Morning mortals! Today I’m happy to be reviewing Otherworld, a new book which (in the UK) is coming from the same publishing house that brought us Illuminae and Gemina. I don’t know if that’s particularly interesting to you but I always find it cool to look at what different publishers are doing and what similarities are between the titles they choose to promote. Just me? Ah well.
The Company Welcomes you To
The new generation of gaming.
Welcome to real life 2.0.
Are you ready to play?
There are no screens. There are no controls.
You don’t just see and hear it—you taste, smell, and touch it too.
In this new reality there are no rules to follow, no laws to break.
You can indulge your every desire.
Why would you ever want to leave?
Step into Otherworld.
Leave your body behind.
Long term blog readers may be aware that my partner is actually a video game developer. I’m not claiming to have learned anything particularly technical but through osmosis I think I’ve picked up a bit of an interest in computer science, artificial intelligence and the like. This book is therefore a timely addition to my shelf and I’m probably going to prod Tom to read it in the near future.
Side note: I’m thinking about doing a ‘Tom Reads’ feature at some point in the future. Something like getting him to read the first chapters of popular YA books and then giving his inital thoughts? Listening to his thoughts on The Bone Season has certainly amused me so we shall see come the future, watch this space.
Back to Otherworld. This is such a good idea and with the increased coverage on VR and AI, I think it’s a timely book.
Weirdly I seem to be in a time of reading a lot of male protagonists which is unusual for me. I actually wasn’t that annoyed by Simon as a main character, though it was one of those books where the majority of the plot is motivated by a romance plot which is sometimes a dealbreaker for some people. I will say that motivation develops through the book, it’s got a heavy romance element but it’s not twee or anything.
What’s great about this book is that the transitions between the real world and the virtual don’t feel in any way clunky as they can do in other books. We aren’t chopping and changing between the worlds, there is a distinct movement between the two that makes sense. What I mean by that is that there isn’t a clunky ‘one chapter VR one chapter real’ structure, it’s a bit more free than that.
I thought this was a clever book. I know there’s a lot of other books exploring a similar topic (Marie Lu’s Warcross springs to mind, one could also draw similarities to Voiceless) but this felt like a great take in my opinion. I liked that the book felt (to me) very gender neutral both in the writing and in the marketing which could have gone in a very male orientated direction. Top notch writing books that are for anyone.
Should you read this? If you’re into this kind of science fiction feel this book will certainly entertain you. I’m not saying this is a perfect book by any means, there are some plot elements that feel a little overdone and I would have handled the ending a little differently myself, but where a book’s main job is to be entertaining, I’d say this meets the mark!
My rating: 4/5 stars
Otherworld releases on the 31st of October for those desperate to read it!
By the way, I received a digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
What say you? Is this topic getting overdone? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!