Awaken Online: Flame is the ninth instalment (based on publication order) in the epic LitRPG saga written by Travis Bagwell that revolves around a fictional Virtual Reality MMORPG named Awaken Online. At the same time, it’s the second entry in the Tarot series, a new parallel story that introduces us to new characters and shows us a completely new side and area of Awaken Online.
Finally out of that damned Mage Guild! And straight back into a dark hole. It kinda feels like Finn doesn’t like the light very much, which is funny since he is the Fire Avatar!
After Ember, Finn and his companions are thrown into the Abyss, and similarly to the previous entry with the Mage Guild, this one happens entirely inside this dungeon. Two other champions, from the Traders Guild and the Fighters Guild, are thrown into the Abyss too, all landing in different spots of it, but all with the same objective: reach and retrieve a mysterious artefact from the city that lies buried within.
In Awaken Online: Flame we get to see a lot of repetition, and a lot of ants. Ants everywhere.
Finn and friends encounter various different types of ants, over and over again, and by defeating these, find out more about them and the resources these ants use to reinforce their bodies. They learn that they can use these materials themselves, which gives us a view into the mechanics used in Awaken Online to use ones powers to manipulate objects and use them as weapons (in this case Finns fire magic allows him to manipulate certain metals). This adds a new and interesting dynamic to their fights and definitely gives Finn a new advantage for combat.
Through Bilel’s diary, of which we see passages throughout the story, we also get a deeper insight into Lahab’s and his backstory and his discoveries about Mana and the gods, which goes along well with what Finn himself is learning as he advances his own story.
What’s it about? – Synopsis
Deadly competition. Deep desert. A dying tyrant.
Finn Harris was declared the Mage Guild’s champion.
However, that was only the beginning of the Emir’s competition. The next stage will send Finn and his companions deep into the desert north of Lahab in search of a long-lost relic. The magical artefact is said to be held within the Abyss.
Except, this time, he’s not just facing novice mages. Everyone in the region seems to be arrayed against him, god and man alike. Racing against the other two champions, swept into the middle of a conflict between the Emir and those he’s wronged, and at the mercy of a manipulative fire goddess, Finn must battle his way through the Abyss and claim his prize.
Yet he will not stop, and he cannot afford to fail – not with Rachael’s life hanging in the balance.
He will need to embrace his gifts and overcome his past.
Finn will need to become a true prophet of the flame.
What did I think? – Opinion
Another awesome chapter in the Awaken Online series and the Tarot trilogy. I still really like Finn as a character, and still hate his flaws and doubts, his grief and his sadness. There’s a lot of personal evolution in Finn, Kyyle and Julia in this novel and they all learn new abilities and more about their powers , but I still can’t get over Finn going after something he most probably won’t ever get back, someone who’s been gone for a long time. Get over it man!
But there’s a few things going on in this entry which make it less awesome than Ember or any of the main story entries. First off, it becomes quite repetitive. The main characters go through a tunnel into a cavern, encounter ants, and fight them. From there into another tunnel, a cavern, more ants to kill. A tunnel, cavern, ants, kill. And so on. This does drag the whole thing and did bore me a little bit.
Then there’s the fact that it seems that neither Finn, Julia or Kyyle EVER log out of the game. If they are awake, they are in Awaken Online. This is something that gets addressed in the main storyline with Jason and his friends (they have certain obligations, or other reasons to log out), but here it does not, and with the in-game time compression in consideration, when they do log off, it’s the equivalent of 3 days out of game.
And lastly, as in Ember, none of the main characters ever dies. They never really struggle, and every encounter is somehow miraculously beaten in the end. If you look at the main story, Jason and his companions lose some battles, their characters die more than once, and that is OK. It is a game, they respawn, and continue their story. But Finn, Kyyle and Julia don’t. Not a single time, they always manage to escape with just 1% health left (specifically 1% in this entry).
Awaken Online: Flame (Tarot 2)
Book Title: Awaken Online: Flame
Book Description: Awaken Online: Flame is the ninth instalment (based on publication order) in the epic LitRPG saga written by Travis Bagwell that revolves around a fictional Virtual Reality MMORPG named Awaken Online.