Awaken Online: Hellion is the eleventh 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.
If, like me, you’ve been reading the Awaken Online books in the order they’ve been released at, you might be a little tired of Finn, and missing Jason. You might be anxious to know how the story goes on, and what happens to our favourite necromancer.
Well, the wait is over. Jason is back! And so is every character we’ve met in Awaken Online so far, including Finn, but no worries, we see more of Jason! And hell, we’re in for a beast of an adventure, starting with Jason being publicly challenged by Finn, imprisoned in-game, and being interviewed by the CPSC through an independent lawyer because of all the commotion that’s happening outside of Awaken Online.
Awaken Online: Hellion introduces some major alliances, massive (you know, Avengers: Endgame massive!) battles and sieges. And some big surprises along!
We also get our first rumour or hint about the Air Avatar, supposedly called “Smiley”!
What’s it about? – Synopsis
Jason’s back! And he’s ready for some revenge!
Roughly a month has passed in-game since Thorn’s attack on the Twilight Throne. In that time, the dark city has managed to recover and rebuild – growing the ranks of Original Sin at the same time.
Which is good, because that brief respite is over. The Avatar of Flame has risen within the depths of the northern desert and has thrown down a digital gauntlet to Jason – with a gate piece hanging in the balance. Even worse? His opponent is none other than Finn Harris, the ‘father of modern AI.’ The same man that may have been behind Thorn’s attack on the Twilight Throne.
And in the wake of recent events – the committee hearing back in the real world and the attack on his people – Jason is no longer content to just react; to wallow in the safety of his kingdom. If he’s to be painted the villain… well, then it’s long past time he fully embraced that role.
Because now it’s personal.
And there’ll be no holding back…
What did I think? – Opinion
I don’t know wheeeeere to start! Well, I could start at the end. Because that’s what reading Hellion feels like when you start reading it. I really liked this different dynamic, with Jason being imprisoned and being interviewed, telling the story of how he got to that point, with small interruptions to show the interviewers reaction, up to point where the story and present merge. It just keeps it interesting, creates tons of anticipation and makes you want to read more and faster.
Franks Shifter friends and Jason finally meet! And form an alliance, obviously. It’s an amazing sudden mix of abilities with lots of potential, one example being Eliza and Spider creating a potion to alter someone’s affinity.
I liked the fact that Jason and co made use of elements that were introduced in the Tarot Trilogy, but I found it a little disappointing that Jason and his friends had no problem at all with the ants that caused Finn so much trouble. But, on the counterpart, I loved the fact that the islands where basically converted into “Zombie Ant Factories”. I mean, why not?
Then we get to the part where Jason is imprisoned, the present. We get to see what kind of prison it is, and that hundreds (if not thousands) of players are literally stuck there. Unable to respawn outside or escape. Unable to play Awaken Online, basically. With all the monitoring Cerillion Entertainment performs, how do they not see this? How is there no mention of any player complaining? And all these players are very unhappy with Finn, so they sacrifice themselves over and over to Jason, and become zombies. A lot of zombies. 140.000 zombies!
And here comes the second siege. The second massive battle. Everyone brings out their big guns and outperforms anything we’ve seen before. We get a zombie legion, fire beams from space, a huge Groot-like plant man! But the battle still feels disappointing. It constantly made me think of the battle in Avengers Endgame. Individual battles are too quick, explained too fast and lack details. The mighty 1 on 1 between Finn and Jason is cut short, and doesn’t make you feel the WOW factor. There’s so much to cover, and I think maybe having less but better detailed fronts would have been better.
And come on! Alexion becomes a massive super powerful glowing angel that heals nearly instantly, and is defeated in no time by Jason and Finn with a simple combo!?
I really liked the book, but felt it went on for too long. There’s too much talking around, mostly in the first half. The whole interview part and all the way up to the second siege could be shorter. The first siege is great, with good descriptions, details and twists, but it takes too long from the beginning to the first siege, and it also takes too long from Jason’s imprisonment up to the second siege. I think this book could have been 100+ pages shorter.
Also, multiple times throughout the saga its been said that there’s been physiological changes to the characters in real life, as in Jason seeming stronger and with a bit more muscle, Frank having lost a lot of weight and gained a lot of muscle. Ok. But Finn? Suddenly he can walk again in real life? I thinks that going a bit too far.
Awaken Online: Hellion (AO 5), by Travis Bagwell
Book Title: Awaken Online: Hellion
Book Description: Awaken Online: Hellion is the eleventh 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.