MetaGame written by Sam Landstrom and narrated by Paul Michael Garcia is a rather interesting take on the gaming book genre including many of the regular good and evil stereotypes one would expect in this category of literature.
There are the main good characters, the group wanting them to fail at their goal (evil characters), along with an all-knowing and mostly non-benevolent artificial intelligence (The OverSoul) who oversees and rules the game while also providing contracts for individuals or families to complete.
Why would someone want to risk their own life playing games within the game? Quite simply, if you accomplish the goal outlined in the task, one receives credits that are used as in game currency. All of a player’s actions are recorded and can be played back for everyone too see, and from this a few heroes begin to bubble up to the top as the cream of the crop. Only these select few are invited to be a part of the metagame; the game within a game.
As with other types of gambling like games, there is often a high stakes room where the high-rollers, or best players, can come to exchange high risk for great rewards. Few are aware these special quests even exist as they are often thought to be of legend. However, such contracts do exist and they are provided by invite only. The book get interesting when our main character is invited to participate in the metagame by the OverSoul. Often the decisions one makes to win at the metagame are at the sacrifice of others or themselves.
I picked up the book based on the number of good recommendations, and in general it was entertaining and worth my time listening too. I will say that I found many of the characters to be rather two-dimensional and the world somewhat flat, but this may have been the author’s intention being this was taking place in this game world. I like the use of the various social name tags used by the characters, as it brought back many of the vintage names one may hear from early online MMOs like Ultima Online (UO). I never fully emotionally connected to the characters in the book, but most of them were likable.
The narration of the book by Paul Michael Garcia, a veteran of Audible narration, was what I would have expected from someone who previously recorded nearly one-hundred and fifty books (at the time of this review), some of them best sellers such as Necronomicon, Pines, Wikileaks, and many others. He has narrated books in nearly all the main genres one can think of, and most have received four or five star ratings. From a narration perspective, I could not find any faults or flaws worth pointing out in this review. The narration of the book I think helps where the story itself may be a bit weak. It was professionally produced and Mr. Garcia’s voice is one I look forward to hear more of in future listens.