I initially had trouble with this book. I try not to be too critical, but I spent more time dreading reading it and then just not being able to connect with the characters. Andrew is supposedly dead, but Larissa just can’t fathom life without her beloved husband. Especially since she can see, hear and feel him during her virtual reality sessions. The thing is he sends her physical proof that he still exists begging her to understand this is the most he can give her. It is a struggle to read as she tries to find him in the great blue yonder but then the author and publisher did something amazing. They took the readers at their word and found the original book to be lacking and spent time and effort on correcting the issues we had
“Your review has been forwarded to the publisher and because they value the opinion of book advocates such as yourself, they have contracted a high profile editor to work on the manuscript with the author to implement several improvements to this advance readers copy prior to publication.” (DigiWriting Book Marketing Agency)
After actually listening to the readers of the original ARC I received this email asking if I would be willing to do a re-read of the newly formatted and extensively edited rewrite from the author. I accepted and I’m impressed with the results. It truly reads like a whole different book.
The new format gives the reader a better glimpse into the world of Nirvana and gives us characters that are original and fresh with feelings of hopes and doubts and the need to understand what is happening in a world we are not familiar and most wouldn’t be comfortable with. It still follow Larissa, “Kenders” and Andrew but now also shows them before they knew each other and this helps round out the characters.
Like before this new world in 2080 is dealing with the fallout from the extinction of something that seems trivial, bees. Without bees, the world falls to ruin but an opportunistic company Hexagon develops a program with Andrew that people of means can utilize to help them escape and cope with the loss of a productive world. Kender’s utilizes this escape after finding out Andrew had died. In this time, she communicates with Andrew and can’t quite determine if what she is experiencing is him trying to communicate with her in the “real” world or if it is her imagination wanting him to be communicating with her. Her distrust of the system leads to questions she must find the answers too.
After the rewrites, I find this story to be much more palatable and would recommend it to post-apocalyptic, dystopian lovers. I definitely give props to J.R. Stewart for taking the readers at their word and amending the heart of the story to become something others may enjoy.
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Blue Moon Publishers and NetGalley.)