Part Ender’s Game, part Inception, part Lord of the Flies, Tony Bertauski’s The Annihilation of Foreverland places young teenaged boys on an island, surrounds them with video games, fun food, and the world’s best teachers, requires they exercise body and brain, and even gives each boy an individual, elderly guardian to prove they’re wanted and valuable. But why are they there?
Some may have been in accidents. Some may have committed crimes. All they know is they’re here to “get better,” to become better people so that eventually they’ll graduate. But the road to graduation seems strange, the older players obtaining a peace that’s dangerously close to unconsciousness, while the younger are filled with hope and fun.
A scary room hides the secret where the serious training gets done. One young rebel refuses to be trained. One new recruit leaps into everything all too eagerly. And one strange girl haunts the dreams of both of them.
As Danny Boy makes friends and enemies, he uses his skills to investigate what’s going on. Newspaper reports create a nice sense of dissociation for the reader, deepening the experience of the tale. Guessing alongside the character, wondering how it might all turn out, and hoping their might be a fix, the reader is quickly drawn in, making this a difficult book to put down. The writing’s quick and convincing. The dialog’s straightforward and appropriate. And the author soon creates that level of trust with the reader that leaves you sure the conclusion’s going to be good. As indeed it is.
I really enjoyed this book. Questions are introduced and answered with perfect timing. Characters demand to be heard. And the set-up’s scarily convincing. A story that should appeal to any sci-fi fans, whether they solve their mysteries quickly or slowly, this one’s highly recommended.
Disclosure: I received a copy from the author in exchange for my honest review.