*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
Ryuk and Tamana have gamed together for years. At Tamana's request, they restart with new avatars in Titania. When they logout, Tamana is attacked and Ryuk watches her jump to her death in a train station. Then Ryuk is attacked by a Thulian warrior from the game. He knows it can't be real but seeing it makes it hard to believe. With the help of his human droid bodyguard Ryuk realizes it's not real. There are posts in gaming forums that people have been experiencing this, and dying. Someone's hacking their iNet. Ryuk is determined to warn others he once knew, and spend time with his lost friend in the world of Titania.
Jeff is always a treat for me to listen to. I have high standards going into one of his narrations, and he delivers! I expect to the characters to each have their own voice and life to come through as he acts them. I expect to have the characters easily differentiated in their voices and personalities. I expect to be entertained with the enthusiasm of the narrator. Jeff hits all these points and more with clear audio.
Harmon takes the world we last visited with Quantum and creates it's own series with it. Titania is the perfect world to play with as a spin-off. There are three layers to the world which you can only get to by reaching different levels in your character.
But! We also have a new trouble for the players several years after Quantum and his battles. Their iNet, a program in their eye, is hacked and they are seeing the evils from the world they just logged out of. It's getting them killed! Ryuk is a character that is not going to take this, especially after the girl he's known for years and asked out is now dead because of it.
It's neat how the game world is connected to the real person. See, if the person dies in the real world they will be reborn in their game - RPC (reborn player character).
There are mentions of Quantum and the characters from the original series. This book takes place years after Quantum has been through the game. We hear the name of the guild that Quantum started, Ryuk had been part of that guild before he reset to start over in the game. Then he goes in search of them, leveling up, to tell them what is happening in the world now. Ryuk is determined to help his friend in RPC form as it's the closest thing to her he can get, and wants. Ryuk's wants seem to go against what he should be doing in Titania. But this is his inner conflict with what has happened to his dearest friend. This is something he'll have to work through in order to move on to what the next step is.
We are introduced to Ryuk and his friends and family here. The new problems in the gaming world of Titania is strongly influencing the real world. We learn there is more going on and in the end we are anxious to get to the next book. It felt a bit like a cliffhanger with the leads on Kodai. I want to find out who he's working with and what the next phase is. There is something bigger than Kodai knows going on here, and I want to know what!