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Publisher's Summary

Nineteen-year-old Ryuk Matsuzaki and his best friend Tamana decide to start over with new avatars. When Tamana is suddenly killed right in front of him in a Tokyo subway, Ryuk knows there is only one place he can search for answers -- Tritania, the world's most popular online fantasy world. Standing in his way are a mysterious guild known as the Shinigami, and his older brother, a Yakuza crime lord hell-bent on squashing his dreams. As a lowly Ballistics Mage, Ryuk must quickly recruit guild members, level up, loot and shoot his way across Tritania to discover the dark and sinister secret behind Tamana's untimely death. Joining him in his quest are a famous Swedish gamer, a powerful half-dragon half-human female assassin, and a devious ax-wielding goblin. Get started on this action-packed, coming of age LitRPG saga from the author of The Feedback Loop series now!
©2017 Harmon Cooper (P)2017 Harmon Cooper
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Customer Reviews

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By AudioBook Reviewer on 08-22-17

a fun and interesting story underneath the humor

If you are in the mood for a literary role-playing game (LitRPG) tale full of fantasy humor, snarky wit, and slapstick comedy, “Fantasy Online: Hyperborea” is the book you are looking for.  This is another story authored by Harmon Cooper and the audiobook edition masterfully performed by Jeff Hays.  It is the first book, in what appears will be a new series which takes place in the Proxmia universe.  Because the book’s events occur in the same universe as “The Feedback Loop” series (which I highly recommend you read), a few of those characters make cameos in this story; such as Dirty Dave.  I quite enjoyed the tie in and interaction having listened to the entire Feedback Loop series.  As this is a separate series, one is not required to have any knowledge of the other series events, but it does make for some additional entertainment value.  If you have listened to any of Harmon Cooper’s other works and enjoyed them, you will not be disappointed by picking up this one.

The book is a coming of age story centered around two battling brothers who are both a part of a crime lord’s family.  This book contains a fair amount of action, adventure and fighting, both in the physical and virtual worlds.  The opening scene is one that hooks you from the beginning and the story continues to unfold after that.  Not only was this scene tense and action-packed, it was rather emotional and impactful.  The author takes you on an emotional rollercoaster ride which seems to decrease in its intensity as you progress down the tracks.  I can say without a doubt, I did not feel as close to the main characters than I did at this scene.  There were a few scenes containing or alluding to slight romantic aspects, but nothing that felt deep and meaningful.  I really liked the characters, but I wanted to see more of their flaws and need to survive as a group; apart from times of fighting monsters together.

Compared to his other works, this book is zanier and at times feels a little over the top with its continuous flow of pokes, zings, and disses happening between characters.  I like when there is tension and banter within a traveling party, but this book seemed much more light-hearted then the others were.  Although there was a great and compelling story underneath, I wished at times that humor was not spread so liberally where the core story aspects felt obscured or covered.  Like when someone uses to much icing on an exceptionally made cake, it can seem overly sweet and hides the part taking so much work to make; the cake itself.  This is not to say that the book was bad, just based on the opening scene, I wanted more of that emotional ride throughout the book and he expense of fewer flying insults.

I will say that the world the author created was fun, interesting, and at times quite unique.  He would take many of the stereotypical fantasy tropes and change them up a bit.  I laughed out loud when the characters ran into some “stinkerbells” which are a combination of a fairy blended with a common house fly; more pests than helpers.  The main character also wielded a very nasty and at times scary sling.  Often in a book of this genre, it is all swords, shields and armor, so a sling was fun.  How many of you role-playing readers would choose a sling as their weapon of choice?  I also enjoyed the pokes at modern society like when the characters ordered lemon peppered sustainable farm raised dragon wings as an appetizer.  Or the multiple times macaroon cookies show up which have their own use and lore in this world; you have to read the book to find out.

Jeff Hays, as usual, skillfully narrated this book and I hope he continues to be the voice of the Proxima universe.  Both he and the author combine together making the audiobook edition of the story that much more fun and entertaining.  Jeff’s ability to voice the many human and non-human characters, use of inflection at proper times, not overdoing the use of sound effects, and ensuring the audio is clean and crisp of anything that would distract the listener is what those familiar with his works expect.   And, once again he hit all these points and more.  He continues to amaze with his skill and talent in narrating audiobooks.

For parents and younger readers, be warned, this book is really intended for more mature audiences for several reasons.  There is heavy use of vulgar language, there are topics involving sex, sexual innuendos, and alcohol use.  The humor at times can be quite crass, often crude, or graphically intense which may not be suitable for younger readers.   Even though the humor is more light-hearted and slapstick focused, much of it is geared towards adults.  If the above offends you, I would not recommend this book.

In summary, if you do not mind overly used adult humor and you enjoy the LitRPG genre, I would say that you may be interested in Fantasy Online: Hyperborea.  As stated earlier, there really is a fun and interesting story underneath the thick layer of humor on top.  I enjoyed the story and the journey both the author and narrator took me on.  However, I would have like to have had a few more deeper and developed plots pulling at my emotional side.

Audiobook was provided for review by the narrator.

Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

By Joe on 10-18-17

Great 1st book in the series

The book takes place in the same location as the third book in the Feedback series. It seems to take place in the future after Quantum Hughes. In the real world they are located in Japan. The book has a great story that moves along at a great pace and a good length. The characters are very likable and although very different, blend well together. There is a lot of LitRPG elements to this book and they dont get in the way or are overdone. The narrator is great although I thought the reading was a little slow for my taste and I listened to the book at 1.5x speed. He gives each character their own voice and it fits well with them. The narration really adds to the story. Really enjoying Jeff Hays narration.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Norma Miles on 10-25-17

Won't you come inside?

Ryuk's real life In Tokyo is not a happy one. He is bullied by his older brother, a yazuka boss, and he fears that his one friend and gaming companion does not return the growing love that he feels for her. When she dies by throwing herself in front of an underground train shortly after they have both logged out of the Proxima world of Tritania, Ryuk returns there to find her in the still surviving form of a Reborn Player Character. But she's gone: she has been kidnapped. But why, and by whom? With the help of a potty mouthed goblin, Hiccup, and a Swedish online advertising hero, FeeTwix, Ryuk goes in search of Tamina, his dear friend, determined to bring her back.

But far more is happening because Tamina's death had not been a suicide and to solve that riddle, the newly forming guild will have to rise quickly through the levels to travel from the continent of Hyperborea to others accessible only to higher level players. And meanwhile, in real life Japan, Ryuk's brother is continues to expand his desire for total control.

This is a fabulous book, filled with great characters and dialogue as well as a good, original storyline and ever increasing fast, full and very visual action as the book progresses to the spectacular and unexpected ending. Frequently very funny, it is also thought provoking, too. .Add in the superb narration by Jeff Hays who brings the protagonists fully to life with his individual performances for each one within the well paced and emotionally charged text reading, this is an audiobook not to be missed. It doesn't matter if you are not a gamer, give this story a try: you won't be disappointed.

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By Scott R on 09-29-17

Excellent example of LitRPG

The LitRPG world is coming to life more and more wirh varied examples, and im not a massive fan of this type.
The stats can be lost and fogotten almost as quick as rhey are said but the brillance of the characters and their development makes this a worthwhile buy. listening to the various effects performed by Jeff Hays does credir to Harmon Coopers job here. As a fan of his Feedback series i wasnt too sure but it seems a good writer can write almost anything. A very good writer can make even a dubious proposition come alive and make a fan of me. The genre would be a poor substitute without the real life action outside the game and without 2 characters the excellent hoblin Hiccup and the live feed, advert pushing swede which gives many options to the usual stories.
The humour helps a lot especially on audio but will probably mean you either love it or hate it attitude as the humour is very zany and childish.
For me in a fan and also bit of a child so im happy to go back again.
This audio was gifted to me and i have left an honest review and as such is my own opinion.

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