Kostick, Conor. 2008. Saga.
All motion ceased. A Communication-Assassination probe gradually awoke from a dream in which it had been submerged far beneath deep arctic waters. Barely ten million kilometers away, a star was blazing with uncomfortable brightness. The probe slid filters over its sensors, the first action it had taken in a hundred and fourteen years, five months, three days, seventeen hours, and forty-four seconds. It conjectured that a human being waking up to a bright morning and reaching for sunglasses would feel exactly the same as the probe did now.
Saga is the 'thrilling' conclusion to Epic. (I reviewed Epic here. This was my lead: "Looking for a fast-paced science-fiction novel set on a distant planet? Looking for a novel that explores the depths of the video world? The fun of video gaming and virtual realities? Looking for a great dystopic novel? Look no further for all your needs than Conor Kostick’s novel Epic. Looking for a fast-paced science-fiction novel set on a distant planet? Looking for a novel that explores the depths of the video world? The fun of video gaming and virtual realities? Looking for a great dystopic novel? Look no further for all your needs than Conor Kostick’s novel Epic.") Change "Saga" for "Epic" and it's still a fairly accurate assessment.
When Epic concluded, the video game "Epic" perished. But soon after, there's a new game to be found on New Earth. A new game with deadly consequences. A game delivered via probe. (I'm assuming satellite probe, satellite feed would be an appropriate description though I don't know if the book sums it up like that.) The citizens are unaware of the game's origins, and definitely unaware of the risks, unaware that they're putting their lives on the line.
Featuring mainly new characters, the book takes readers on another exciting adventure. Old characters both 'real' and 'virtual' do have a role in the plot. Saga--for that is the name of the game--is a very different virtual world than Epic was. It's urban for one thing. Second, there's no magic. Which gives Cinderella Dragonslayer a distinct advantage. All other humans on New Earth have to start from scratch, create new avatars. But for whatever reason, the probe was unable to erase Cinderella. So Erik is the only player who is unaffected, unchanged, by the Dark Queen's secret strategy.
Who is the Dark Queen? I'll leave that for you to discover. Same goes with the details of her secret strategy. Suffice to say that if you like excitement and suspense, you'll probably enjoy this one.
If I'm being honest, I must admit that I liked the 'game' Epic much much better than the 'game' Saga. But the writing, the style, the characters, the plot are equally enjoyable. I just prefer the fantasy/magic elements more than urban street fighting and anarchist punk air boarding. But that's just me.