You know all those mixed emotions you have when you reach the end of a much loved series? The nerves in case things don't turn out how you want them to, the sadness that this is your final adventure with those characters you've become so invested in and the worry that it won't live up to your expectations. I felt all those and more before I picked up The Final Frontier, I've had so much fun reading this series and I really didn't want to see it come to an end. Thankfully Jeff Norton manages to end the things on a high note and I think this really was my favourite book in the series.
Jonah has been through so much since the first book and he's grown into a young man that we can be proud of. He's been faced with difficult decisions, ones where there isn't always an easy solution, but no matter what he's always remained true to his beliefs and tried to do what's right. He has been lied to, manipulated and had people try to force him into things he's not comfortable with but he's also found out who is friends really are. He's lost people he loved and found people who are loyal to him that he would risk his life for in an instant. In short, he's grown up.
I don't want to say too much about the plot of The Freedom Frontier because I want readers to be able to dive in and experience it fully for themselves. Instead I'm just going to talk about the series as a whole and tell you just some of the reasons I've loved it so much. These books are full of action and adventure, the characters are faced with moral dilemmas, friends become enemies and enemies become friends. Nothing is what it first seems and just when you've changed your mind about a particular character something will come along and make you believe you were right about them in the first place. This is a world of different shades of grey, there is no black and white and both sides of the war have done questionable things. I think this quote sums that up perfectly:
"The Guardians wanted freedom. The Millennials wanted control. And both sides were willing to kill for their goals. He wondered how different they actually were. Whose side was he really on?"
Jonah is the one who has been stuck in the middle and he's handled that difficult position incredibly well. I have to mention Sam here too, she's been such a fantastic friend to Jonah and she has always had his back even when she isn't sure he's making the right choices. The two of them will take on any challenge and they always come out fighting for what they believe in.
The Metawars series is full of unexpected twists and turns, these books will grab you from the very first page and you won't want to stop until you've read them all. This final book is a game changer in the most wonderful ways, it took me on a rollercoaster of emotion and left me with a huge smile on my face. I don't think I can recommend this series highly enough and it's definitely put Jeff Norton on my list of must read authors.
on 26 January 2014
It has been quite a ride so far in the MetaWars series and I went into Freedom Frontier with heavy reservations. From the book, Fight for the Future, Jeff Norton managed to win me over to his side. With the books that followed, The Dead are Rising and Battle of The Immortal, Jeff Norton kept up the pace and kept on improving his storyline as he went. The books never faltered for a moment. I have to say that not only I saw a great story unfolding, it also became apparent for me that Jeff Norton as an author kept on improving, his writing style the flow and pacing and use of words kept on improving.
There has been some time in between the publishing dates of book three (2nd of May 2013) and four so for the sake I will give brief status update of what has happened in the earlier books. The MetaWars is set in the near future dystopian setting and tells a story about several major Metatrends. With the governments going bankrupt, private companies rose to the occasion and more or less took over the world, one person among them was Matthew Granger who created the MetaSphere, a place where people can easily "jack-in"and live their perfect virtual lives. The MetaSphere is the perfect place to escape to because, where would you rather be? A poverty stricken Earth or a no worries virtual place? This is also a heavy theme that is explored all throughout the four books. At the heart of the story we find the main protagonist of the series, Jonah Delacroix, who is thrown in the midst of the fight for the future between the Millenials, who want to privatize the MetaSphere and the Guardians who want to make it free for everyone, by liberating the four corners that all hold a part of the MetaSphere server, so far the Guardians have succeeded in liberating a few corners but this hasn't been without sacrifice for both parties. Besides Jonah there is Sam Kavanaugh, the daughter of the leader of the Guardians. They make a good team but do their allegiance lie in the same direction??
As the story opens I was directly thrown in a very emotional scene, the other books opened in a different way, I cannot say that those was full of joy but with Freedom Frontier I directly got a sense of impending doom. It was all boiling down to something big, and after the introducing chapters it's just one non-stop ride to save humankind. Jonah, Sam and the rest of the Guardians have their minds set on liberating the last remaining corner in Canada, they have air and land invasions planned and they hope they can beat Matthew to the pass. The Millenials are busy with evacuating the last corner before the Guardians can make their strike. Now you might think that with these revealing in the early pages of the book, what else is written in the last 300 pages? Well here Jeff Norton hits the reader, and it isn't a gentle tap. He completely transforms the heretofore proposed story, I had my minds set on a final action packed battle between the Guardians and the Millenials and to finally see who would win, I have had been thinking hard about where my allegiance would be but both parties had their good point but also their bad points. But back to the major twist. Matthew had another devious plan to let the MetaSphere be his again but through a different way, he constructs a Imprint Chamber. But Matthew's plan soon turn full front against him and he looses everything he is dear, his friends (yes he did have them) and his Millenial force. He is on he his own similarly does this count for Jonah and Sam and the Guardians, some of them of the Guardians are drawn into the scheme of Matthew... So it basically comes down to this, both the Millenials and Guardians have become none existent and Jonah and Sam and Matthew are left on their own... This did paved a way for an interesting conclusion as these three protagonist finally start to realize that there is much more than there first presumed causes. They just needed to have that trigger, and they surely got it. OK, now I am going to stop talking about the story, but I can guarantee you that you will be surprised, in a terrific kind of way by the twist that Jeff Norton throws at you, you will just as I abandon all pretense of what you might have had come to believe of the direction that this story would go into!
As I told in my review of the earlier books, I was impressed with how Jeff Norton kept on developing his protagonists. I have to say that in the first book, most felt a bit static and I had some minor remarks about Jonah's emotions and that when he lost his mother it wasn't shown in the way that I would have liked to have seen a grief stricken young boy, it felt moer robotic, HOWEVER, yes it deserves capitals, Jeff Norton really stepped up his game in the subsequent books and put a nice emphasis on the emotional side to many of his characters. Making them feel that much more human and I really started caring not only for Jonah and Sam but also for Matthew, yes he is in many ways the bad guy of the story but all that I have come to learn about him in the first three books did leave some thoughts wondering about him. As for in this fourth and final book, it isn't just a race to the finish, but there is also a transition in the characters, one that I embraced with open arms. Like I said above about throwing away the pretense of the story, you will be doing it in some ways for the characters as well. With the team-up of Matthew, Jonah and Sam several important things about the history of these characters comes to show. Yes, Jonah and Sam are still the determined young adults fighting for their cause, but it seems that Jonah has been learning, a lot, his final transformation in the confident young man he became is just remarkable, added to this is finally that Jonah and Sam give into each other, I knew from the start that they were made for each other! great to see it finally happen. Now as for the bad guy, Matthew, his revealing really stopped me right in my tracks, how Jeff Norton went about and revealed several heavy subject surrounding his past really had me throw away my hate for him, yes he is still an ass sometimes and his reasoning can be better be brought to practice than all out destruction, his heart is in the right place and he cared for more than he initially let on, yes this isn't a typo, so ill repeat: his heart is in the right place and he cared for more than he initially let on! Brilliant.
MetaWars: Freedom Frontier is the perfect conclusion to this outstanding young-adult series. What initially started with a plan when the Icelandic ash cloud shut down air traffic, now has shown in full colors that it really payed off to chase your idea's. I was hooked from the first book and Jeff Norton has never let me down in his stories, I had some thoughts as to how this story might finished but he really threw me a cruveball right there and then. It's these last minute changes that really get me fired up about reading books. They make the story. From the idea with escaping reality and who controls who down to the world and the characters that live in it, this book is just perfect. People... get to reading this series, it will not let you down!