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WesternSFA


Questland
by Carrie Vaughn
HMH, $15.99, 304pp
Published: June 2021

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A BUNCH OF TECH GEEKS AND FANTASY NERDS DON’T REALIZE THE GAME IS FOR REAL?

Dr. Addie Cox is a literature professor living a happy, if sheltered, life in her ivory tower when Harris Lang, the famously eccentric billionaire tech genius, hires her to guide a mercenary strike team to his island retreat off the northwest coast of the United States. Cox is puzzled by their need for her, until she understands what Lang has built. It’s said that sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, and Lang wanted to prove it. On this distant outpost, he has created an enclave full of fantasy and gaming tropes made real, with magic rings that work via neurotransmitters, invisible cloaks made of nanotech smart fabric, and mythological creatures built from genetic engineering and bionics.

Unfortunately for Lang, the designers and engineers hired to construct his Questland have mutinied. Using an energy field, they've cut off any communications and are preventing any approach to the island. Lang must retake control before the U.S. military intervenes. The problem? The mutiny is being led by the project’s chief designer, Dominic Brand, who also happens to be Addie Cox’s ex-boyfriend. It’s up to her to quell the brewing tensions between the tech genius, the armed mercenaries, and her former lover before the island goes up in flames.

Dr Addie Cox is hired by eccentric billionaire Harris Lang to help his mercenary team invade his magical resort island off the northwest coast of the United States.  Lang has the belief that he can make real the theory that any advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic but the developers he hired to create his theme park have gone rogue and the island is cut off with a force-field. Assuming they can get through the force-field Addie will be useful because of her literature degree, long-term gaming experience and because the suspected head of the developer’s rebellion is her ex-boyfriend.  Once they get on the island Addie’s expertise is useful as the trek across the island often resembles a classic D&D campaign with magical creatures like the Sphinx, unicorns and dragons. The developers have split into three distinct factions that are at odds with each other as well as with Harris Lang.

This was a surprisingly quick read, or maybe it is just that I was so immersed in the adventure that I did not realize time was passing in the real world. I read this in one sitting and was sad to see the end.  I am sad that there is not a real island resort like this one, I long to meet the dragon Addie meets.  I highly recommend this book. ~~ Stephanie L Bannon

For more titles by Carrie Vaughn click here

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