Monday, September 1, 2008

Saga by Conor Kostick

Main Character: Ghost, a 16-year-old with no memory before age 9
Location: Saga, a virtual reality game
Time period: sometime in the future
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Fantasy
Sequel to Epic

After reading Epic, I was really looking forward to reading its sequel, Saga. Since Epic ended with the destruction of the game that was ruining their world, I expected Saga to deal with the rebuilding of their world. I was wrong, but I wasn't disappointed.

Saga is another massive virtual reality game, but in this one the NPCs (non-player characters) have become sentient. They live their own lives in a futuristic society where socio-economic classes are kept strictly in their places. Ghost is an airboarder and member of a small punk gang made up mostly of red cards, though Ghost herself has no card and no official identity. She has no memory of her childhood, and her outsider status has turned her into a master thief. She and her friends, Athena the computer hacker, Nathan the artist, and Milan the street tough, are part of an anarchic movement which indulges in outbursts of vandalism, though Athena dreams of fighting the system from within the system. That will be difficult because their world is controlled by the Dark Queen, an ancient and tyrannical character who has gained her place by assassinating all her rivals.

Saga has now come into contact with New Earth's computers. Erik and his friends think that it is just a new game and they clip in, create new characters, and start to play. This causes some consternation among the inhabitants of Saga, who begin speculating about the mysterious people who suddenly appear and disappear. When Erik, through his avatar Cinderella, learns that the characters of Saga are real, he is shocked and distressed. But by then the people of New Earth are trapped in the Dark Queen's plot.

Though the book was not what I expected or anticipated, I still liked it. I was quickly caught up in this new world and the reality of these characters. Ghost and her friends are very likeable, and seeing circumstances through the eyes of the Dark Queen gave an interesting dimension to the story.

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