I really must stop reading the first books of series when the second books aren't out yet! But this one's safe: no cliffhanger ending.
Omnitopia Dawn is the first book in a series of unspecified length about the creator of a massively multiplayer online game and his fight to save his creation from evil hackers and underhanded corporate competition. Have I lost you yet? It's an adult book, and I was worried when a lot of scenes were set in boardrooms and offices and characters were Chief Financial Officers and suchlike. But not to fear: the true setting is Omnitopia itself, every gamer's perfect fantasy, every fantasy-reader's dream made real. Dev Logan's genius is that he's created a game platform that can be anything, any world you can imagine populated with any characters you can think up. And with his new RealFeel game controller, you can enter the world and feel as though you are there, complete with smelly griffin poop to step in.
It's not an original idea--how can it be, when it's what every video game aspires to--but Duane makes it convincing and oh-so-appealing. So when we find out about the former-friend-turned-corporate-rival who has hired some criminal hackers to bring down Logan's system right when he's rolling out a new expansion, we're invested, we care, we start cheering for the CFO and the programmers and various other employees who rally to face down the threat. And the battle is conducted within Omnitopia, so Dev gets to wield a convincing Sword of Truth, and shutting down attackers' IPOs is rendered as bashing them with clubs etc. (There is definitely some hero/king imagery going on that translates back into the real world in interesting ways. Dev Logan is perhaps a bit too Good to be entirely convincing, but in the end you swallow it because you really want to.)
I'm no computer geek, but Diane Duane seems to know what she's talking about when it comes to the science behind Omnitopia (apparently she once developed a game for Electronic Arts, so she does know whereof she speaks). At any rate, all the programming-speak was realistic enough to fool me. I suspect that if you really enjoy stories about corporate espionage and financial finagling then you'll find this one a little thin, because Omnitopia is all about the magic. Thank goodness!
The story ends satisfactorily (no cliffhangers=much happiness!), but there are intriguing sequel possibilities. In the meantime, if someone would actually develop something like Omnitopia, I would definitely want to play! Guess I'll just have to keep reading fantasy.
Omnitopia Dawn is like chocolate ice cream: fun and satisfying and sweet and you'll definitely want more.