Top positive review
The Reaper Trials Redux
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on September 28, 2022
This volume picks up immediately after the end of the previous volume. Rufus is okay and the Silver Rank Cultist that killed Farah is now also dead, his ultimate attack having slowed it down enough for more folks to get to him.
Jason after being back down to 1 star is being bumped up to 3 stars assuming he can demonstrate his humbleness. He suggests a long road contract for him and his team. They were already planning on something similar to help get Belinda some experience for the Adventure Society Assessment (since she has all her essences and abilities, but hasn't joined yet).
Along the way Jason encounters a Silver Rank monster manifestation at the same town he ran into the Shabs in the first volume. He holds out long enough for his team to get back and then sleeps for 4 days. When he awakens he notices his first scar, something that adventurers get from taking some serious damage.
When they finally get back into town, Jason gets nabbed by a silver ranker at the behest of Cole Silva (one of the big three), Killian Laurent (his most trusted advisor), and Lucius Lamprey (head of the magic society). His friends go crazy looking for him.
Meanwhile back at the torture chamber, Killian has the Star Seed Jason looted that had been seized by the Church of Purity. He enacts a ritual to implant Jason, but as careful readers will recall: The Soul is Inviolable. Meaning that it can't go in unless Jason lets it in. Which the Star Seed attempts to get him to do through exquisite levels of pain. Fortunately, Colin (his Apocalypse Beast Leech Familiar) is inside him repairing the damage the Star Seed is doing. Because of the low magic density, the ritual takes a good deal of time. During this time, one of the guards (someone Jason had previously spared) kills the other guard and escapes to tell the Adventure Society. Killian then kills the other guard and leaves Cole helpless, warning him that he had been playing him for a fool the entire time and that Cole is truly worthless.
With no one reinforcing the ritual, Jason is able to escape. He gets to Cole, finds the key to his suppression collar and manacles and wraps him up, right as he spots a skimmer in the distance bearing Danielle Gellar and his friends.
While Jason works hard at getting his portal power to Bronze, Clive is studying astral magic and running experiments to get back into the astral space where the Reaper Trials took place. Eventually he feels ready, and the team assembles (with the blessing of the Adventure Society).
They go in and get to work. This time they appear together. Immediately they find out that they can NOT go back. The magical density has shot way up due to something the builder's cultists did before their untimely demise.
The team levels up with Clive, then Humphrey hitting Bronze. Along the way they encounter a Silver Rank Bloodweaver Spider and bravely run away from its minions. They find a prison and uncover a sword that has a soul trapped in it. They wisely leave it alone.
Once Jason hits Bronze rank they confront and destroy the spider. A bit after that... the Builder (riding Dugan aka the shovel guy from volume 1) and company (including Silver Rank Arch Bishop of Purity and Bronze Rank Priestess Anissa) arrive. The Builder wrecks his vessel creating fortifications, meaning it is now time for Thadwick to become his vessel. Before that, he and Jason have one last conversation (via one of Shade's bodies). After the quick convo, Shade Jason comes to talk with the builder. While that is going on, the Church of Purity's forces are closing on where they think Jason is.
Fortunately, Jason et al planned for this, so when the conversation with the big bad finishes up, they spring the trap on the Church of Purity and wipe out Anissa in the opening blow. The Silver Rank Timos runs away, but not before Jason marks him.
The fight with the Arch Bishop is rough, but they win and get quite a bit of loot - he seemed to be carrying all of the supplies for his contingent. The good guys cheer themselves and feel good about having thwarted the bad guys.
Then we check in on the bad guys who are cool with this as now they can forcefully convert all of the church of purity members. *cue evil laughter*
Clive has come up with a way to stop the astral space from blowing up Greenstone and all he has to do is take a device to the top of the tower in the center of the space, which is where the Bad Guys have their base.
Jason comes up with a plan from a video game: run a train of monsters into the base of the bad guys. It works rather well and creates a massive amount of confusion.
Jason and the Builder square off while his team takes on Timos. After a long battle, they manage to drive him back and ascend the tower, which enrages the Builder. He starts expending way more power than he should which causes his current vessel (Thadwick) to deteriorate. He creates a suppression collar and wraps it