3 out of 4 stars
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Six high school friends remain connected through their favorite role-playing game, Wayseekers of OM, affectionally known to the group as WOO. Everything changes as the now-college friends trade in the pen and paper version of the game for the new, smartphone-compatible one. What seems like an innocent action in gameplay creates tension and feelings of betrayal among the longtime friends and far more devastating consequences for the people who reside in the game's fantasy world. Before the friends realize what's happening, they find themselves lost in the world of WOO, where magic is real, and an army of mythological beasts is lying in wait to exact their revenge.
Are these events genuinely happening, or is it all an elaborate hoax? A drug-induced state or a shared dream? Until they can figure out what's going on, the friends must discover their strengths, right their wrongs, and find a way back home before they all wind up dead.
Wayseekers of OM: Fragments of the Past is an entertaining portal fantasy by J. E. White and J. Solomon. I particularly enjoyed how the authors brought together the realistic struggles of life in a college setting alongside the thrill of adventure in a medieval fantasy realm. It was interesting to observe as the consequences the six players perceived as mere gameplay came to life. Once the overlord of the realm called them into the alternate world to repair the damage they had caused, it was hard to put this book down because I was so eager to see what adventure awaited the six characters.
The transition to the other world timed perfectly as the main characters' relationship drama reached its peak, presenting the added challenge of working together in an unknown world. I enjoyed watching the pairs work through their conflicts and how they eventually came together to find a solution.
While the book was a quick read, I was frustrated with the early chapters' redundant information. After introducing the game, the authors featured each character in a separate chapter depicting the events leading to an evening at the local bar. There was quite a bit of crossover, and the repeated information unnecessarily slowed down the story's first half. Still, the second half flowed smoothly with quick transitions that were easy to follow and kept the plot interesting.
Unfortunately, I also noticed quite a few minor editing issues. Because of the redundant information and the editing issues, I could only give this book three out of four stars. I still loved how the authors pulled me into the characters' interpersonal relationships and made me eager to see how the story turned out.
I would recommend Wayseekers of OM to mature audiences as the content was occasionally crude, and there were quite a few instances of strong language. I would categorize this book as Narnia meets Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle for adults, and the nature of the role-playing game featured should also appeal to fans of Dungeons and Dragons. After finishing this engaging story, the ending opened the door for a possible sequel, which sparked my curiosity for things yet to come.
Wayseekers of OM
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