________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number . . . .September 25, 2015


The Freedom Frontier. (Metawars 4.0).

Jeff Norton.
London, UK: Orchard Books (Distributed in Canada by Hachette Book Group Canada), 2014.
345 pp., trade pbk., $10.99.
ISBN 978-1-40831-462-3.

Grades 6-11 / Ages 11-16.

Review by Ronald Hore.

**˝ /4


The icy expanse of the Canadian north stretched out to the distant horizon. It was hard to believe that it was real. He was astounded that in a world so crowded, so crammed full of people, so much nothingness could still exist. But of course, even in an over heating world, the icescape this far north was too cold to be liveable most of the year.

Jonah’s body was protected from that cold by Kevlar body armour, and his head shielded by a helmet that drew oxygen from the small tank on his back. At ten thousand feet, the air was getting thinner. He heard the echoes of his rhythmic breathing as he clung to the undercarriage of the Guardian airship. The huge flying dirigible, at least one hundred buses long, was creeping across the freezing sky towards the final front in the battle for the future.

Under its skeletal structure, directly under the pressurized cabin where four hundred soldiers waited to wage war against their enemy, the Millenials, Jonah balanced his body above the Earth. As he stabilized himself across a pair of parallel beams that made up the lattice like cage that enveloped the blimp, with nothing but icy air below, he wondered if the battle was inevitable.


The Freedom Frontier, the fourth and final volume in the “Metawars” series, consists of 346 pages divided into 52 chapters plus a prologue and three pages of acknowledgements. The inside of the front and back covers promote the series along with several review comments.

     This story, which continues the adventures of teenage heroes, Jonah, and Sam (Samantha) as they struggle to free the virtual world, the Metasphere, opens with an assault on the final location of the servers they are trying to control. This time their quest takes them deep into the Canadian Arctic and a diamond mine sunk into the frozen world. The main hero, Jonah, is torn between the Guardian’s desire to take the complex through brute and bloody force and his hope for a peaceful solution.

     This time a new menace arises when both the Guardians and the Millenials are eliminated as major players in their conflict to remake the real and virtual worlds. A new villain arises on the scene, and, for a change, Jonah and Sam find themselves with an unusual ally, Matthew Granger who has been their nemesis throughout the first three books.

     Non stop adventure abounds, along with philosophical questions, such as whether it is right to destroy two billion people in order to save seven billion. Sam remains the more violent one of the pair while Jonah is the peacemaker. Because moral ambiguities abound, they make an interesting team. The villains are suitably demented. I might quibble about how fast the characters travel across wide swaths of Canada, but, in the end, we arrive at a conclusion with our heroes alive and well and looking forward to the future.


Ronald Hore, involved with writers’ 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.

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