CM . . .
. Volume XXII Number 1. . . .September 4, 2015
Fight for the Future. (Metawars 1.0).
London, UK: Orchard Books (Distributed in Canada by Hachette Book Group Canada), 2012.
370 pp., trade pbk., $10.99.
Grades 6-11 / Ages 11-16.
Review by Ronald Hore.
Jonah’s senses came back to him, starting with his vision. A bright, three-dimensional digital landscape unfolded around him—around his digital self.
He was standing in ivy-covered grounds before the stately façade of one of the best, and most expensive, public school franchises in the online world: the Chang Academy for Gifted Youths.
Jonah was just in time. The main doors were already closing. He took to the sky, leaving behind him a hovering, giant gold ring, his halo exit, his own personal portal between worlds. He felt the cool, sweet air of the Metasphere in his face and a familiar thrill in his stomach. In here, he felt at home.
Jonah guided his flight precisely, in control over every muscle in his virtual body. He swooped through the school doors, through the scanner that logged his arrival.
Fight for the Future is the first in a four-volume series, “Metasphere”, directed at young readers, especially I suspect, those who enjoy video games. Reviews quoted on the inside front cover come from readers ages 8 to 16. The book consists of 371 pages divided into 42 short chapters and an epilogue. This is followed by a 10 page teaser introducing the next book in the series.
The story takes place in a dystopian dysfunctional world. The young teenage hero of the tale, Jonah, lives in the upstairs of an abandoned double-decker bus in a crumbling London, England. Most people prefer to plug in and live and work in the Metasphere, an online virtual world. Jonah goes to school inside this cyber world.
The plot revolves around the fight for control of the Metasphere between the Millenials and the Guardians. The leader of the Millenials and inventor of the Metasphere, wealthy Matthew Granger, escapes from prison with a plan to recover control of this virtual world. The Guardians are against control by any individual. Jonah gets mixed up in the conflict.
Along with Sam (Samantha) a teenage girl, he escapes pursuit by the Millenials who killed his mother, and he suspects, killed his father, by joining with a group of Guardians. They want to seize the four bases from which the virtual world is generated and controlled. These are currently in the hands of four dysfunctional nations. There are enough plot twists to make it difficult to figure out who the real villains are. One thing I found amusing was the description of all the different terrorist and eco-terrorist groups, each believing it was the only one in the right.
This initial volume ends with the battle and recovery of the base in Australia and loads of problems still ahead. The world-building is an important part of the plot. One interesting feature of the Metasphere is where an individual can upload their consciousness, die in the real world, and continue to exist on a tropical island in the virtual world.
Action-packed adventure with young teenage heroes in an interesting and imaginative setting.
Ronald Hore, involved with writers’ groups for several years, dabbles in writing fantasy and science fiction in Winnipeg, MB.
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