As Murmur reels in the wake of the secret her friends tried to keep, her grip on what is real and what is virtual begins to slip. What's more, she's no longer sure who she can trust.
Stalked across the continent by a rogue with a vendetta, Murmur is forced to dig deep and develop her abilities before she finds a knife in her back.
Suspicion surrounds the AIs as well. Their behaviors are too human, their reports too perfect. Shayla and Laria must uncover the truth before the system raises concerns and Murmur is lost forever.
My Opinion: 354 pages, $4.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited
There are a lot of things I enjoyed about book 1 in the series but book 2 has lost me. It’s not a bad story, though there are noticeably more technical writing errors than in book 1. There’s just a shift in the story that made it less interesting to me.
Book 2 makes the game and RPG progression feel like secondary or even tertiary concerns. You can tell this is the case because of a couple things: less leveling on the part of the main character (MC), and the sheer number of POVs. In book 1, the MC and her group level like crazy, they earn about 17 of them. In book 2, the MC levels up 8 times. Some of that can be explained by levels being harder to get, but most of it is just that the author chose to spend less time on that aspect of the story. In book 1, there were some really neat flashbacks that helped build suspense and lead to a neat real world storyline. Now though, those flashbacks are replaced with numerous POV shifts between the MC, MC’s mom, MC’s friends, enemies, AI individually, AI together, and Game company people. The many POVs develop the new non-game oriented focuses on emotional exploration, intrigue, and cyber thriller elements.
The emotional exploration comes in the form of lots of talking and thinking from lots of characters. There really is a good portion of this done not only for the MC but what feels like most of the characters, through POV shifts. Cyber thriller elements include questions about emerging AI, intrigue, questions about what the game developers are using the tech for, what is really happening with the MC, and the shady goals of the AI. There’s still some MMO action adventure, with the MCs group doing some leveling and class progression but not as much as was in book 1 and it definitely feels relegated to a less important place in the story.
Overall, I just didn’t have as good a time with book 2 as I did with book 1. I’m just not as into all that emotion, intrigue, or cyber-thriller stuff as I am into just good gaming stories with lots of action. I think folks that like those elements more, will actually like book 2 more.
Score: 6 out of 10