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Publisher's Summary

Nineteen-year-old Ryuk Matsuzaki and his best friend Tamana decide to start over with new avatars. When Tamana is suddenly killed right in front of him in a Tokyo subway, Ryuk knows there is only one place he can search for answers -- Tritania, the world's most popular online fantasy world. Standing in his way are a mysterious guild known as the Shinigami, and his older brother, a Yakuza crime lord hell-bent on squashing his dreams. As a lowly Ballistics Mage, Ryuk must quickly recruit guild members, level up, loot and shoot his way across Tritania to discover the dark and sinister secret behind Tamana's untimely death. Joining him in his quest are a famous Swedish gamer, a powerful half-dragon half-human female assassin, and a devious ax-wielding goblin. Get started on this action-packed, coming of age LitRPG saga from the author of The Feedback Loop series now!

©2017 Harmon Cooper (P)2017 Harmon Cooper

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

a fun and interesting story underneath the humor

If you are in the mood for a literary role-playing game (LitRPG) tale full of fantasy humor, snarky wit, and slapstick comedy, “Fantasy Online: Hyperborea” is the book you are looking for.  This is another story authored by Harmon Cooper and the audiobook edition masterfully performed by Jeff Hays.  It is the first book, in what appears will be a new series which takes place in the Proxmia universe.  Because the book’s events occur in the same universe as “The Feedback Loop” series (which I highly recommend you read), a few of those characters make cameos in this story; such as Dirty Dave.  I quite enjoyed the tie in and interaction having listened to the entire Feedback Loop series.  As this is a separate series, one is not required to have any knowledge of the other series events, but it does make for some additional entertainment value.  If you have listened to any of Harmon Cooper’s other works and enjoyed them, you will not be disappointed by picking up this one.

The book is a coming of age story centered around two battling brothers who are both a part of a crime lord’s family.  This book contains a fair amount of action, adventure and fighting, both in the physical and virtual worlds.  The opening scene is one that hooks you from the beginning and the story continues to unfold after that.  Not only was this scene tense and action-packed, it was rather emotional and impactful.  The author takes you on an emotional rollercoaster ride which seems to decrease in its intensity as you progress down the tracks.  I can say without a doubt, I did not feel as close to the main characters than I did at this scene.  There were a few scenes containing or alluding to slight romantic aspects, but nothing that felt deep and meaningful.  I really liked the characters, but I wanted to see more of their flaws and need to survive as a group; apart from times of fighting monsters together.

Compared to his other works, this book is zanier and at times feels a little over the top with its continuous flow of pokes, zings, and disses happening between characters.  I like when there is tension and banter within a traveling party, but this book seemed much more light-hearted then the others were.  Although there was a great and compelling story underneath, I wished at times that humor was not spread so liberally where the core story aspects felt obscured or covered.  Like when someone uses to much icing on an exceptionally made cake, it can seem overly sweet and hides the part taking so much work to make; the cake itself.  This is not to say that the book was bad, just based on the opening scene, I wanted more of that emotional ride throughout the book and he expense of fewer flying insults.

I will say that the world the author created was fun, interesting, and at times quite unique.  He would take many of the stereotypical fantasy tropes and change them up a bit.  I laughed out loud when the characters ran into some “stinkerbells” which are a combination of a fairy blended with a common house fly; more pests than helpers.  The main character also wielded a very nasty and at times scary sling.  Often in a book of this genre, it is all swords, shields and armor, so a sling was fun.  How many of you role-playing readers would choose a sling as their weapon of choice?  I also enjoyed the pokes at modern society like when the characters ordered lemon peppered sustainable farm raised dragon wings as an appetizer.  Or the multiple times macaroon cookies show up which have their own use and lore in this world; you have to read the book to find out.

Jeff Hays, as usual, skillfully narrated this book and I hope he continues to be the voice of the Proxima universe.  Both he and the author combine together making the audiobook edition of the story that much more fun and entertaining.  Jeff’s ability to voice the many human and non-human characters, use of inflection at proper times, not overdoing the use of sound effects, and ensuring the audio is clean and crisp of anything that would distract the listener is what those familiar with his works expect.   And, once again he hit all these points and more.  He continues to amaze with his skill and talent in narrating audiobooks.

For parents and younger readers, be warned, this book is really intended for more mature audiences for several reasons.  There is heavy use of vulgar language, there are topics involving sex, sexual innuendos, and alcohol use.  The humor at times can be quite crass, often crude, or graphically intense which may not be suitable for younger readers.   Even though the humor is more light-hearted and slapstick focused, much of it is geared towards adults.  If the above offends you, I would not recommend this book.

In summary, if you do not mind overly used adult humor and you enjoy the LitRPG genre, I would say that you may be interested in Fantasy Online: Hyperborea.  As stated earlier, there really is a fun and interesting story underneath the thick layer of humor on top.  I enjoyed the story and the journey both the author and narrator took me on.  However, I would have like to have had a few more deeper and developed plots pulling at my emotional side.

Audiobook was provided for review by the narrator.

Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog

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12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A wonderful Start to a WoW of a world

OK, I have to preface this by saing that Jeff Hays is a beast of a narrator, and I have come to trust his taste in which books he narrates. So, as soon as I saw he worked on it I knew it was going to be good. That is my conceit.

Of course, if all it took for me to enjoy a book was to have Jeff hays read it the world would be wonderful, however, I do require things like great characters, a plot, plausibility, and good storytelling.

Thankfully, Mr. Cooper hits all of my criteria; great charaters? Check out the goblin. plot? How about problems in the real world and VR game? plausibility? This isn't one of those books that touts how great the MMO is, nd is sweeping the world, while if you look at the mechanics you realize it would never work. Storytelling? Zonk! Bam! Check out the ending. It is out of left field, on fire, and moving at the speed of light. You will loe this book and crave more. The only problem that I have is that I have to wait for book 2 to come out.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joe
  • Texas
  • 10-18-17

Great 1st book in the series

The book takes place in the same location as the third book in the Feedback series. It seems to take place in the future after Quantum Hughes. In the real world they are located in Japan. The book has a great story that moves along at a great pace and a good length. The characters are very likable and although very different, blend well together. There is a lot of LitRPG elements to this book and they dont get in the way or are overdone. The narrator is great although I thought the reading was a little slow for my taste and I listened to the book at 1.5x speed. He gives each character their own voice and it fits well with them. The narration really adds to the story. Really enjoying Jeff Hays narration.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A total blast!

Pure and simple fun is the first thought that springs to mind when I think of Fantasy Online. The second thought? Wow!! What an ending! (did not see that coming at all!) This book has awesome characters and great stories. Yes, stories, as in more than one. While they are indeed interconnected there are two separate storylines playing out in this book. One happening in the online world and one in the real world, and both are engaging. Great cast of characters, with Hiccup, the comic relief goblin, definitely being the most memorable. Seriously can't wait to see what comes next.

The book is narrated by the talented Jeff Hays, and as he almost always does he totally nailed it. He doesn't just read the story, he performs the story, completely becoming the various characters, breathing life into each of them via unique vocals and inflection for each of the characters. Definitely one of my favorite narrators recording today.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

instakill

the story is good, well rounded within the litrpg genre. however the "instakill" announcements were a shock and almost deafened me

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Entertaining and Humorous

Hyperborea begins with Ryuk and Tamara resetting their online game avatars to restart to different characters. The only problem is that Tamara gets killed in the real world, which looks like a suicide. The only place that Ryuk could do was to go into Hyperborea and find Tamara, but only to discover that she has been kidnapped in the online world of Hyperborea.

With the goblin, Hiccup and the Swedish aka, FeeTwix, Ryuk set off to rescue Tamara. Hiccup is just a comical character. I just love some of the stuff that he does and says.

There was no surprise for me as to who is the aviator that kidnapped Tamara. The only thing is why and for what purpose. I hope the second book will shed more light into this mystery.

In the real world, Ryuk is dealing with his older brother, who seemed to be a bully and authoritative, controlled freak. There isn't much surprise especially Ryuk's brother is the head of the Yakuza. It does explain why Ryuk is being ordered around and why Ryuk spend so much time with Tamara in the online world.

Hyperborea is a beginning of a series where the online characters are trying to break into the real world. Something sinister is at work here. There are a few surprises of where the a handful of characters of Unigaea showed up in Hyperborea. Nothing can be so unpredictable as to the ending. It will be a surprise to anyone who listen/read this book.

The narrator, Jeff Hays will be one of the narrators I would like to listen again. I love his voices for Hiccup, FeeTwix, Ryuk's bodyguard, and the other characters. Each characters has an unique voices.

I was given this audiobook by the author. I have volunteered to write an unbiased review for this book. I was not influenced or compensated in anyway for writing this review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fickin awesome

Ryuk Matsuzaki and his best friend Tamana decide to start over with new avatars. When Tamana is suddenly killed right in front of him in a Tokyo subway, Ryuk knows there is only one place he can search for answers –Tritania, the world’s most popular online fantasy world. Standing in his way are a mysterious guild known as the Shinigami, and his older brother, a Yakuza crime lord hell-bent on squashing his dreams.

As a lowly Ballistics Mage, Ryuk must quickly recruit guild members, level up, loot and shoot his way across Tritania to discover the dark and sinister secret behind Tamana’s untimely death. Joining him in his quest are a famous Swedish gamer, a powerful half-dragon half-human female assassin, and a devious ax-wielding goblin.
Now I have a deep love of the feedback loop,if your a fan you'll find these guys back in it ...Jim the hostelier (known as Jim the doorman in the Loop series), Croc, Cid the Bartender, and Dirty Dave. There's more that are mentioned.
well basically I fell in love with this story and the characters right from the beginning it's shoot fickin chocolate milk out your nose hilarious but also very dark and serious and always filled with nonstop action . So much love and depth are in this one ! For ficks sake the man created an entire world with separate continents ! Each with their own history and religion,even their own governments! Harmon created the thealian language just for the book !
I can't imagine anyone but Jeff reading Harmons books he brings a breath of life to the characters and hiccup is exactly as I imagined him

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The litrpg series is takes a great turn

This series is truly amazing. Any fans of D&D will love this series. It can be picked up anywhere and enjoyed immensely. This particular chapter will bring back some crossover characters from other stories. Will introduce you to hiccup the goblin and his awful antics. A plot to murder gamers will be revealed. The heroes must find out who is behind it and why while trying to survive. Enjoy this amazing chapter in the series. I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not as good as feedback loop

What did you like best about Fantasy Online: Hyperborea? What did you like least?

I liked that the book is based on Tritania, the fantasy world from the 3rd Feedback Loop book. All the references to that series made me giddy. But apart from that, I didn't quite connect with Ryuk and Tamana in this book, the way I had connected with Quantum and Frances in Feedback Loop. Ryuk was missing the swag Quantum had. I didn't care much about what happened to Tamana either.

What was most disappointing about Harmon Cooper’s story?

This is the fourth LitRPG book authored by Harmon Cooper that I'm reading. I had liked the first three. But by this fourth time, I guess things are feeling a little repetitive. There are Japanese characters this time around, but that didn't quite take it to a whole different level.

Have you listened to any of Jeff Hays’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I've listened to the 3 feedback loop books before and Jeff's performance in this book is as good as ever. He does awesome voice acting for all of the characters and never disappoints.

Any additional comments?

I received this audiobook for free from the author / narrator / publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Engrossing story and amazing Narration

First let me say that Jeff Hays is the man. His voice work is incredible and never loses his character and never leaves you wondering who is speaking. Lots of great production with this book and couldn't stop myself from finding any excuse to put my headphones in to listen to what was going to happen next. Harmon Cooper's writing in this book in engrossing and a lot of fun. I cannot wait to go back and relisten to the Feedback Loop series of his with the character references. Can't wait for book two to come. Again, kudos to Hayes and Cooper who are on top of the LitRPG game with this one!

I was provided a free copy of this audiobook by the publisher and/or author in exchange for a fair unbiased review via audiobook boom.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-03-18

N need for all the stats... but sorry is enjoyable

sense of humour ravings me of blood bowl books. Sorry is engaging but too many reading of stats. would have preferred if had to give stats just say level but the amount of times they were read out in full each time had me easy of getting next book at times 2 - 3 mins of just reading stats.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Norma Miles
  • 10-25-17

Won't you come inside?

Ryuk's real life In Tokyo is not a happy one. He is bullied by his older brother, a yazuka boss, and he fears that his one friend and gaming companion does not return the growing love that he feels for her. When she dies by throwing herself in front of an underground train shortly after they have both logged out of the Proxima world of Tritania, Ryuk returns there to find her in the still surviving form of a Reborn Player Character. But she's gone: she has been kidnapped. But why, and by whom? With the help of a potty mouthed goblin, Hiccup, and a Swedish online advertising hero, FeeTwix, Ryuk goes in search of Tamina, his dear friend, determined to bring her back.

But far more is happening because Tamina's death had not been a suicide and to solve that riddle, the newly forming guild will have to rise quickly through the levels to travel from the continent of Hyperborea to others accessible only to higher level players. And meanwhile, in real life Japan, Ryuk's brother is continues to expand his desire for total control.

This is a fabulous book, filled with great characters and dialogue as well as a good, original storyline and ever increasing fast, full and very visual action as the book progresses to the spectacular and unexpected ending. Frequently very funny, it is also thought provoking, too. .Add in the superb narration by Jeff Hays who brings the protagonists fully to life with his individual performances for each one within the well paced and emotionally charged text reading, this is an audiobook not to be missed. It doesn't matter if you are not a gamer, give this story a try: you won't be disappointed.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Scott R
  • 09-29-17

Excellent example of LitRPG

The LitRPG world is coming to life more and more wirh varied examples, and im not a massive fan of this type.
The stats can be lost and fogotten almost as quick as rhey are said but the brillance of the characters and their development makes this a worthwhile buy. listening to the various effects performed by Jeff Hays does credir to Harmon Coopers job here. As a fan of his Feedback series i wasnt too sure but it seems a good writer can write almost anything. A very good writer can make even a dubious proposition come alive and make a fan of me. The genre would be a poor substitute without the real life action outside the game and without 2 characters the excellent hoblin Hiccup and the live feed, advert pushing swede which gives many options to the usual stories.
The humour helps a lot especially on audio but will probably mean you either love it or hate it attitude as the humour is very zany and childish.
For me in a fan and also bit of a child so im happy to go back again.
This audio was gifted to me and i have left an honest review and as such is my own opinion.