"Echo's Revenge: The Ultimate Game" is the story of 2 brothers, online game masters, who discover that the game creature which they have repeatedly killed while gaming online- "ECHO"- is alive and pursuing them in real life. Through their experiences engaging with this overwhelming opponent, they discover the power of their loyalty to each other as they defeat this
seemingly invincible predator. This novel series is part of the on-going investigation taking place at Echohunt.com, which also features science, technology and engineering issues related to reality games.
Reggie Stone, age 14, and Jeremy Stone, age 11, are accomplished game masters. These 2 brothers prefer to live in the online world of gaming which they can control, rather than the explosive, unpredictable world of their mother and her boyfriend. In the online game world, Reggie and Jeremy battle monsters and can easily control their destiny- or so they think.
While participating in a focus group for AAA Reality Games, Reggie meets the top players of the online game "ECHO'S Revenge". What the gamers don't know is that during the focus group the latest evolution of the legendary shape-shifting game monster- ECHO-7- has become a sentient creature who closely monitors all of the game masters' self-admitted fears and weaknesses. When Reggie returns home, his mother's boyfriend has a dangerously violent outburst which forces Reggie and Jeremy to flee from their home. Unknown to them, the outburst is a blessing in
As the boys start on their cross country journey to find their father, they begin to notice frequent Amber Alerts. What surprises them is that they recognize the kidnap victims in the alerts- they are all top gamers from the focus group. During their cross country journey, the boys hitch-hike with a variety of colorful characters and compile their own street code of life and ethics.
When ECHO tries to capture them outside a 7-Eleven convenience store in San Francisco, it finally reveals itself and the boys realize that it is the kidnapper of all of their fellow gamers. Confident after evading this terrifying enemy which knows far too much about them, the brothers arrive at their father's house only to be ambushed, kidnapped, and taken far away to be imprisoned in an abandoned mineral mine in the Mojave Desert. It is here, in a cauldron of underground enslavement with the other kidnapped game masters, that the boys are challenged beyond their physical and emotional limits as they learn the full impact of what ECHO-7 has become: an omnipotent God-like power.
Although face with probable death, the brothers decide to challenge ECHO. They engage the creature, and in doing so discover the power of their loyalty to each other as they defeat ECHO at its own game. In the creature's final moment of sentience, it realizes it's fatal error, and that it has "lost the game", but manages to commit one final act which haunts all of the gamers forever.
This book earns five out of five stars. Austin crafted great, creative, independent characters. Jeremy and Reggie leave home to escape their mother’s cruel boyfriend. While hitchhiking to find their biological father in California, they learn that their fellow gamers were kidnapped by a video game predator that has come to life called ECHO. This villain is hoping to hunt down the boys and kidnap them in the real world. The boys are strong and look out for each other. Reading about brothers with such a strong bond was really nice. They are protective of each other, their relationship is admirable. The reader may come to really care about the characters.
Echo’s Revenge is ideal for gamers, thrill lovers, and adventure fans. Boys would love this book and have fun on the website that accompanies the novel (echohunt.com). The author had a unique style that was really enjoyable. The next books in the series promise to be as exciting and fun as this first book.
*Reviewed by Kristin*
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