Iconic characters struggle between tyranny and anarchy when the computer game that they live within is attacked by a virus.
Noble is just an earnest knight in the computer game “Thanehaven Slayer” when he encounters young Rufus, who strongly suggests that he may be doomed if he doesn’t drop all the heroics and start thinking for himself. With Rufus’ mantra—“you don’t have to do this”—ringing in his ears, Noble sets out to change his computer world. When computer-world Rufus (aka “Ruthlessrufus”) turns out to be malware perpetrated by real-life computer owner Mikey’s best friend, Rufus, readers are brought in on the joke. Award-winning Australian author Jinks delivers neatly crafted middle-grade storytelling, effortlessly blending social commentary into the omniscient narration. Along the way, she lightly explores the tension between rules and freedom, order and chaos (“You can follow rules and still think for yourself”). By the end, the tale also reads like a parable aimed at young people unwittingly influenced by a mischievous or troubled friend.
Clever, thought-provoking fun for all—especially for technology geeks and those who love them. (Fantasy. 9-12)