Eila is short-listed in a Virtual Reality competition to become the Face of Pearl. All she needs to do is go to a luxurious English getaway and enjoy sessions in fully immersive VR SkinSuit technology. After being kidnapped and forced to spy for the law, Eila has to decide who are the right people to trust, and who to save.
I really liked the concept and entry to this novel – VR being used to camouflage the ugly and dead real world, and yet Eila still being pulled back by the simple method of someone chasing her! However even though this novel was fast-paced, or perhaps because of it, there were too many loose ends for me to feel properly satisfied.
I was strangely disappointed in this novel. Eila should come across as a plucky heroine, but instead she seems to be bowled over by Hugo’s charm and seems quite whiny. Everyone was just a little too understanding and ‘cool’ about absolutely everything. I think the author attempted too many twists, and thus there were too many just ‘coincidences’. We never get to the bottom of why Elia’s parents don’t seem to exist anymore. Or whether the therapy for Discordants works or not. I’d say it was being left open for a sequel to answer these questions, but I can’t see anywhere else for the admittedly shallow plot to go.
If you’re thinking of Ford Street as a forward-thinking and innovative thinking publishing house, you’d be right. That’s one of the reasons I was not surprised to see that they had taken on this novel. They’re also the most recent publishers of Alyzon Whitestarr by the wonderful Isobelle Carmody. However this novel’s a miss – I’m giving it 3 stars and directing you to go read Ready Player One instead.
Ford Street | 1st June 2019 | AU$19.95 | paperback