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Thursday, April 5, 2012

[Review] The Annihilation of Foreverland by Tony Bertauski

Title: The Annihilation of Foreverland
Author: Tony Bertauski
Pages: unknown (Kindle edition)
Release Date: December 31, 2011

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.

The Annihilation of Foreverland is unlike anything I've read before. It's such a mind trip! Why is there an island full of young men? Why don't any of them know how they got there? What is the purpose of the needle and the Haystack? What's real and what's imaginary? All of these questions and more kept me reading, and it took me awhile to figure out what the heck was going on.

The story follows Danny Boy and Reed. Danny is the new kid on the island, and he's confused as to why he's there, and what memories are his and which ones have been implanted. However, he's blinded by the fun and freedom that the island provides, and engages with the needle. Reed on the other hand, has been through 25 rounds in the Haystack, never once accepting the needle. He knows something is wrong, but he just doesn't know what.

The Haystack is a super disturbing place. It's dark, moist, smelly, slimy and just not pleasant. The Investors who escort the boys there are just as disturbing and slimy and I couldn't figure out what they got out of this. From the Haystack, the needle then transports the boys to Foreverland, a kind of virtual paradise. It's like Lord of the Flies meets Peter Pan, but why does it exist? What do the boys have to do with any of it? Who is the red haired girl who contacts Danny? You'll just have to read this one to find out!

This is a very clever and mind-bending novel, and it kept be engaged from page one. There were times when I was confused, but everything gets cleared up at the end. Overall, this was a very strange and engaging read.

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