“Trust us. We know what we’re doing.” “Speak for yourself.”
Think: Breakfast Club does a Christian Dungeons and Dragons via Tron. It works better than it should. One of the brightest angles is the creators wondering why they fashioned the game as they did: making living through their creation difficult.
The D&D-role-playing game created by two of the high-school-age characters is as cheesy and illogical as you’d expect. That worked for me. “Writing demonstrated control and subtlety” didn’t. The set-up is good, and the cast right. The emotions seem authentic and well-considered. Even the sudden appearance of heroic skills is adequately explained.
“Hope, that feathered pest, perched in her heart again.”
The target audience are tweens. The cast is a study in stereotypes both before and after (If I tell you what that refers to …), but do high school football players from Miami talk like SoCal surfer dudes? And do Goths–er, Urbs–still dress and act like that? Following the thoughts, feelings and actions of a teen left behind adds depth to the story and presumably will become a critical plot point when/if anything is resolved. (see below)
“But she would have settled for twenty minutes sleep.”
The cover art will scare away more readers than it attracts. Perhaps it’s intended to look as if done by a high schooler. But, the Wheel of Time covers were almost as bad.
At least one character has a Christian perspective, but the others are realistic (if over-the-top) enough to make the story work. Occasionally hard to keep game and real-world dogma straight.
“The only thing ugly about you is how you feel about yourself.”
Quibbles: Maps are notoriously hard to read, but reproducing them in halftone renders this book’s useless. Selling a golden throne won’t feed “thousands” if there’s no food. A teen invents “most complex reasoning computer script available” and it fits in three DVDs? A bird’s chest, not back, muscles pulls wings down; that’s why their breasts are proportionally large. At least Gansky admits that kerosene would “inexplicably” be burnable after several decades.
My biggest criticism is that, with no cover or content page warning of a multi-volume series, this story finished with next-to-nothing resolved. Felt cheated.
“A kingdom unified in faith would not fall.”