*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
This is a bound up version of book one, First Fragment, and the second book, Second Stage. These books take place in the future, 2074 to be exact. The world is completely changed and the ‘internet’ isn’t the craze anymore. These stories focus on the global game, Kognition, which requires access to your mind in order to work…
This was the first book I have read by Brandon and boy was I pleasantly surprised! Brandon has a unique style of writing and it fit perfectly with how the plot line was meant to be experienced.
I must admit that I experienced a slow start with First Fragment. I felt like I was experiencing information overload but that could’ve just been me. I had never read a book about a game before so I guess I was processing things different, not the book’s fault. I just didn’t know what to expect. Another little criticism I have was that some things were explained more than once and it sort of threw me off, I was just waiting for the plot to pick up a bit. But once I surpassed half point of First Fragment, I forgot all about it since it definitely picked up. Lisa, our main character, is thrust into a mystery and we are taken along for the ride as she tries to uncover something about the game she hadn’t yet experienced. After reaching the half point I could not put this down. I was completely blown away by the world building and the characters started to grow on me.
I loved how nothing was given away as we were dropped into a different reality. I was excited to experience a different POV! Not that I was growing tired of Lisa’s POV but I just wanted to witness what somebody else in the game world was going through, and I got my wish! Cue in Sam living in a repetitive world. I was shocked by how easy I was able to follow the plot, so easy that I saw a couple of things coming before they happened. Although I saw the events coming, once they happened I still needed a couple of seconds to digest the shock of it.
I absolutely loved the character development we witness from Lisa. Oh my goodness. It wasn’t all good and that’s what I loved about it. The consequences of a game having access to your mind were completely realistic.
I was super busy trying to find out more about the characters that I didn’t fully grasp some bits of information/explanations but that’s all on me. (I really need to start reading more books about games so I’m not confused half of the time.) No matter, my experience was still more than enjoyable. I swear I need to read Third Trial asap!! This ends in a darn cliffhanger, of course, and I couldn’t contain my excitement of knowing more things were coming!
P.S.: I extremely enjoyed the two short stories at the end of this book. The topics were mentioned during both books but never fully explained, until these. I didn’t know they were so crucial to the understanding of the plot but they were. They both filled in some blank spaces and I must thank Brandon for that.
If you’re a gamer, I definitely suggest you read this book! And even if you’re not a gamer but would love to reach out of your norm, like me, then read it too!