Review: The 'Foreverland' Series by Tony Bertauski

Friday, 3 April 2015

I received copies of these books from the author in exchange for an honest review

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The Annihilation of Foreverland by Tony Bertauski
Released: 16th February 2012
Series: Foreverland #1
Published by: DeadPixel Publications
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Source: Author
Pages: 318
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Nook
When kids awake on an island, they’re told there was an accident. Before they can go home, they will visit Foreverland, an alternate reality that will heal their minds. Reed dreams of a girl that tells him to resist Foreverland. He doesn’t remember her name, but knows he once loved her. He’ll have to endure great suffering and trust his dream. And trust he’s not insane. Danny Boy, the new arrival, meets Reed’s dream girl inside Foreverland. She’s stuck in the fantasy land that no kid can resist. Where every heart’s desire is satisfied. Why should anyone care how Foreverland works?
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WOWZAS. This novel is by far one of the most creatively crafted and uniquely written stories I have ever read.


The more you go inside the needle, the more you feel like yourself. The more you like it.

The concept of this boo is a little hard to explain in mere words (you really have to experience reading it to fully understand everything) but basically it is about this boy 'Danny Boy' who for some reason which you do find out later in the book ends up on this island where the 'Director' controls the Foreverland program that is designed to make all the boy inhabitants better people than what they were. This involves them taking a needle through their skull into Foreverland - a virtual reality where you can be and do anything you want. 

Honestly, the plot is A LOT more complicated than this, however, as I said before; you really need to actually read it yourself to grasp how intricately woven the storyline really is. Anyway, moving on: the alternating POV's in this book I think really worked. I have experienced some novels where the change between characters is really sudden and doesn't add anything to the story, but in this case - it definitely worked. I especially found it really interesting to see how the Director thought of everything and what went on in the mind of this power-hungry tyrant who saw himself as a god.

The other characters apart from Danny Boy (a weird name - yes) such as Zin, Reed and Lucinda - who adds another even more mysterious and strange element to the story, all had their own different parts to play in the overall progression and annihilation of this eerie dream-like place of eternity.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Full of twists and turns at every corner that will leave you stunned and gaping, The Annihilation of Foreverland is a novel that I won't be forgetting for some time. The plot will surely leave you on the edge of your seat and will keep your mind reeling. I am next looking forward to reading the next installment Foreverland is Dead.


18006247Foreverland is Dead by Tony Bertauski
Released: 1st January 2013
Series: Foreverland #2
Published by: DeadPixel Publications
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Source: Author
Pages: 300
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Nook

Six teenage girls wake with no memories. One of them is in a brick mansion, her blonde hair as shiny as her shoes. The others are in a cabin, their names tagged to the inside of their pants. Their heads, shaved. Slashes mark the cabin wall like someone has been counting. Hundreds of them. There’s wilderness all around and one dead adult. The girls discover her body rotting somewhere in the trees. As the weeks pass, they band together to survive the cold, wondering where they are and how they got there. And why. When an old man arrives with a teenage boy, the girls learn of a faraway island called Foreverland where dreams come true and anything is possible. But Foreverland is dead. In order to escape the wilderness, they’ll have to understand where they are. More importantly, who they are.

Seriously - any author who can write this well and incorporate so much mystery and suspense into a novel definitely has talent. So... Did this book have a really fluent writing style?: YES Did this book creep me out?: YES Did this book have a lot of twists/turns and enlightening moments?: YES And did I love it so much that I didn't want to stop reading it?


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That's the point. They made it miserable to be here, which made Foreverland even more inviting. You never want to come back once you get a taste. Desire. Best drug there is.

Foreverland is Dead does in a few ways flow on from the previous book The Annihilation of Foreverland, however the smart thing the author has done here is make it so that it could be read as a stand-alone. That being said, it was still very interesting to see what had become of some of the characters from book 1 and the world these six girls were living in. As with the first book, this plot has much more to it than initially meets the eye. In the beginning, we are introduced to these girls who have mysteriously woken up in a place where there is only a dinner-house, bunk-house and a mysteriously normal-looking brick house across the green. This barren new area becomes even more sinister when the girls find that their neck trackers do not allow them to venture past certain invisible 'fences' - one of which surrounds this proper house. It seems the only one not affected by this is Miranda, who seems different from the others perhaps in more ways than one....

Is that what defines reality? Is the human experience in the physical world the gold standard for truth? Do our five senses separate enlightenment from illusion?

One of the big things I liked about this novel was the fact that the novel went beyond this bleak setting where the girls were living as the story progressed. Although it could have ended in a more simplistic manner,the author went one step further and broadened the scope for the whole plot - which was definitely a smart move. Another thing that caught my attention was that the whole novel was extremely engaging, and as a reader I was never bored. There was always another mystery to solve around the corner or new characters introduced, or another aspect of this world discovered. Each character was well developed and thought out, with their own unique personalities and troubled pasts.

*THE ENDING* Oddly enough, I still haven't quite figured out the last few lines of this novel, and I will continue to ponder what it really means until I figure it out. For now, all I will say is that it does leave room for the imagination. Apart from that, I was relieved to find for the rest of the book that things do indeed make sense and come together, which will be cause many lightbulb and jaw-dropping moments. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

This is now one of my favourite novels, as it offers a unique and eerie insight into the human experience. Where the lines between dreams and reality are struggling to come into focus, Foreverland is Dead stands out as a novel that bridges the gap and will keep you thinking long after you turn the last page.



25124237Ashes of Foreverland by Tony Bertauski
Released: 21st March 2015
Series: Foreverland #3
Published by: DeadPixel Publications
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Source: Author
Pages: 329
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Nook
Tyler Ballard was in prison when his son created a dreamworld called Foreverland, a place so boundless and spellbinding that no one ever wanted to leave. Or did. Now his son is dead, his wife is comatose and Tyler is still imprisoned. But he planned it that way. 

The final piece of his vision falls into place when Alessandra Diosa investigates the crimes of Foreverland. Tyler will use her to create a new dimension of reality beyond anything his son ever imagined—a Foreverland for the entire world. Danny, living outside of Spain since escaping the very first Foreverland, begins receiving mysterious clues that lead him to Cyn. They are both Foreverland survivors, but they have more in common than survival.

They become pieces of another grand plan, one designed to stop Tyler Ballard. No one knows who is sending the clues, but some suspect Reed, another Foreverland survivor. Reed, however, is dead. Everyone will make one last trip back to Foreverland to find out who sent them. And why.


The scar on their foreheads would always be there to remind them, but the real scar was the question they asked themselves every day for the rest of their lives. How do you know this isn't a dream?

What I've loved from the very beginning of this series is the overall concept - it's so fascinating. The virtual reality which seems so much like the real world, and how it affects those involved in it is something that definitely reminds me of Inception (so if you loved that movie, you're sure to love this book). However, despite that similarity, Ashes of Foreverland, and the previous installments - all take that idea even deeper. There are multiple POV's, though all written in third person which allows for such poignant prose to shine. 

Is the physical world any more legitimate than Foreverland? Under what pretense is physicality the gold standard? That was the question he begged all of humankind to answer.

This book asks the question - at what point does science take things too far? When is the reality of humanity more important? Where is that line and what happens if you were to cross it? There's a definite existentialist vibe coming through here, and it almost feels philosophical, if you want to take it that way. How Danny Boy, Alessandra and Cyn were impacted upon by the works of Tyler Ballard and his wife Patricia is multifaceted and endlessly intricate. When you're dealing with such topics as the mind and how perceptions of reality combined with that 'nothingness' which you could fall into is so captivating. I also really liked how this picked up on Tony Bertauski's other Halfskin series (and the fourth 'Foreverland' novel will combine these two series together fully.) 

Time was the god that meted out each grain with methodic timing and refused to sell more. Time was a cruel god that promised eternity. But delivered only the past. 

There's also, as always, some fantastic mystery/thriller elements here to keep those pages turning. From hidden messages in endless parcels written with signature green ink, to characters who turn out not to be who you thought they were - it's all here and left me going WOW. One thing to remember with these novels is expect the unexpected and trust no one. That being said, there were a few surprises where some of the people who you perhaps thought were bad weren't after all. 


The ceiling swirled into the sky, the walls fell apart. There was no sensation of travel, no illusion of space. The needle's kiss. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

The characters in this books have their minds messed with, and just reading this will probably do the same to you (in the best possible way of course). If you're a sci-fi or Inception fan who and looking to be mindblown, then I'd definitely recommend this!

6 comments :

  1. OMGOSH this series sounds absolutely amazing! I have yet to find a really good YA series on virtual reality yet, but I will definitely be giving this one a go. I really love the themes it explores and I can't wait to dive into the mystery of Foreverland. SO AWESOME. Thanks for sharing this Eugenia xx

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    1. It is! I hope you get to read it, the premise and execution are both fantastic in my opinion :)

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  2. Wow, even though I haven't heard of these books or the author before, I'll definitely be checking them out now. They look like something I would definitely enjoy. Great reviews! Glad you enjoyed them so much! :D

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    1. Thanks Kara! The way they're written with such suspense and the complexity of the concept really make them worth a read.

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  3. I've never heard of these novels before but you know what - the first book sounds exactly like the movie Sucker Punch. The rest of the movies, not so much but definitely intriguing with the virtual reality and philosophical thoughts. Great reviews Genie!

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    1. Well there you go - I haven't seen Sucker Punch but have heard of it, I may just give it a try now. Thanks Jeann :)

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Feel free to leave a comment below - I love reading them!