If you have enjoyed any of Harmon Cooper’s other books within the Proxima Galaxy, including Feedback Loop and Fantasy Online, you need not read any farther as you will want to pick up “The Last Warrior of Unigaea”; the latest release giving us a look at another online world taking place within the same universe. However, this book is a bit darker and grittier than his previous ones as it centers around our main character who is an infamous player killer; and he likes it that way. Not only are we fortunate enough to have Jeff Hays return to narrate this book, as he has with the others Proxima Galaxy series, we are also privileged to get a second narrator by way of Annie Ellicott voicing the character of Sam Raid. Even though Harmon is able to write so prolifically and Jeff is able to narrate anything thrown at him, it was a pleasant surprise having someone accompanying his narration. This book becomes more of an audio drama than simply an audiobook narration. In my opinion, Cooper is maturing in his storytelling talent as this book seemed to be more character driven and less comedic, but there is still a fair amount of humor in this book so don’t worry. I liked it, and if you are a fan of the Literary Role Playing Game (LitRPG) genre, I believe you will also find this book quite interesting.
Even though the book seems a bit short at first, it did not feel that way while listening. In no way did I feel cheated by the amount of content provided. This book aligns closely with the other books in the Proxima Galaxy series; only Fantasy Online was nearly twice as long as his other books. I will say that when you finish a book and want to start the next, it was a good book. The book felt deeper and grander than many of the other LitRPG books I have previously read. It had some highly emotional portions, yet did not lack any of the expected humor from this author. Another unique and fun world containing: orcs, dwarfs, walrus, majestic griffins, sea dragons and vampiric mermaids; yes, you read that correctly. You will like the many different character stats and where each of the characters apply them; infamy is best statistic based on our main character. There are numerous “Instakill” events flowing throughout the book. There are both big and small battles needing to be won, and a few surprises along the way. I found that due to the main character being a flagged player killer, his only trustworthy companions are his pet wolf and his fractured sword. You will find that this man is one who truly loves both of his companions, yet there is room for more along the way.
I enjoyed the continued tie-ins with the other Proxima Galaxy worlds. We are treated to spicy dragon wings and some special ale that comes with its own side-effects when consumed. However, we are also given a few newer and somewhat tasty options including fresh seagull enjoyed by many. There continues to be struggles between both the physical and virtual worlds as we have seen in other books from the universe. We are also provided some views into those who are perma-players (they cannot exit the game), regular players, and players who upon death are inserted into the game. There are also many unique and interesting non-player characters or NPCs you will experience during the journey. The main character continues to struggle with his own selfish desires of vengeance against his newer struggle of self-sacrifice because of the actions of another character. The author did an exceptional job of telling the character’s backstories by providing multiple flashbacks telling us why they are the way they are today. I liked having a bit of a break from the virtual world and these provided it.
The books narration by Jeff Hays and Annie Ellicott was first-rate. The book had the feel of a full audio drama, but did not contain the extra sound effects some do not like in their audiobooks. The audio was professionally produced and it did not contain any audio artifacts that may distract you while listening; volume inconstancies, page turns, or swallows. Apart from one character in the book, Sam Raid voiced by Annie Ellicott, Jeff Hays voiced all the other characters. As expected of his narrations, all the characters were given unique voices and personalities bringing them to life while listening. Annie Ellicott, for a narration debut, also did a wonderful job voicing this one character. I look forward to any new releases by The Soundbooth Theatre team and wish them the best of luck in all their future endeavors.
For younger readers or parents, as with Cooper’s other books, be aware this one also contains vulgar language, sexual subject matter including a few aspects of crude humor and innuendos. If any of this type of material offends you, I would not recommend the book or series to you.
In summary, if you are a fan of past Cooper books, picking up this one for a listen is a no brainer. His story telling and writing has continued to improve over time. This book feels more focused and character driven instead of simply being event driven. If you like the LitRPG genre, Cooper is quickly making himself a name as one who bubbles to the top when asked for some of the best authors in the category. Keep up the good work!