________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 2. . . .September 11, 2015


The Dead Are Rising. (Metawars 2.0).

Jeff Norton.
London, UK: Orchard Books (Distributed in Canada by Hachette Book Group Canada), 2012.
366 pp., trade pbk., $10.99.
ISBN 978-1-40831-460-9.

Grades 6-11 / Ages 11-16.

Review by Ronald Hore.

*** /4



He spread his arms wide and pushed his toes together. He swooped low over the sprawling new digital city of Changhai. The warm wind against his face was virtual, but the thrill in his stomach was real.

In the bustling streets below him, new buildings pixelated into existence and throngs of avatars populated this brave new world. Behind each avatar was a real person whose brain interfaced directly with the internet, generating a digital representation of the user called the avatar.

Jonah lived most of his waking life inside a virtual world called the Metasphere. In this, he wasn’t unusual. Most people had gone meta.

But now the Metasphere had a rival.

This fast growing new world that Jonah soared above was called the Changsphere, and it was drawing avatars from the Metasphere with its higher resolution graphics, faster servers and infectious sense of optimism. To Jonah, the Metasphere—with its rich, 3D rendering and sharp, lifelike recreation of the five senses had always seemed more real than the crumbling real world. Inside the Changsphere, however, everything seemed richer and sharper still.


The Dead Are Rising is the second in the four volume “Metawars” series directed at young readers, especially those who enjoy video games or tales of constant adventure and peril. The book consists of 367 pages divided into 39 short chapters and an epilogue.

     The story takes place in a dystopian dysfunctional world and continues the adventures of teenage heroes of the saga, Jonah, caught up in the events after the death of his mother, and Sam (Samantha) a girl belonging to the Guardians, a group dedicated to freeing the Metasphere from control by one man, Matthew Granger. In this episode, the Uploaded, as those who have died and uploaded their consciousness into the Metasphere are known, are becoming a serious problem as they find a desire to become alive once more and struggle to take over the lives and bodies of the living.

     The plot also continues the fight for control of the Metasphere between the Millenials and the Guardians. The leader of the Millenials and inventor of the Metasphere is Matthew Granger. One of the leaders of the Guardians is Axel, Sam’s father, and the man who has trained her to be a soldier in this war. The story is told mainly through the eyes of Jonah who spends his time trying to solve the conflict and find solutions. Readers sometimes see things from Sam’s point of view and occasionally even through the eyes of Matthew Granger. The story travels from Australia where the last book, Fight for the Future, ended, through a conflict with a gang of teenagers in Santa Monica, to the Canadian Rockies and eventually to Manhattan Island, now a separate county whose president is a 17-year old girl. While trying to solve the problem of how to stop the Uploaded, while still saving them, Jonah is faced with the avatar of his deceased father who takes over the body of a famous computer game designer and then refuses to leave.

     One key component in the Guardian’s plan is to seize all of the four server locations controlling the Metasphere. The first one was located in Australia. The second they capture is in Manhattan. The story has a high body count as the struggle to save the world continues and young Jonah wrestles with his conscience and difficult choices between what actions might be considered right or wrong.

     Constant adventure with young teenage heroes in peril at almost every turn and forced to make difficult life or death decisions. There are even hints of a budding romance between Jonah and Sam.


Ronald Hore, involved with writer’s groups for several years, dabbles in writing fantasy and science fiction in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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