The adventures of the Shaman continue!
Daniel Mahan, the legendary Shaman of the Barliona game-world, has served his sentence in virtual reality. Eleven months of adventures and battles in exchange for eight years in prison isn't a bad trade-off. And yet Barliona refuses to relinquish its grip on the Shaman so easily, erasing the boundary between his two realities. It turns out that it's not so simple to leave the capsule -- the Way must be completed..
My Opinion: 348 pages, $5.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure: I got an advanced copy of the novel for review. I purchased the novel when it came out.
Mahan wakes up at the beginning of the novel in the real world and is forced to go to VR addiction rehab as part of his release from prison. There, he has to deal with his swirling emotions and his bouts of delusion where he thinks he’s back in the game.
Once free from rehab, Mahan plots his revenge and is recruited by a mysterious figure who also wants the downfall of the Phoenix clan.
If you were fuming after the end of book 5 because of that twist ending, then book 6 might make you feel a little better. Alot of the series’ storylines and plots are resolved.
The novel can be broken up into four themes. 1) Mahan dealing with the fallout from the events of book 5. Both the real life consequences and the in game ones. 2) The clean up of several storylines and quests from the series. 3) The shaman and the mysterious figure plotting to bring down the Phoenix Clan. 4) Mahan figuring out how he feels about Anastaria/Stacy.
While I enjoyed the intrigue and action of the themes 1-3, what I thought was most interesting was theme 4. The way that Mahan feels about Anastaria is as complex as a real relationship. Sometimes he hates her and sometimes he loves her. There are moments where things are almost reconciled and then one of them does something that reminds the other of the betrayal. The journey Mahn goes through emotionally with respect to Anastaria was interesting. No spoilers but stuff is resolved, good or bad, with her by the end of the novel.
The other stuff in the novel is good too. Even though the novel feels a little rushed in sometimes and there are a few places where the story asks you to suspend your sense of disbelief a little too much, I had a good time reading the novel. The pace is quick, the action regular, and it ends in a surprising but satisfying way.
Score: 7 out of 10.