“High Fantasy” is book three in the Feedback Loop series written by Harmon Cooper and narrated by Jeff Hays. Today, there exists seven books available in the series, at the time of this review, three are obtainable in audiobook format. A little birdie told me more will be coming. Like the first and second books, this one take you on a Literary RPG (LitRPG) journey to yet another world full of fantasy and other interesting items. This place, as the title suggests, is a world consisting of high fantasy creatures, weapons, and action. Cooper once again blends humor, romance, action, friendships, and intrigue into in interesting continuation of the main character’s life story; Quantum. If you are a lover of the genre, or are looking for a light-hearted adventure with a band of unique players and quests, I recommend you jump into the series and enjoy. This is a serial adventure, so you will want to pick up the previous two books prior to jumping into book three. The mayhem continues and is even bigger and better in the third book.
If you have ever wanted to witness someone getting pummeled by a selfie-stick, our you sought to have a weapons dealer called Dirty Dave supply all your armament goodness, this book is for you. Quantum (or Q), is the same character from the other books in the series. This guy has major anger issues and always gets himself and other in trouble by trying to solve nearly any crisis by murdering everything around. Here again, Quantum needs to depend on his deep friendships to often get him out of the many sticky situations and help calm him down. He begins to lean that violence is not always the best answer, but it has worked for him in the earlier books. He is still torn and at times confused because of his earlier experiences in the virtual worlds and how the physical world continued to blend the lines between real and virtual. High Fantasy drops you right into the action and adventure one has grown to expect from this author. However, book three is even more intense than the previous ones. Although it was briefly referenced in this book, I would fear Quantum enter the virtual Barbie world; no, please no…
Because you have already listened to the previous two books, you will come to know the many quips and humorous references the author employs. You will be presented with quotes and references from multiple movies, TV commercials, and overall gaming geeky goodness. On top of all the humor, we get to meet a frog king, vegetarian dragon, orcs, princess, etc. You will also get various character types, different classes, and clans, you begin to see how fun and involved this book becomes. Not often do you get to hear the word spelunking (caving) used in a high fantasy story, in this book you will. The book pokes fun at the many MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) around level upgrades, the need for experience points (XP), and the many variations on both white and black magic. For example, multiple times one hears the ethereal trumpets blown upon a character’s next level up.
Experience all of the above but add a few troubles our characters are required to deal with in the physical world along with a few from previous virtual worlds. We have mobsters, a visit back to Steam, and even a return to the Feedback Loop’s original world. All of this is complicated even more by an overzealous FDA agent attempting to limit Quantum’s calorie intake to enforce the regulations implemented limiting world obesity. However, when I’m done with each of the books in this series, I often find I’m craving many of the comfort foods enjoyed by our main character. A nice hardy breakfast, Indian food, and burritos are all in my wants when these books are completed.
As with the previous two books, Jeff Hays does an exceptional job narrating High Fantasy. My major complaint is that at the time of this review, I now have to wait for him to find the time to work on narrating the remaining books in the series; no pressure, but I’m looking forward to the next in the series already. Jeff takes his audiobook narration seriously, and that is reflected in all of his works available on Audible. His ability to narrate the many different characters and keep them ordered continues to amaze me. His strong ability to also voice female characters is a definite plus in this series, and Mr. Hays does it flawlessly. It is rare that I find any fault with his narration, and this book is nearly perfect apart from a slight echo sound in the first chapter. This could have been caused by the conversion process, but it seems more like a subtle configuration that was discovered and corrected early in the book. His narration is still way above what other have come to accept as the norm so do not let this small ding drive you away from listening to such a good series.
A word of note to parents and younger readers, this book is intended towards mature audiences. It contains some frequent use of vulgar language, crude humor, sexual innuendoes, and more than more detailed romantic scene. This is not saying the book is rated adults only, but be aware that there is adult subject matter included and if this is something that easily offends, I recommend you pick up a different series to listen too.
If you have been a fan of the previous two books of the series thus far, you will want to grab this book to continue the adventure. The writing is very similar to the previous ones; however, this book is more on steroids with additional humor, characters, and antics necessary to save the day. For someone looking for a series in the LitRPG genre, you cannot go wrong picking up and starting this series.
Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.