Thursday, April 16, 2015

*Gizmos Book Review* Etherworld by Claudia Gabel, Cheryl Klam

Series: Elusion # 2
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Released: March 31, 2015
Source: Edelweiss
Format: E-Book, 352 pages
Genre: YA, Science Fiction

Elusion was hailed as an exciting leap in technology—until users began to disappear amid rumors of addiction. Regan’s search for the truth led her and her new love interest, Josh, to Etherworld. Etherworld is a dimension hidden deep beyond Elusion's firewall, where players can hide, and ultimately fight back. Regan's father and others are here working to destroy Etherworld, but the longer they stay the less likely they'll be able to return to the real world alive.

Escape means attacking Elusion from within the program. It's dangerous and it’s a puzzle. And even if they manage it, how will they be able to stop Orexis from distributing Elusion to the masses when the people who run it are corrupt?

Etherworld closes out the Elusion duology by picking up right where Elusion left off. As I have just written my review for Elusion and posted it to Talk Supe Blog, I shall try not to spoil what happened in the previous novel. Story narrator Regan Welch, along with her new boyfriend Josh, her father David, and a group of teens who have been stuck in Elusion, are on a mission to bring the system down to its knees and return home in one piece.

Those under 21 are in big trouble, but David has found a way to keep them safe by creating a world he calls Etherworld. If you remember or have read Elusion, then you know that nobody is supposed to be hurt while in Elusion. It is a place where anyone can escape from their mundane lives, and experience everything from Deep Water Rafting, to a bevy of other adventures at their own pace. But, as you would expect from a science fiction story with Artificial Intelligence, anything can happen, and absolutely does.

For me, Regan was a likable heroine, but far from perfect. She's loyal. She's goal orientated: find and rescue her father while stopping Elusion. She doesn't allow her heart to fall for two people at once, but wouldn't toss her friendship aside with Patrick even after all the horrible things he does. Alongside Josh, who is fighting to save his sister Nora, they don't give up without overcoming major hurdles, challenges, and a sentient being that wants to stop them.

One could speak about Patrick until we are blue in the face. But, I choose to say that as an 18-year old brilliant computer programmer, perhaps he just needed a bit more human interaction to understand Regan, and her challenges. I can absolutely forgive Patrick for his actions, especially since redemption was the only thing he could do without ending up as bad as those responsible for what happens to Regan, David, Josh, et al.

I gave props to the authors for creating such a bleak world. But, I still haven't discovered why the world went downhill to the point where people have to wear O2 masks just to go outdoors. Perhaps the authors are saying that Climate Change is to blame for this situations, or perhaps they are saying that factories have poured too much toxicities into the air thus causing Acid Rain. At this point, we'll never know the truth. We do know that Acid Rain is not a new concept. It's been around since I was growing up.

So, I say Etherworld is a nice way to close up shop, as it were. There are absolutely no major storylines that have been left unsolved. The mysteries, conspiracies, and who survives is straight up. There is a nice, warm reunion between Regan, her father, and mother who I really wanted to punch in the neck for various reasons. I do believe that Regan and crew did what exactly what they had to do to save people, and defeat the villains.

I am perfectly fine with the final coupling, and am glad that I had no unnecessary worries that the writers would toss everything they put together in Elusion, and go another way entirely. I'm glad that the authors didn't just play it safe when bad things happen to secondary characters. I'm happy that I had the opportunity to read this series, and apologize for waiting over a year to finish.

**I received this book for free from (Katherine Tegen Books) via (Edelweiss) in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

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