to me enough that I wanted to mention it, but it didn't take away from the excitement of the plot itself.

Overall, I've given Guild of Tokens four stars! This was an extremely entertaining urban fantasy with litRPG elements that I would easily recommend to any fantasy fan.

*I received a copy of Guild of Tokens courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has no effect on my rating or enjoyment of the novel.*

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