Friday, October 12, 2012

Review: Alternity by Mari Mancusi

 Review: Alternity by Mari Mancusi
Rating: ★★★1/2

Imagine waking up in a post-apocalyptic, nightmare world--and being told your whole life is but a dream. Skye Brown thought she was your typical college student--good grades, hot boyfriend, and an internship that pays her to play videogames. But then she started having the dreams.

In her dreams, there is no Earth. Only Terra, a bleak, underground wasteland where people live in squalor and oppression. In her dreams, there is no Skye--only Mariah, a rebel leader fighting against a vile, dystopian regime. And then there's Dawn, a handsome, but haunted solider who sees her as but an empty shell of the girl he once love--a betrayer he vows to hate forever, despite what she sees deep in his eyes.

Now, ripped between Dark Siders and club kids, the mundane and the mystic, Skye finds herself in a fight against time--to learn who she really is, where she belongs..and why. The shocking truth will have her questioning her own reality...and her heart.  

"They’re going to be so disappointed when they finally face reality."

Alternity is a book that, while not perfect, is greatly enjoyable. If you’re a fan of post-apocalyptic dystopias, alternate realities, rebellions, romance, and totalitarian governments all tossed together with a little humor and a lot of gaming references, Alternity will work for you.

The narrative begins in a tangle of confusion, but it’s appropriate, because that’s how Skye feels. Once you figure out what’s going on, it actually makes very clear sense. Honestly, I caught on to the truth quite a bit faster than she did (until a BIG twist near the end, a twist I sure didn't see coming), but it was believable that the sheer craziness of waking up in a different world with a different name would muddle your head a bit.

The story really kicks off once it switches over to the alternate reality. Or “alternate”, as the case may be. Alternity plays with the themes of real life vs. fake life, what's true and what's false. The idea of escaping reality so much that you lose touch with it. It’s a pretty profound theme that I think is pulled off well.

I love Skye as a heroine, who is truly the best part of the book. She’s sassy, passionate, brave, entertaining, and pop-culturally aware. She has mad geek cred, and so does this book. It’s geeky to the core, in the best sense.

They way Skye grows into Mariah– her ass-kicking, rebellion leading alter ego-ish type thing (it’s complicated) really works. Terra is a place full of problems, like any good dystopian world. And you root for her to fix them.

It’s a fast-paced, action packed read. The climax is a little lacking, but satisfying after an intense buildup. Perhaps a couple things don’t hold up, and you don't delve as deeply into the world as you could, but they don’t impact that quality of the story too much. The love interest is appropriately attractive if not slightly one dimensional. Some of his emotions don’t hit me as true, and part of his reaction to the Big Twist also rings false. But I liked him, even if I did really disagree with his name. To me, Dawn is just not a male name. But quibbles.

Choice passage that basically encompasses the whole theme:

“That’s for trying to turn me into someone I’m not,” I spit at him.
He narrows his eyes. “Please. You were never anyone to begin with.”
“That may be true,” I agree. “But I am someone now. Someone important. And you know what? I like that person. I wouldn’t trade who I’ve become for any alternate reality in the world.”

I wasn’t expecting this book to feel so original, but it did. It touched upon a theme that's important for a lot of us voracious readers, gamers, TV addicts, and movie buffs: the idea of escape, and whether it really is the better choice. Don’t put your head in the sand. Read Alternity (an escape unto itself! So meta!) and learn the dangers of escaping too far.

I received a free ARC of Alternity for review. This title will be released October 19.


  1. Very good review. Will check this book out.
    You make me laugh, too! Nice to see funny young people reading books!

    1. Aw, thanks! And yes, you should read this book. I always like to hear I've influenced someone to read.


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