Jul 21, 2017

Book Review: Aaru

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. 

* * * * *

 I found the premise of AARU fascinating.  What if we could make a copy of a person's personality and when they die upload it into a virtual reality?  Especially a reality such as Aaru where the avatar continues to grow and change.  Would this provide comfort to the ones left behind as they would still be able to have conversations with their 'deceased' loved ones?

Mr. Meredith has done a great job of answering some of those questions and more.  He also faces some of the areas of controversy creating Aaru would bring up such as whether the people in Aaru will ever make it into Heaven.  And what happens when some hacker decides to make some changes to the system.

I was also impressed by the characters themselves.  Mr. Meredith has done a wonderful job of portraying a fourteen year old girl who suddenly gets thrust into the limelight after her sister dies.  We also get a chance to really get to know Rose and her life on the 'other' side.  And the descriptions of Aaru make me want to go visit for a vacation.

I did however find that the story dragged in places and at times, I found myself wondering just how a scene furthered the story along. Also there was way too much emphasis placed on the Christian mythos for my tastes.  Not something that I was expecting in a science fiction story.

Even so, I found myself intrigued enough that I will be keeping an eye out for the next book in this series. I would recommend AARU to my readers who are looking for a Christian based science fiction with great characters.  

*** I received this book at no charge from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.


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