As in the first book in the series, Dream Phaze: Germination, Watters takes readers on lavish virtual reality adventures in the DI world, where users can set up luxurious virtual homes and businesses in an experience called Joyville or participate in (or bet on) organized DI sporting events like the World Obelisk League and Exoskeletal Combat. Of course, the endless possibilities bring with them a dark side. The DI rape occurs during what’s deemed a “white experience,” meant to be the safest of DI events, and Watters’s plot quickly pits issues user privacy against victim safety. Alongside the security issues compromising the program, Saxon and Margo struggle with her father’s failing health and outside pressure to buy large amounts of company shares.
Return readers will note this recent installment leaves behind some likable characters as Saxon and his wife have now become shrewd business people hell-bent on preserving their wealth–a choice that exposes how money can corrupt, particularly when the couple minimizes the assault while debating its possible impact on their privacy clause. Watters includes a glossary of technical terms, as well as a chart illustrating how the virtual experiences are set up. Sci-fi fans fond of virtual reality will be fascinated by both the technology and the issues it raises.
Takeaway: A virtual reality immersion program is threatened by unexpected violence in this intriguing thriller.
Great for fans of: D. Rus’s AlterWorld Vivian Vande Velde’s Heir Apparent.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-