Book Review: Omnitopia Dawn by Diane Duane

July 7, 2019

Details from Audible:

Omnitopia Dawn

Omnitopia #1
Narrated by: Kirby Heyborne
Length: 14 hrs and 58 mins
    
 4 out of 5 stars (164 ratings)
 

Publisher's Summary

In an increasingly wired and computer-friendly world, massive multiplayer online games have become the ultimate form of entertainment. And the most popular gaming universe of all is Omnitopia, created by genius programmer Dev Logan. For millions of people around the world, Omnitopia is an obsession, a passionate pastime, almost a way of life. But there's a secret to Omnitopia, one that Dev would give his life to protect: the game isn't just a program or a piece of code. It's become sentient - alive. And it's Dev's job to keep it that way.

©2010 Diane Duane (P)2010 Tantor

Initial Thoughts:

Years ago (I mean 20 plus!) I read a book by Diane Duane, “Spock’s World” which I enjoyed. I realized last year that I would be meeting her at a convention and decided I should read at least 1 more book by her and get her to sign it. Plus, as is often my reason, it got a good rating on Audible so I listened to it.

Main Points:

As an author myself, I always try to see the positive in a book and give constructive criticism. So I’ll start with the positive. This book has excellent descriptions, great dialogue, interesting and well-drawn characters and explores the idea of MMORPG in an interesting way by seeing all the different sides of it. That is the players, the people who work at the company, players family and spouses, the people who own the company, reporters who write about it, celebrities who play the game and of course those people who want to take advantage, destroy the game and steal from other players.

I’m not into MMORPGs, don’t think I ever will be but I appreciate the idea and understand it could be a lot of fun. This book, however, is not a lot of fun, in truth, it’s barely any fun at all.

The massive problem here is that for an audiobook that is over 15 hours, basically for the first 10 almost nothing happens! Seriously there is just character after character introduced and we learn lots of details of their personal lives (which in the end don’t matter except for the main character) and are even given in painful detail how the coding and world-building parts of this imaginary gaming system Omnitopa works.

It’s like the author has become famous enough that her editor just didn’t care anymore, books should have 1 simple rule, if what you’re reading doesn’t further the story or develop the character, then it should be cut. When things do finally start to happen you know that it won’t take long to resolve it because the book is almost done, so that’s not a good feeling either.

Final Thoughts:

The ending was a little interesting, I can spoil it because it’s in the book description. Omnitopa is being attacked by hackers and becomes a form of artificial intelligence. I would have like to see what this new being would do but the book ends before anything else can happen and there never was a sequel. There were moments I liked, most of the characters and the end did leave you to wonder what would be next but to be honest there was plenty of other times I was so bored I almost gave up listening. So I can only give this a 6 out of 10. I gave a full point just for the voice work, the narrator does a good job and does handle different voices/accents well. I really, however, wouldn’t recommend it unless you seriously love Diane Duane and want to read everything she’s done. There are some scenes of simulated violence, so I would say ages 12+.