Welcome to the Apocalypse; an honest book review.
BLURB: “It’s launch day of a game that’ll entertain cosplayers and doomsday preppers. Kelly, Jack, and Reis enter simulation pods to survive a virtual apocalypse, yet instead of “game over” they enter a new game. Then another. Each new day brings a new battle. Surviving the games is easy, it’s “kill or be killed”. But fatigue and cyber sickness are setting in and the pods are designed for three days. With no communication to or from the operators, they can only hope they’re rescued before it’s too late.” – DL Richardson.
I really, really liked this book. The concept and plot was so different to any dystopian novel I’ve ever come across. It wasn’t exactly Terminator, with robots rising up to kill humans, but more like Star Trek-type technology becoming sentient and killing humans – Pandora didn’t need a body to kill you, her consciousness simply hopped from person, to technology, and back again to destroy her players. She knew your deepest darkest secrets and gave you an end of world scenario based on it – which is so genius and original, bravo DL Richardson!
If you’re still not convinced, you have any number of apocalyptic scenarios to peak your interest – vampires, zombies, aliens, cannibalistic children, pathological warfare, technological warfare, etc. So chances are if you can dream it, DL Richardson wrote it. What’s not to love?
As for the main protagonist’s: Kelly, Jack, and Reis. They were deep, interesting, and grew with every chapter.
Kelly annoyed me a tiny bit in the beginning with her whiney, self-destructive behaviour but, in saying that, she had just lost her husband and had hopes of seeing him in this game. She was also the quickest to catch on about the repercussions of the death dreams. She was strong and resourceful without being “the chosen one” (which seems to be the only way characters can be strong nowadays). She grew a lot in the book, as a person and as a sister; she went from self-destructive, emotionless shell of her former self, to a strong, protector, who helped others along the way.
Jack, good, sweet, protective big brother Jack. He fully encapsulated the big brother roll; he was a hero, a friend, and a protector, just like older siblings tend to be (I should know, being the youngest of two sisters, this is how they are). He might not have understood Kelly, or her feelings, all the time, but that didn’t stop him from being right there in her corner. He was calm and collected in almost every apocalypse scenario (which is probably the polar opposite of how I would’ve handled cannibalistic children or alien invasions). He was the glue that held the trio together and for that I will always be a little bit “Team Jack”.
Reis, my gosh, poor Reis! The more I learned about him the more I just wanted to reach into the book and hug him. How anyone could go through what he has and still be able to deal with life is beyond me. So bravo, DL Richardson, for writing a male character who was emotional but strong, who was broken, and sometimes weak, but always willing to get back up and fight. Not just your average emotionless tough guy. He’s given me hope!
So to answer the simple questions;
Did it catch me from page one? Honestly, no, but it did catch me early on, maybe the fifth or sixth page.
Did it make me want to stay up all night reading it until my eyes burned? Yes! In fact I did, a few nights, I even took it to work and read in my lunch breaks, then cursed when I had to actually go and do work.
Would I recommend it to a friend? Hell yes! My friends are going to get so sick of me talking about this book; they’ll HAVE to read it!
Am I excited for the next instalment? Again, HELL FREAKING YES! I need it, and I need it now! And at the same time, I’m now terrified of my toaster, my computer, my phone, and just about everything technology related in my house.
My rating? 8.5/10 – again, bit slow to start, and sometimes the plot staled for me, but only for a page or two and then it was back to nail biting, edge of your seat stuff, all in all a fantastic book!