Still stranded in the virtual world of Freehaven Online, the Toxic Muffins, lead by Justine, are given new hope after a beloved guild member died upon failing digitization.
Mirae has come online.
No one can message her, but they have a quest leading them into the depths of Hades, an underworld that serves two planes of mortal existence, to retrieve a lost soul and escort it back to the living. They hope that’s what Mirae is.
For mortals, entering the underworld is no easy task. There’s no respawn within Hades and resurrection spells now have a lengthy cool down. Justine’s party will face monsters, ghosts, and even deities in their journey. To make matters worse, Hades doesn’t release souls easily, and getting back may be just as testing.
I felt that this story moved a lot more slowly than Dragonsbane,
the first in the Freehaven Online series. More time was taken to explore
the mythology of hades and worldbuild, so there wasn’t as much action
going on. Bearing in mind that this is the underworld
we’re talking about, that’s no bad thing! The story had a much darker
and more dangerous feel to it, the characters have to consider the
meaning of life and death in this game that they’re trapped in which
makes it seriously sinister in places.
The mythology is well represented in a way you’d expect to see in a computer game, including the ever lovable Cerberus guarding the gates!
This time around, Justine has to put together a group of players best suited to completing their quests and getting Mirae back – this means that she has to go looking for players with the skill set she needs, giving it an authentic gamer feel. The new characters complement the story and gave me some insight into some the different kinds of online gamers out there (pro and social).
The story was incredibly immersive but lacked a little bit of hack n slash that I enjoy in my own gaming, which slowed it down for me.
Amy Landon was a brilliant narrator for this book – the accents she used were perfect and she really brings through the author/main character’s dry sense of humour.
Though the ending of this book wasn’t as climactic as I was expecting, I’m going to be giving the next installment a go just to see if the characters all make it out of Freehaven safely!