Book Review: Aaru 2 Halls of Hell by David Meredith

Dear Bookworms,

This read was provided to me for free in exchange for an honest review.

Halls of Hel is the second in the Aaru series by David Meredith. Didn’t catch that review, find it here!

Things is Aaru are idyllic. Rose and Franco are closer than ever, her friendships with her fellow Lords, Ladies, and Vedas are flourishing. In a land where her every thought, dream, and desire can become reality, what more could one ask for? Koren is struggling out in the real world. Her relationship with her parents is testy, her father is drinking too much and her mother is barely around. She is constantly tugged between promotion, event, and interview as the spokesperson for Elysium Industries with hardly a minute to catch her breath. Magic Man is still at large, plotting and toiling away behind a computer to hack into the Aaru mainframe, ensnaring and enslaving Koren forever. The two sisters are up against the most sinister foe, can they ward off Magic Mans attack before it’s too late?

Ok, I am just going to go with the things I liked and the things I didn’t like route here. Once again, this was a really imaginative plot with some really unique themes being explored. The afterlife and it’s connection to technology and thus immortality raise some really interesting talking points which had me debating myself while reading. Are the “damaged” brain scans uploaded into Aaru deserving of a quarantined location, away from the inhabitants and glory of Aaru? (I’m still going back and forth on this one) Is deleting a brain scan equivalent to murder/death. (I think so?) Leaves a lot to think about. Fighting a war within Aaru is also a compelling plot line, and one that left me furiously turning pages to see what would happen next.

Now for the things I wasn’t so thrilled with…. Koren is WAY oversexualized for a child of 14. The descriptive language of her sleazy dress, her body, and relationship with pop star douche just made me feel….icky…it wasn’t needed and felt like too much. Koren is essentially a child, one maturing into adulthood sure, but way too young to be parading around in the book like a little sex kitten. It didn’t work for me, and left me feeling skived out. I also feel the plot line could work just as well without the villain being a crazed pedophile. It’s too much; a disgruntled ex employee would work fine, a college aged computer hacker with a vendetta against Elysium Industries is another more plausible angle. Magic Man is just a gross, weirdly written villain to me. (Obviously I am not an author but speaking purely my personal opinion). I was looking for more character development here in the second book but felt it fell a little flat in that department. Rose comes off as some angsty, lusty teenager, and Koren a petulant brat.

Overall a really interesting plot line if the characters just felt more authentic and not so overly sexualized, it would be a really amazing read.

Until next week friends!

XOXO,

Coco





Book Review: Aaru by David Meredith

Dear Bookworm,

This weeks week was provided to me for free in exchange for an honest review.

You may recall I reviewed David Meredith's first book, The Reflections of Queen Snow White, sometime last year (read that review here if you missed it!). When David reached out to me to read his newest novel, Aaru, I eagerly said yes! 

Rose Johnson is dying of terminal cancer. Her days are spent bed ridden in a hospital, totally dependent on her nurses for even the most basic of tasks due to her ill state and weakness. Rose has given up hope of a miraculous recovery and wishes to just die in peace, until a strange man, Mr. Adams of Elysian Industries, shows up with a new trial technology that he says, will save her life. At the behest of her sister, Koren, Rose reluctantly agrees to this last ditch effort. What transpires next is groundbreaking.

Rose's brain is scanned and uploaded into a computer mainframe, a digital utopia called Aaru. After her physical body dies, Rose is alive and well within Aaru, able to communicate with her family through a computer screen linking the digital afterlife with the world. In order to market the groundbreaking success of this technology, Koren is conscripted to be the official spokesperson for Elysian in promoting Aaru to the public. The sisters quickly realize that things are not quite as perfect as they had initially thought as they find themselves embroiled in a cat and mouse game with a dangerously brilliant nemesis who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. 

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Brilliant book! What most struck me about this book was it's uniqueness. As someone who reads quite a lot of books (hello, I have a book blog this should not come as a surprise to anyone) I have never read one quite like this.

The whole concept of a technologically induced life after death was fascinating while at the same time elicited an almost eerie feeling. Sure it all sounds good on paper, but the characters portrayed as residents in Aaru raised some interesting and thoughtful concerns about their existence within the virtual paradise. It was a topic that definitely had me thinking long after putting down the book.

David has a very florid type writing style that evokes strong images and feelings. It is easy to find yourself lost in his words which is always a treat to any bookworm. This book certainly had it's fair share of intensity and danger (TW sexual assault), which I feel I should mention, would not be appropriate for younger readers. Much of the last part of the book was uncomfortable for me to read as an adult and seemed almost too graphic for a book I feel seems marketed to a YA crowd? Maybe it's not marketed to that demographic, but I always feel like books with main characters in the teen ages are?

Either way, just be aware if you are sensitive to that type of material, this may not be the book for you. Overall, it was a really imaginative and interesting read, I would definitely recommend it to my high-school age and up readers. This is book one of a planned trilogy and I have to say, I am excited to see where the series takes us!

See you guys next week!

XOXO,

Coco

READ MY OTHER BOOK REVIEWS HERE!