Originally published at my blog Chasing Empty Pavements
EDITED ** I LOVE LOVE LOVE the new cover!!! WTG Mr. BERTAUSKI!
I'm going to be completely honest here and tell you I was not expecting much from this book. In fact, lately I dread starting self-published or author requested books because well... they just haven't been that great lately. But oh was I wrong about this one! Holy moly, I literally read this book in two sittings. It was unlike anything I've ever read and I'd say the best way to describe it was a mash up between Inception and Shutter Island.
The Good: This book had me hooked by the third page. It starts with a bang and doesn't waste any time getting exciting! The plot is completely fascinating, these boys wake up with a hole in the middle of their forehead and then they're told to go and play video games and do whatever they want to do but then they are forced in this room naked to endure torture before putting on a creepy device. The world building was incredible and the whole alternate reality thing was mind boggling. I loved the 3 main characters, Danny Boy, Zin and Reed. I felt like they were all heroes for different reasons and they really upheld the story. One thing I really liked was the interjection of newspaper clippings in the story. They were short but wonderful insights into the characters. The writing was well done, the pacing was fantastic and I kept on the edge of my seat the entire time! The twist at the end was awesome as well. Totally wasn't expecting it.
The Bad: Okay two major things bugged me about this novel and they were the reason I went back and forth on giving it 3 or 4 stars on Goodreads. First off, the characters all use the word "son." Like, "Don't do that, son." "Respect your elders, son." But ALL of the characters use it, not just the adults, the kids do too. And it's SOO ANNOYING!!!!!! It wouldn't have bugged me if it was in there a few times, but I'm tempted to go back through and count how many times the characters use it. I bet at LEAST a 100. It really really bugged me. Secondly, there's a part in the novel where we get a little bit of backstory on Danny Boy but it was SO unrealistic that it made the rest of the made up world seem realistic if that makes sense. Like the backstory the author put in place for this character seems totally fake, not plausible at all and thrown together.
Other than the two things mentioned, I really enjoyed this book and was so very impressed that it was a self-published book! I give it a B-!!!
**I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review. All the opinions are my own and I was not obligated to write a favorable review.