Author: David Meredith
Genre(s): Science fiction; Young adult; New adult
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Review: Aaru is absolutely riveting. Every human on this planet has wondered and questioned if there is life after death. David Meredith has created a compelling idea in which modern science is able to create an afterlife utopia that is tangible and known. Through this story, we follow Rose and her family as she fights an illness that eventually takes her life. The first few chapters raised goosebumps on my skin and brought tears to my eyes with David's description of the pain and suffering that Rose endured, as well as the grief that her parents and sister experienced while watching her demise. Rose is soon gifted with the potential of one last chance at surviving, but in a way that she could never imagine. Once she enters into the world of Aaru, readers witness the agony that her younger sister, Koren, experiences with the loss of her older sister and best friend. Rose's family soon learns about her experience after death and that she is still able to communicate with them. Although they are very skeptical of the situation, Koren especially, they agree to partake further and Koren takes on the responsibility of speaking with the public about Aaru and all of its wonders. The scene that David unveiled where the family met Rose after her death for the first time is exactly what I envision when thinking of a private corporation creating a blissful afterlife. The facility is high-tech, but cold and sterile; the individuals partaking in Aaru's creation are reflective of their environment. It was chilling to read about Rose's family meeting the creators. As the story develops, we learn that the world of Aaru is not exactly as the creators painted it out to be; we follow the characters down a rabbit hole of deception and intrigue as they navigate what this novice situation brings them. Once I began reading, it was terribly difficult to put this book down. I also began to wonder what I would do in a situation where I could still have a tangible relationship with a lost loved one. What would the costs be? David Meredith created a work of art and I am incredibly thankful to have witnessed it.
Book Description: "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."