Metawars 2.0: The Dead are Rising by Jeff Norton, published by Orchard Books on 1st November 2012
The Changsphere offers a safe haven for the Uploaded, and with more processing power than the Southern Corner could ever offer, the Uploaded begin to grow, develop, and yearn to be alive again. With the Changsphere offering competition to the Metasphere, more and more avatars take up residency in it. But the Uploaded begin to prey on live avatars, infecting them, and their users, with their personalities and becoming reborn in the real world. The dead are rising.
Now reborn into the real world, the once dead avatars will not let anyone shut down the Changsphere - the source of their rebirth. Meanwhile, Jonah, Sam, and Axel struggle to keep the Metasphere safe from Granger's assault on the Western Corner, which is housed in the old subway lines under New York City. But Jonah struggles with whether they are doing the right thing: in fighting Granger, they face a more dangerous virtual world, where millions of Uploaded now roam freely, stalking users for their virtual avatars and their real bodies.
I found the first book in the Metawars series hugely exciting and full of drama and action, so I've been looking forward to catching up with the rest of the titles in this series. The second instalment picks up the threads of the plot quickly, so I was plunged straight back into the action. It didn't take me long either to familiarise myself again with all the characters, which I sometimes find is a problem when there's a long gap between reading the books in a series.
Jonah is spending a lot of time in the Changsphere, but begins to suspect that the Uploaded may not be quite as they seem. They hunger for real life and soon realise that through avatars they can have the existence that they long for. As usual it's up to Jonah to try to stop things from spiralling dangerously out of control. He is a great main character. He's tough and brave and determined and always tries to do the right thing even when his decisions may not always turn out as expected. I think male readers in particular will really identify with Jonah and will enjoy seeing him mature throughout the rest of the series, as he faces some tough moral dilemmas.
There are lots of twists and turns in 'The Dead are Rising' which kept me gripped from the first chapter onwards. Jeff Norton never takes his foot off the pedal as Jonah, Sam and the Guardians do everything they can to protect the Metasphere. If you're looking for a fast-paced thriller with a sci-fi twist then this is the series to try.
Although at times I got slightly confused with some of the terminology in the book, I think teenagers will love all of that, as well as some of the themes which are touched upon such as human rights and the dangers of technology.
This is one series to jump right into and will appeal hugely to both a male and female readership looking for adventure and excitement.