The desperate MindWar enters a new phase when evil mastermind Kurodar breaks through the boundary between his digital Realm and Real Life in this cranked-up middle volume.
The plot is wholesale nonsense, manufactured to carry set piece chases, battles and angst-y ruminations. Scheming to obliterate Washington, Kurodar has opened a Breach, created a giant digital WarCraft and also hacked into a fleet of weaponized drones. Hoping to keep his nemesis, teen gamer/athlete Rick Dial, out of the Realm, he also kidnaps Rick’s closest friend, Molly. This doesn’t work, of course. Rick charges off into the Realm once again to take on digital monsters from vampiric wraiths to a multitentacled Octo-Guardian, blast multiple drones into ones and zeros, and then, in a magical (certainly not science-based) transformation, zoom through the Breach to bail Molly out. Meanwhile, he frets over tangled feelings about Molly, other women and his own recently reappeared father, ultimately giving himself over to God and graduating, as his mother puts it, from “boy faith” to “man faith.” Molly too is strong in faith and body both; though she ultimately needs male rescue, she still single-handedly destroys many of the drones and even guns down a thug. A thoroughly cheap cliffhanger sets up the closer.
Another empty-caloried thriller, thinly sauced with superficial psychology and earnest professions of generic faith. (Science fantasy. 11-13)