Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Annihilation of Foreverland by Tony Bertauski

When I was first given a copy of The Annihilation of Foreverland, I thought it might be something like Is by Joan Aiken. Well, it's not really like that. But still, it is so good.

At first, I thought it would be a fantasy sort of book. I think it was the word "Foreverland". It brings to mind Peter Pan's "Neverland" and I think I was imagining one of those magic-y books. But it's not. If anything, it's more like science fiction.

The Annihilation of Foreverland takes place on a deserted island. Danny wakes up to find a tracking device implanted in him, and he's mysteriously gained a hole in his skull. He finds himself in what seems to be paradise: games, excercise, freedom, but with a catch. Every so often, the boys go into what they call "The Haystack" and there, they go into the needle, into a place they term Foreverland.

To be brutally honest, it took me a while to get my bearings while reading this book. The newspaper articles were confusing, and Danny's confused state of mind didn't really help. But there was something entrancing about this world that sounded too good to be true. And why were they torturing Reed (he's another character)? But as I read on and things slowly began to make sense, I couldn't bear to put down the ebook.

I think that using Danny as the lead character was brilliant. Danny is smart enough to figure things out, but not too quickly. The pace at which he learns what's going on was good, like Baby Bear's porridge, it was just right. Reed is, for me anyway, less understandable, and to use his point of view as the dominant one meant that there would be overly long descriptions of pain and not enough figuring things out. After all, since Danny actually takes the treatment, he can provide a description of Foreverland. And Zin, well, Zin was a dark horse character. I didn't really expect him to play such a big role in the climax and conclusion of the story.

Plotwise, the book was good. While I began having an inkling of what the boys were there for after I read about half the book, the twist at the end was completely unexpected. Not to give any spoilers, but the twist was more character-related than puzzle-related. It actually felt right that this happened, because it made the ending much more believable, and allowed it to be happy.

In conclusion, this book is good, really good. While I'm not normally a science-fiction person (and I think this is science-fiction), I really enjoyed this book. The use of technology was an essential part of the book, but not so that you need to be part of the computer club to understand it (well, I was part of the computer club and robotics team, but I still don't understand a lot about computers, so this I suppose the bar I just set is quite low).

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book for review purposes. I wasn't told what to write, and all opinions here are my own.

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