Etherworld by Claudia Gabel

EtherworldTitle: Etherworld
Author: Claudia Gabel
Series: Elusion series
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Published: March 31, 2015
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5)

The summary of Etherworld from Goodreads:

In this sequel to Elusion, three teens fight a virtual reality program that threatens to destroy their minds. Dangerous secrets and lies add up to a thrilling futuristic fantasy with anInception-inspired twist.

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?

The Good:

The action starts right away, picking off where Elusion left off. It doesn’t miss a beat, which means there’s no “catch-up” information. I thought the depiction of Etherworld was really interesting, as was the plan to destroy the app and make the real world safer. I also liked the tension between the known and unknown. Every character has a little pice of the puzzle, but even when they’re put together, not everything is known. Elusion keeps its own puzzle pieces well hidden.

I also liked Regan and Josh a lot more in this book. One of my annoyances with the first book was the fact that they seemed a little too distracted at times. I wasn’t too annoyed because they are teenagers after all. But in Etherworld, they seemed to understand the gravity of the situation better. They still take “breaks,” but they don’t seem to interfere with their plans as often. They’re focused, but also understand that sheer determination won’t equal success. They have to be smarter.

The development of the relationships was also nice to read. I felt like Etherworld had a focus on the connections between characters outside of the Regan and Josh. It felt more authentic because the relationships between every character became important to the overall story.

I want to avoid spoilers, so I’ll just say the twist about Elusion was incredibly frightening, but also really realistic. I think, with all the new technology that is continuously being invented, people need to be wary of becoming too dependent on it or creating something that’s always better.

The Bad:

Maybe it’s just me, but I wish the tech talk was broken down a little bit more. I found it a little hard to follow at times and sometimes just had to skip over it and hope everything still made sense. I was usually able to figure things out, but it would have been nice to understand some of the technology as I was reading about it.

The Recommendation:

I think this is a great book and series for people who enjoy science fiction or more technologically based novels. It definitely requires some thinking to try and follow the tech talk, but the basic premise and characters make up for that. It’s a good series about what happens when technology goes wrong.

Purchasing Links:

Amazon
Audible
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound

Thank you to Edelweiss and Katherine Tegen Books for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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