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Questland

by Carrie Vaughn

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
789298,962 (3.35)6
"Questland is a thrill ride...Richly imagined, action-packed, maximum fun." --Charles Yu, New York Times bestselling author of Interior Chinatown YOU FIND YOURSELF IN A MAZE FULL OF TWISTY PASSAGES...   Literature professor Dr. Addie Cox is living a happy, if sheltered, life in her ivory tower when Harris Lang, the famously eccentric billionaire tech genius, offers her an unusual job. He wants her to guide a mercenary strike team sent to infiltrate his island retreat off the northwest coast of the United States. Addie is puzzled by her role on the mission until she understands what Lang has built:  Insula Mirabilis, an isolated resort where tourists will one day pay big bucks for a convincing, high-tech-powered fantasy-world experience, complete with dragons, unicorns, and, yes, magic.   Unfortunately, one of the island's employees has gone rogue and activated an invisible force shield that has cut off all outside communication. A Coast Guard cutter attempting to pass through the shield has been destroyed. Suspicion rests on Dominic Brand, the project's head designer-- and Addie Cox's ex-boyfriend. Lang has tasked Addie and the mercenary team with taking back control of the island at any cost.   But Addie is wrestling demons of her own--and not the fantastical kind. Now, she must navigate the deadly traps of Insula Mirabilis as well as her own past trauma. And no d20, however lucky, can help Addie make this saving throw."Gamers rejoice! Carrie Vaughn has conjured up a fun and fast-paced story filled with elves, d20s, and Monty Python riffs."--Monte Cook, ENnie Award-winning creator of the Numenera roleplaying game… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Allie is a professor and a PTSD sufferer courtesy of having survived a school shooting incident where a friend died in her arms. She’s recruited to investigate an island owned by a billionaire that was supposed to be a fantasy playground, but whose forcefield has gone up, isolating those inside. With a small team of mercenaries, she’s supposed to use her knowledge of fantasy tropes—and of her ex-boyfriend, one of the leaders of the team that was working on the island—to restore outside control. It’s an interesting book, no actual fantasy in it but trope-aware and interested in the difference between the appearance of fantasy and its reality/the things that are attractive about fantasy and the things that are not. ( )
  rivkat | Jul 5, 2022 |
Fun, geeky adventure for those of us with castles and dragons and really advanced technology in our not-so-secret hearts. Enjoyed it very much, although I'm still mulling over the message and it's not all that clear. Is there a sequel planned? I don't know -- feels a little like a slightly unfinished D&D Campaign and I'm interested if that will change before publication.

Advanced Reader's copy provided by Edelweiss. ( )
  jennybeast | Apr 14, 2022 |
This is like Ready Player One meets Jurassic Park.

Professor of Comparative Literature Addie Cox is called on by a famous tech billionaire, who tells her that he has taken an island and turned it into a fantasy theme park, but he has lost contact with the island, and a Coast Guard ship that tried to approach it was destroyed and all the crew killed when they hit a force field around the island. He wants Cox to go in with a team of security consultants to find out what has happened at the island. They want Cox because of her expertise in fantasy literature and pop culture, but also because the head of the project is her ex-boyfriend.

So they go to the island, and find that it is full of unicorns, dragons, sphinxes, flying monkeys, and other fantasy creatures brought to life by a mix of mechanics and bio-engineering. There are towers and labyrinths and forests and taverns, and quests and puzzles designed to entertain visitors to the island. Cox is torn between loving the idea of her fantasies brought to life, and wanting the danger to be over (compounded by severe PTSD from being a victim in a school shooting).

The story is pretty predictable, but that's fine. This is really fun fantasy fluff. It's full of refences to everything from LOTR, Harry Potter, and Labyrinth to Dr. Demento and Leroy Jenkins. There's nothing profound here, and also nothing terribly original but that's the whole point: the hubris of the island's creators is just as predictable as in Jurassic Park. There's a lot of "just because you can doesn't mean you should." This is a fun, silly, and very enjoyable book. ( )
  Gwendydd | Feb 21, 2022 |
While I feel as though I'm taking a sledgehammer to a walnut, the reality is that I finished this novel with the sense that it really needed to be significantly longer, as I approached the final "level" I was thinking that there was no way that it could live up to expectations, and I was right. That said, this is a perfectly good entertainment about what happens when fantasy as a way of life goes too far, but less successful as a commentary on "Silicon Valley" authoritarianism at its worst. ( )
  Shrike58 | Aug 6, 2021 |
I don't want to be mean to Carrie or to anyone else who enjoyed Questland, but to me this read like a lazy rehash of Dream Park without any of the subtlety, wonder, mystery, or character and story development. The overt preciousness of the main character and her anti-feminist token romance with the antagonist were almost unbearable, and the machine-gun drops of various geek-cred nods came off less like a tribute to the genre(s) and much more like a checklist of callbacks to placate the widest possible audience – not a difficult feat when, as the author describes in her acknowledgments, geek culture has become so decidedly mainstream and overwhelmingly commercial. Vaughn has put to paper what Netflix had already inflicted upon us with Stranger Things: an uninspired stream of token nostalgia masquerading as original content. Unfortunately, this adventure has already been run, and it was way better back in the day.

I know Carrie can do better, because her Wild Cards work is right up there with many of the other talented authors in the collective. ( )
  funkyplaid | Aug 4, 2021 |
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Okay, Professor Cox, so yeah, what I want to do is show that Moby Dick and Pokemon are both symbolic of rampant capitalism by portraying the inherently destructive nature of the relentless pursuit of abstract consumerism."
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"Questland is a thrill ride...Richly imagined, action-packed, maximum fun." --Charles Yu, New York Times bestselling author of Interior Chinatown YOU FIND YOURSELF IN A MAZE FULL OF TWISTY PASSAGES...   Literature professor Dr. Addie Cox is living a happy, if sheltered, life in her ivory tower when Harris Lang, the famously eccentric billionaire tech genius, offers her an unusual job. He wants her to guide a mercenary strike team sent to infiltrate his island retreat off the northwest coast of the United States. Addie is puzzled by her role on the mission until she understands what Lang has built:  Insula Mirabilis, an isolated resort where tourists will one day pay big bucks for a convincing, high-tech-powered fantasy-world experience, complete with dragons, unicorns, and, yes, magic.   Unfortunately, one of the island's employees has gone rogue and activated an invisible force shield that has cut off all outside communication. A Coast Guard cutter attempting to pass through the shield has been destroyed. Suspicion rests on Dominic Brand, the project's head designer-- and Addie Cox's ex-boyfriend. Lang has tasked Addie and the mercenary team with taking back control of the island at any cost.   But Addie is wrestling demons of her own--and not the fantastical kind. Now, she must navigate the deadly traps of Insula Mirabilis as well as her own past trauma. And no d20, however lucky, can help Addie make this saving throw."Gamers rejoice! Carrie Vaughn has conjured up a fun and fast-paced story filled with elves, d20s, and Monty Python riffs."--Monte Cook, ENnie Award-winning creator of the Numenera roleplaying game

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