Aaru, David Meredith Book Review (All the TWs)

Hello Humans! Before this review begins I have a few Trigger Warningsif you don’t want to read about illness, child molestation, attempted rape, stalking (and probably more I have forgotten feel free to tweet or email me to check) please don’t read the following.

Goodreads Summary:

Rose is dying. Her body is wasted and skeletal. She is too sick and weak to move. Every day is an agony and her only hope is that death will find her swiftly before the pain grows too great to bear.

She is sixteen years old.

Rose has made peace with her fate, but her younger sister, Koren, certainly has not. Though all hope appears lost Koren convinces Rose to make one final attempt at saving her life after a mysterious man in a white lab coat approaches their family about an unorthodox and experimental procedure. A copy of Rose’s radiant mind is uploaded to a massive super computer called Aaru – a virtual paradise where the great and the righteous might live forever in an arcadian world free from pain, illness, and death. Elysian Industries is set to begin offering the service to those who can afford it and hires Koren to be their spokes-model.

Within a matter of weeks, the sisters’ faces are nationally ubiquitous, but they soon discover that neither celebrity nor immortality is as utopian as they think. Not everyone is pleased with the idea of life everlasting for sale.
What unfolds is a whirlwind of controversy, sabotage, obsession, and danger. Rose and Koren must struggle to find meaning in their chaotic new lives and at the same time hold true to each other as Aaru challenges all they ever knew about life, love, and death and everything they thought they really believed.

Find Aaru on Goodreads

There are a lot of books I could compare to Aaru. I might bring in Otherworld for it’s use of virtual reality to help sick people, I could mention Voiceless for a similar reason. I have to admit, neither of those books are quite so dark as this book. It’s written to make you deeply uncomfortable and if, like me, that’s not what you read for, it might not be for you.

However, I appreciate what the author is trying to do, at no point is this advertised as a cosy, sunshine and rainbows read. So I’m going to try to review this with the understanding that, while this isn’t for me, it not inherently bad because it explores these issues.

This does feel a bit like two books were squeezed together, on the one hand you have Rose, a young girl finding love in her new life in the virtual afterlife, on the other hand you have the dark and scary story of her sister Koren dealing with the extreme consequences of being young in the public eye. These two stories obviously juxtapose each other nicely and they do come together at points. Nonetheless I would have liked a little more connection between the two aspects. The whole point of Aaru is the ability to talk to your loved ones, but Rose and Koren actually interact quite rarely in the story. Again, perhaps deliberate, but not quite what I was looking for.

My main take from this book is just how dark it gets very quickly. I’m glad I was on my own for most of the reading, because I’m sure I was pulling a very strange face. If you like a dark and potentially disturbing story then this is definitely the book for you. And maybe it’s a good thing that someone is telling that story…I don’t know that I’m the authority to speak to that.

My rating: 2/5 (mainly due to personal preference).

By the way, I receieved a digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

What say you? Too heavy for you? What’s the darkest book you’ve ever read?

J

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