Mass Market Paperback, 416 pages
Published November 2nd 2010 by Tor Paranormal Romance
(first published October 23rd 2010)
ISBN 0765365472 (ISBN13: 9780765365477)
Video game designer River Weston is ready to sell her soul to smooth out the glitches in her latest project. When she unwittingly taps into a parallel dimension via cutting-edge technology, a Dark Lord is quick to take her up on her inadvertent offer. Trapped in the world she thought she’d created for her game, River finds herself in a very real alternate dimension that she must escape from before her soul can be used to unleash evil–upon this dimension and many others.
River’s only ally is the sexy and mysterious Chase Hawkins. A prisoner of the Dark Lord, Hawk is a man adrift—literally. His body safe at home under the watchful care of the Guardians’ scientists, his astral-traveling spirit has been enslaved by his people’s worst enemy, the Dark Lord. Clinging desperately to his sense of self, Hawk is determined to turn the tables on his captor before the connection to his body is lost. When the beautiful, achingly familiar River enters the picture, he vows he will do everything he can to save her from her bleak fate.
Drawn together with an inescapable force, Hawk and River must wrest her soul from the Dark Lord’s grasp before it’s too late.
"I'd sell my soul for this game to work."
And with that one phrase, River had given the Dark Lord the power to tap into her virtual video game, reroute code, and, if successful, give him the opportunity to claim her soul.
But at the very least he has to play within the plot of the intended game. River must make it to the final level where either she or her own creation, the Soul Man, would die. But the Soul Man will be the Dark Lord. And Sever, her programmed partner, will be replaced with Hawk, a captive of the Dark Lord's prison.
This story has a little bit of everything. Guardians, Fae, Werewolves, Military, Computers, ... and the list goes on. While it wasn't anything I'd go coo-coo for Coa-Coa Puffs over, I did enjoy it.
It was likely the idea of the story that kept me mesmerized the most. Having Hawk walking around River's game wondering what the hell was in her head that made her come up with some of the crazy-creative details was one thing. Then, being River and seeing your most cherished achievement, her baby that was her game, manipulated and altered to some soul stealing evil entity's will was quite another. Not only does the game itself evolve to challenge the player, but the code that's evolving is being modified.
Though the scene where Hawk finally gave in to his desire for River, and pushed aside the fact that there were forbidden to be together intimately, was my absolute favorite.
Ya know.. not until I posted that excerpt did I realize how repetitive it was. Felt. Feeling. Powerful. Powerful. I suppose it does that a lot.
The ending was just wrong. Nick, River's real world fuck buddy, is an ass in disguise. It's just wrong that Hawk's mind and soul ends up in the guy's body. Definitely deserves a book two, though. Would love to be along the journey back to Hawk's real body so we can finally see what he looks like, and River has alot to learn about who and what she is. 4 out of 5 stars.