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Posted December 2, 2013
The action is still here, but the tone is a bit different. It's not that the tone is out of place. I would imagine it's difficult to be an optimistic hero fighting the good fight when you're quite literally the last pocket of resistance in a world that you failed to save decades ago. And there were a few times where characters were openly mocked for being "a golly gee hopeful type". It takes a little bit of the fun out of it. And unlike the first book in the series, this time I felt like there may have been some aspect of the game the books are based on that I'm not familiar with that could have been explained a little better. It's not a huge deal, but I'm a little curious why a couple of the central characters are still in decent enough shape to be seeing action when they're pushing a hundred.
Also included was a short story that focused on a minor background character. It does a lot of jumping around in time to establish what the character was like at the important periods of time the main story takes place during. It's also the only explanation of how one of the main plot threads of this book actually gets wrapped up. It's good, but on some level it feels like an after thought. Like the author knows he's not coming back to the world created for this book in the next one, so he needed to tie everything up somehow.
Over all I liked it, and I'm looking forward to the conclusion, but I think it was a little bit of a step down from the first in the series.