Battle Spire is an enjoyable LitRPG that blends the lore and mechanics of a game like 'World of Warcraft' with the plot structure of a movie like Die Hard. An odd mix at first glance, but it works. The main character, Jack, decides to lock himself away for a weekend of gaming. It goes a bit pear-shaped when some other players decide to hack the game and take over the titular Spire, leaving Jack - as a low-level crafting-centric character - trapped inside. He joins forces with the game's AI - Ellie - to try and wrest control of the Spire back from the bad guys. The parallels to Die Hard are obvious. Jack is John McClane, Azrael is Hans Gruber, and Ellie is a strange mix of Sgt. Powell and Holly. There is plenty of sneaking around, finding resources, and interesting set-pieces. I have a particular attachment to my fantasy having movie influences (Joe Abercrombie's First Law standalones being the most obvious), and it works equally well here. The mechanics feel comfortably familiar, and Jack's focus on crafting and his level deficit make for some interesting encounters. The fights are well handled and dynamic, and have a good mix of planning and quick thinking. The book is written in first person, and due to Jack's isolation, only he and Ellie have much depth of character - the others are largely set dressing. There are a few exceptions - Tabetha, Kreeptic, and Ignatius come to mind - but they are more cameo than character. The dynamic between Jack and Ellie is strong though, and was enough to keep me interested. There is also a nice arc with growth for each of the pair, though Jack's starts with him at a frustrating level of selfishness - the contrast is obvious, but it makes the first part of the book clearly the weakest due to Jack's unlikability.
A must-read for fans of the sub-genre. I look forward to reading the next volume.