Tag Archives: The Aaru Cycle Book 1

Book Review: ‘Aaru’ by David Meredith

Title: Aaru (The Aaru Cycle Book 1)

Published: 10th July 2017

Author: David Meredith

Facebook: www.facebook.com/DavidMeredithWriting

 

Synopsis:

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.

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2019 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book by a male author. A book about death, childhood loss and finding new ways of coping with changes happening around you. What if you didn’t need to say goodbye? Would you like your mind to live forever in nothing more than a computer world you can create things in if it meant you could stay – in a way – with the ones you loved?

Rose is sixteen and has almost come to terms with the fact that her time is almost up. She has leukemia and with time running out she needs a miracle of some sort. Her younger sister Koren, just a child herself at thirteen, isn’t ready to let her go, let alone their parents. The miracle they have been looking for comes in the form of Mr. Adams. He wants to help Rose in a way others haven’t managed before. She is reluctant at first but agrees to try one last thing. If it fails then she’s ready to let go, as she is just so tired of fighting and wants some peace. He starts with scanning her brain and then having sensors put on her head while she’s asked to think of happy thoughts. Her emotional output is key for this to work. She’s not sure what this will do but gives it a try hoping he will explain later. It’s not long before she feels herself left in the dark, quite literally, her fight with her body might be lost but what comes next?

When Rose’s mind wakes up she is in a virtual world and is greeted by Lady Hana of Tenkoku, who calls Rose her Veda. Within this world she soon sees that if they think of something it happens – like clothes to change into, buildings or plants to grow. The kingdom is a blank canvas for them to create a world to live in. There are ten kingdoms within Aaru, each with a Lord and Lady. Lord Mikoto of Tenkoku deals with security in their kingdom. His new Veda Franco seems to have been forgotten a little by him so he gets Hana to train him alongside Rose. It’s not long before other Vedas start to appear, all creating more within their kingdoms waiting for residents to arrive when the system goes live. Is all really happy in this make believe world though?

The Aaru world seems unbelievable to most outsiders and none more so than Rose’s family, especially her sister Koren who hasn’t been handling her sisters death very well. They are brought to the facility to be shown that they did “save” Rose. Her mind was essentially downloaded – memories, thoughts, emotions etc – into Aaru as a way to cheat death. Will it really be her though? Koren is asked to go towards a computer and call out her sister’s name. When Rose comes to the screen it’s enough to knock them all over, this is the proof that Elysian Industries needed them to see. Now that they have they want to use Koren to help sell the idea of Aaru to the US market. A young pretty face that they can doll up to their own means to get the job done. But how far are they willing to go to sexualize this child for their product? What will be the consequences for when they do?

Aaru seems like the perfect place to live in but there are those that are troubled by what it means to be there. They are told to be happy and most seem to be but when they have thoughts or memories that turn darker they seem to be stopped. You can think of them like a story but not really feel the emotions that go with them. Almost like the system won’t allow you. With this being a programme you have to wonder what fail safes are in place, not only to protect its residents mental wellbeing but also their safety. Computer programmes can always be hacked, dangers are out there that can’t always be seen.

These dangers come in the form of Magic Man, a character used to create a darker side to the story. He is an online predator who takes an unhealthy obsession with Koren. Hacking into systems to get videos and images of her to feed his needs. That’s just the start with his plans. If he can hack a live feed how long before he tries to get into Aaru? The system might have many fail safes in place but is anyone really safe when predators are at bay?

There was an interesting twist with a character at the end that you won’t see coming. Setting it up for what’s to come and how both worlds will collide are an interesting concept. The story was well written with interesting ideas but I felt that some of the content turned me off the story. Had I been more aware of the darker theme content to begin with then I might have been better prepared. I do feel because of this that there should really be a content warning due to sensitive subjects within like stalking, paedophilia, child pornography and exploitation.

3 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Author Interview: ‘Aaru’ by David Meredith

About the Book:

“…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.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

 

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you into writing?

I’m a veteran English instructor with 18 years’ experience both in the US and in Japan. I’ve always had an interest in writing. It started with crappy fan-fic back in middle school or high school, (that I’d be really embarrassed if anyone read now), and I had several false starts before I actually completed a novel, but I’ve always had the feeling that I’ve got these stories inside that need to come out. I just needed the writing and life experience to express them in a way other people would want to read.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

Especially since I just finished my doctorate degree, I’ve been pretty busy. I usually work on my laptop whenever and wherever I have a couple of free minutes.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

I get inspired from many sources. I often feel the creative juices flowing right after reading a great book or watching a really good movie. However, I also derive inspiration from real life experiences, both my own and those of others I hear about, and even dreams.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

Usually I have a plan, at least up to a point, but I also try to leave myself open to going where the story leads. Quite often I end up very different places from where I thought I was going at the beginning, but it always ends up being better that way, I think.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

They vary, but all of my work includes an element of fantasy. Those were the first books I read as a kid and I’ve continued to enjoy the freedom the genre allows. There are just lots of things you can do in speculative fiction that you can’t in other genres.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

Rose and Koren are pretty young, so I might be most interested in some up and coming actresses who nobody knows about yet, but maybe someone like a Taylor Momsen or Elle Fanning for Koren, and a Kira Kosarin, Demi Lavato, or Kristen Stewart for Rose. I think Keefer Sutherland would be great as Magic Man, the antagonist. He does sinister and creepy really well. Maybe Ben Kingsly as Mr. Adams, the scientist who approaches Rose’s family with the Aaru proposal, (I’d really like to see how he looks with hair 😊). Woody Harrelson would be great as Rose and Koren’s dad, Bill Johnson. Someone like a Cherlize Theron for Gypsie Johnson, their mother. It’s all fun to think about. I’d love to see Aaru made into a movie.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

Most of my reading lately has been required course material for my doctoral program, but some of my favorite authors are Tad Williams, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Robin Hobb. I also like work by Robert Jordan, Liza Dolby, and James Clavell.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

Life has been pretty hectic, so I haven’t had a lot of time for pleasure reading, but I am still about two thirds of the way through the first volume of Game of Thrones. It’s good, so hopefully I’ll find some time soon to sit down and finish it.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

If I had to pick I guess I’d go with The Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn Trilogy by Tad Williams (The Dragon Bone Chair, The Stone of Farewell, and To Green Angel Tower). I first read it back in high school and still go back and reread it every year or two. I guess it’s because I can identify with the characters, who are all very well developed, believably imperfect, and human. Even the villains are complex and relatable, and I’m always drawn to strong characterization. It’s what I strive for first and foremost in my own writing.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Keep at it. False starts and failures are all part of the process. And mind your craft. You can always get better.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/-/e/B013R6K5R6?ref_=pe_1724030_132998070

Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/DavidMeredithWriting

Goodreads Author Page: www.goodreads.com/author/show/7383607.David_Meredith

 

About the Author:

David Meredith is a writer and educator originally from Knoxville, Tennessee. He received both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts from East Tennessee State University, in Johnson City, Tennessee. He received his Doctorate in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee. On and off, he spent nearly a decade, from 1999-2010 teaching English in Northern Japan, but currently lives with his wife and three children in the Nashville Area where he continues to write and teach English.

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