Title: The Annihilation of Foreverland
Author: Tony Bertauski
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pub. Year: 2012
I received this novel free of charge from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Blurb from Amazon:
When kids awake on an island, they’re told there was an accident. Before they can go home, they will visit Foreverland, an alternate reality that will heal their minds. Reed dreams of a girl that tells him to resist Foreverland. He doesn’t remember her name, but knows he once loved her. He’ll have to endure great suffering and trust his dream. And trust he’s not insane. Danny Boy, the new arrival, meets Reed’s dream girl inside Foreverland. She’s stuck in the fantasy land that no kid can resist. Where every heart’s desire is satisfied. Why should anyone care how Foreverland works? Together, they discover what it’s really doing to them.
Random: Just because we may be headed nowhere, doesn’t mean we can’t turn around and head somewhere.
This was a pretty awesome novel to read. There is a sense of confusion at the start of the book but there are clues as to which direction the book might head into. It reminded me of The Island with Ewan McGregor. (And in a strange way, Digimon, the second season)
There is an uncertainty as to why the boys are in the island. Danny Boy and his friends appear to be healthy and happy while there are old men who are just creepy (the word “pedophile” ran across my thoughts every now and then). For awhile, I thought the boys were dead or in a coma because they were isolated in the island. What I liked though about the uncertainty is that it slowly begins to clear up the more Danny Boy goes into Foreverland and explores the alternate reality/computer program. We learn at the same time Danny Boy is learning. The inclusion of newspaper articles was really well done because they clarified the background of certain characters and added new questions about the purpose of the island. The articles also served as a connection to the outside world and proved that at least the boys were real people who had lives before the island.
The purpose of the island is chilling because the boys are being tortured physically before entering Foreverland where there is no pain. I’m not going to give it away but halfway through the book, Bertauski will lead the reader in the right direction. (I was half-right in my guess about the purpose of the island, yay). There is this weird game that is played inside Foreverland that reminds me of a capture-the-flag game. The purpose is to win three times in a row so that the boys can enter Foreverland quicker for the next round. It serves the purpose of making the boys more addicted to Foreverland since they don’t have to go through the torture session.
Character-wise, I did like most of the characters. Danny Boy along with Reed are interesting characters. Danny Boy takes Foreverland and makes it his own while Reed refuses to enter the computer program. Reed has a strong backbone because he is tortured every single time that he refuses to enter Foreverland and it’s all thanks to a dream that warned him against the program. It is sad what happening to him but he gets his happy ending. The old men (all of them) kept their creepy factor all the way through the novel. The man in charge known as the Director was a megalomaniac who played God on the island. He wasn’t as creepy as he was disturbing because of his thought patterns. His reasoning for the island make sense on some level but he loses it in the end.
Overall, it was an entertaining novel to read. The concept of what is going to happen to the boys and their mind is in intriguing and disturbing at the same time. It raises an interesting concept of the separation between the mind and the body and which one can last longer when they are in conflict with each other.
38th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: E-book, Science Fiction, Self-published