The first book of the Saga, Deception Peak, is a young adult adventure fantasy about a teenager, Ian Wilson, who follows his father through a portal that magically appears on their computer screen. They travel into a deceptively beautiful Realm, where horses run free, the wind sings prophetic melodies, and their computer avatars come to life. But when the two are separated, Ian is abducted by a tribe of dragon worshippers and is forced to find his courage. As he struggles for his freedom and embarks on a perilous search to find his father, Ian meets the true peacekeepers of the Realm. It's then that he learns there is a greater purpose for his presence there.
Deception Peak is a fantasy about a boy named Ian and his father Alex who stumble into a magical realm via a portal opened from their computer. Once there, they learn of a world terrorized by a dragon and populated by a group of Dragon worshippers, and another group (Kaemperns) who hate the dragon and the other people too.
First, the audiobook: Overall the narrator did a competent job, but I did not think he had a good voice for the story. His attempts to do female voices weren't particularly good either. And maybe I would have not hated Alex as much if I had read his words instead of listened to his constantly condescending voice? But the worst was when the book broke out in song. These moments were just terrible, completely ripping you from the story and forcing you to sit and listen to a woman sing for minutes at a time with the story going nowhere. And after listening to the entire book, I still don't know who this singer is supposed to be...the wind? the dragon? the fates? some spirit or god?
Now on to the story... I realize this book is for very young YA (age 11 or so), but I am still judging it by its quality. And for that, I would say it is pretty mediocre. This is a classic fantasy where a boy gets thrown into another world and grows, etc. before coming home. This story follows that formula, but the execution is horrible. First off, there is a magic portal caused by their video game programming and it is controlled by a TV remote. I would have had a better time suspending my belief it was completely magic and did not involve a computer and a TV remote. Once in this world, Ian is the voice of reason, while Alex is a completely wreckless idiot. Of course Alex just spends his time telling Ian to not be such a wuss. I feel sorry for Ian here having a father like that. And then... Ian has to spend the entire book trying to rescue his father from his own stupidity.
Furthermore, Ian has little to no character growth here. He stumbles through the novel complaining and whining continuously until he meets the Kaemperns, who rescue him and his father while suffering great loss. Ultimately out of all of the characters in the book, they are all pretty despicable and I didn't care about a single one except the Kaemperns, who didn't show up until near the end (not counting the introduction). Also, his father definitely has no growth except his thinking that maybe it was a bad idea to come there in the first place (duh!)
There is also no romance in this story. Ian initially travels with his friend Abby, who is afraid will tell his story to everyone. Really? A friend would do that? And why would she tell someone a ridiculous story about a computer portal to another world? They would laugh her out of the place. But anyway, the author doesn't keep Abby for long before sending her out of the story and forgetting about her (aka useless character). Then he meets another girl, Brita, who would rather be with Ian's kidnapper and guard.
So overall, the entire book was Ian complaining and Alex being missing in action, while Ian stays with some horrible people, and then leaves and finds some better people to do everything for him. The End.
NOTE: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.