Title: The Aaru Cycle (Book One)
Author: David Meredith
Page Count: 293
Release Date: July 10, 2017
“Death and the stillness of death are the only things certain and common to all in this future.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
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.
I received an e-book copy of The Aaru Cycle from the author in exchange for an honest review. Aaru falls under the Young Adult / New Adult genre and combines both Science Fiction and Fantasy elements together to craft a story about an alternate reality in where death is avoidable and immortality exists. This story is an emotional roller coaster of what ifs and could be’s, that much like the characters, will have you questioning everything about existence and whats to come after.
This book was insane, I am completely mind boggled and blown away. I love everything about this plot and the way the author went about telling the story of Rose and Koren. It was awesome to say the least. He has crafted such a unique plot that combines two very different worlds; virtual and reality into an uneasy coexistence that is unlike any other story I have read.
He did the same when crafting the characters, they fit this story so well, each characters personality and background was a compliment of diverse and similarity, that had them standing out and blending in perfectly with one another. It’s one of the major things that made this set of characters so realistic, you get a first hand look inside their lives, their thoughts, feelings and beliefs and you are on this emotional ride along side them. The author was clever at only sharing important information and keeping you at reach along with the character. To me, it adds to the reading experience not knowing every detail, that way you aren’t able to tell that the character is going into danger or even to warn them of danger, such as NOT OPENING THE DOOR, because you know exactly whats about to unfold before they do. It’s a nice touch of elemental surprise that hits you and the characters both making the story feel more realistic. I loved that about this book.
Our two main characters, Rose and Koren, are two of my favorite characters in the entire story and also a pretty heartwarming sister-duo too! Their story is both tragic and hopeful and the events that occur are nearly unbelievable. As Rose who suffered from Leukemia passes and then awakens in this newly crafted world of Aaru moments later. She learns what its like to be alive but in a virtual sense and learns that really anything is possible in this world if she just imagines it to be.
Koren on the other hand, is suffering greatly since Roses passing and begins to spiral out of control. No matter how hard she tries to be okay she just cant help but feel incomplete without her sister around. She finds herself not wanting to go to school, or see her friends or even talk to her parents. Just lay in her room and barely exist. It isn’t until they are paid a visit by Mr. Adams the scientist from a company called Elysian Industries that had tried to save Roses life that hope begins to be restored when he in fact explains to them that he had been successful in saving Rose.
Koren is completely beside herself in anger and hurt that people would be so careless to mock her of her loss. They are carted away to the Elysian’s Industry warehouse where Adams provides proof of Rose being alive. He tries to explain the process of saving her essence and that with the brain scans he preformed on her he was able to reconstruct her brain on their system and create a virtual version of her sister who now occupies this place called, Aaru. A virtual world of peace and immortality where the dead are still living and can still communicate with the outside world through their technology and machines. After he logs into the system he then asks Koren to call out her sisters name and she is overwhelmed with complete shock when she sees what looks to be her sister on the computer screen. Still a little skeptical Koren talks with Rose and asks her a bunch of questions only her sister and no one else would ever know. When Rose answers the questions correctly she knew it had to be true.
After the sisters are reunited the story takes some interesting twists and let me just say it is a very bumpy ride. They must now learn how to exist and be there for one another from two separate worlds that are entirely different in every way possible. It’s a test of strength and sisterly bond as they enter this new chapter of their lives completely changed and on different journies. These sisters show so much growth throughout this book, both being in their own places of doom and gloom they find away to cope with their new lives and make it into something they can enjoy. They have each other back and that is the main thing that matters for them. I really love the simplicity of Rose and Koren’s characters and how lovable they truly are.
The parents however I was a little less than pleased with, they honestly annoyed me the entire way through the story. If they cared about their children let me just say you couldn’t tell, at least I couldn’t. I don’t know what parent would let a random scientist do experimental procedures on their sick child without knowing every detail it entailed and if it could do more harm then good. It unsettled me to see them completely dumbfounded and oblivious to what the Elysian staff had done to their daughter. They should have already known every detail whether it made sense or not and judged whether they agree or disagree. But these parents only saw the cash that was handed to them before nodding and letting them experiment on their dying daughter. Morbid right?
The other thing about their parents that really hit a nerve was their neglect towards Koren, when she began to rebel and become extremely depressed, dressing in dark clothes and dying her hair black the only thing her mother had to offer was that Rose wouldn’t like this new Koren. How horrible is that? She just passed and your using her to prove a point. That’s disgusting. Koren also becomes the spokes person for Elysian Industries, a thirteen year old girl who has never been in the spotlight before and is promoting a very controversial project as something entirely real its bound to get some hate. There are a few cases that bother Koren a lot and when trying to talk to her parents about it they both just excuse it as “just show biz honey” like were is the remorse for your daughter? Or the parental aspect that wants her safe and out of harms way? She is only thirteen years old in fact.
The overall story line was so intense and I find the author brilliant for the world he has so carefully crafted. It was a story that has so much depth and detail I could literally write new things to say on this review for hours. It was told in both Koren and Roses’ point of view and the author accomplished a smooth transition between the two worlds. I never got confused at which world we were in at what moment. It was definitely a story I really enjoyed, harboring just the right amount of fantasy and science fiction this story hooked me til the end and I am curious to see where the world of Aaru is headed in the continuation.
I would rate The Cycle of Aaru 4/5 stars, for its originality, extremely catchy plot and the easy-to-love characters! Delve into the epic world of Aaru where you will learn to love this vast new world even if you doubted it at first too.