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Publisher's Summary

A computer-generated fantasy gone wrong...

In one final attempt to salvage the wreckage of my life, I stepped into a virtual reality chamber, searching for something, anything, that might make me want to live again. But when I emerged inside the virtual world of Second Skin, I immediately discovered that things had gone wrong - terribly wrong.

I was suddenly trapped in a strange place where nothing was what it seemed - unable to determine what was real...unsure of anything, including myself.

Hunted and alone in this harsh land, how will I survive?

And even more importantly, who the hell am I?

Reader advisory: This audiobook contains scenes of graphic violence and deals with mature themes.

©2018 Marc D. Baker (P)2019 Marc D. Baker

What listeners say about Fractures

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Excellent writing, flawed characterisation

M Damon Baker is a GREAT writer, but I almost put this book down too many times to speak of that I can't, in all honesty, justify giving it more than four stars and really should probably be giving it three. Before I get into the 'why' though, I think it's important to clarify a couple of things if you're reading this and wondering, like I was, if this book is for you (of necessity, there are minor spoilers ahead):

Gender Swap:
This book features a gender swap main character. I'm not spoiling anything by saying this - an older guy gets turned into a young woman pretty much the first (or second?) chapter. While I'm not normally into books like this, I'll say it was really well done and as long as you're expecting it, don't let it deter you from reading the book. The gender swap is handled sensitively and with great thought and consideration. This isn't just a 'hey, now I have boobs let's have some fanservice' concept but rather an integral component to the story.

Sex:
This book features sex scenes. I was a bit less comfortable with this, but nothing was particularly graphic and all but the first scene was along the lines of 'I pleasured myself and it was fun.' So yeah, don't let this turn you off either, as long as you're aware that they're there.

Trigger Warning: R@pe
There is a r@pe attempt on the main character which may make some people uncomfortable. The heroine gets away before anything really bad happens, but is left pretty messed up in the head from the experience. Honestly, I could have done without this being the book... so yeah... viewer discretion advised.

Torture:
Because of the above mentioned experience, the heroine goes a little cray-cray whenever she comes up against someone who threatens to treat her like that again. When she inevitably beats them, she doesn't kill them slow. There weren't many of these scenes, but well, let's just say I didn't enjoy reading the ones that were there.

Characterisation:
Ok, so with all the above caveats out of the way, let's get to why I almost put this book down too many times to tell, and also why it was great. Baker is a pro writer, capable of making you really feel what a character is feeling. The worldbuilding was spot on, the gamelit / litrpg aspects were exceptional, I really felt when I read this like I was in the world *right there* beside this character. It's a grim world, with bad stuff that happens to good people, and that's fine.

But when the author goes to so much effort to make the world so realistic, drawing you so deep into the narrative, the consequence is that you genuinely feel what the character is feeling, and this is where I had a problem. The heroine is, for want of a better word, a psychopath.

90% of the time she's wonderful - the type of hero I really, really dig reading about. But then she'll stumble upon a random, intelligent non-human, and just... slaughter them. No conversation, no 'I wonder if this is a bad person,' no justification for killing them except they're different. Just a quick thought about getting XP and then there's an arrow through their eye and the heroine is moving on to slaughter the next innocent group of travellers totally minding their own business.

It's the sort of thing you do all the time in a game. But... this world isn't a game, and the book goes to great pains to tell us that the world is real. And in a real world, you don't just murderkill the first person that looks different to you. Like I said, the author is really good at placing you in the story - making you feel like you're the main character, or at least right beside them. So when the heroine did things like this without justification, it just left me feeling dirty, and a little sick inside.

I don't know - I finished the book, so that's a testament to Baker's writing.
But will I ever read something else they've written? Not a chance.

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  • The Two Doctors Review
  • 15-01-2020

An intriguing adventure into the world of LitRPG

Like many SciFi and Fantasy authors, I grew up playing RPG video games. Skyrim, Mass Effect, Boulders Gate, KOTOR, you name it, I’ve probably played it.

So when I heard about the growing LitRPG genre, I was intrigued! Stories set inside RPG-like worlds? Wow!

And thus, my first foray into the genre occurred with “Second Skin” by M Damon Baker.

M Damon Baker builds an intriguing premise. A man’s mind, trapped in a woman’s body, inside a supposedly virtual world. I don’t want to spoil the initial twist, but let’s say fairly early on, Baker throws in a fun hook which makes the story more than just a dude playing an RPG.

I can see the promise in the genre. The story. The creative ways “game mechanics” can interplay with narrative.

Unfortunately, I quickly learned the LitRPG genre is not for me.

That preference isn’t a knock on Baker’s writing; it’s superb. Second Skin’s audience simply doesn’t include me. I value the opportunity to listen to Second Skin on Audible, though, to learn whether I enjoy the LitRPG genre. As much as I love playing games, I don’t think I’m one to read them being played.

All that being said, I hundred percent think this book WILL hit home with other readers. It’s got the chops to hook people intrigued by the characters, setting, plot, and premise of LitRPG.

I won’t be doing a full score breakdown of Second Skin: Fractures. Instead, I’ll be giving it three stars. It wasn’t my cup of tea, but that speaks more about me than the book.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Jeff M.
  • 02-04-2020

Solid LitRPG

Like most books in the LitRPG genre, takes a little bit of suspension of disbelief to get into it. However, it's very well done and I enjoyed getting to know the characters and following the plot as it unwound. I liked how the author went slightly against type with some of the characters (for example, making the male elf a tank and the male dwarf a knife-thrower). He was a little inconsistent with some of his math on point accumulation, which is really important from this genre, but mostly was good on it. The narrator was a bit weak but if, for example, I saw that she did the sequel, it would not deter me from still listening to it.

Overall, a solid book and I'd like to see where the series goes next.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Antoinette Sellers
  • 31-12-2019

Great book

First book I’ve read by this author. I enjoyed it. It’s not my normal genre but I will look up more like this.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Marie
  • 23-02-2020

Very different

I thought this was just another mmorpg . Granted it is BUT! the twist take it to another lvl. I was high impressed.

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  • Sarah Burton
  • 24-04-2020

Well written story with a realistic progression

An unconventional start to the classic "stuck in the game" Litrpg. What I most enjoyed was the realistic behaviour of the MC. The MC is not a over powered saviour of the world, but an example of how I think a casual gamer would approach or handle the situation. The story does however hint that she is unique compared to other gamers trapped in the world, which might lead to a future story arc.
I will definitely be continuing the series.

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  • Sara B
  • 14-12-2019

Entertaining!

Second Skin series has great potential. The storyline is well-written with excellent scene transitions, character development, and world-building. The narration by Sarah L. Colton is superb; she brings the characters to life. I was given a free copy of this audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this unbiased review.

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