Review: Idlewild by Nick Sagan

Idlewild by Nick Sagan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Halloween wakes up disoriented, confused, with no memory, and is temporarily paralyzed. All he knows is someone (something?) is trying to kill him via electrocution, but he has no idea how to even begin to investigate.

Slowly but surely, our protagonist reunites with his friends and his environment, the pieces of the puzzle slowly clicking into place as time moves forward. Plagued by intermittent holes in his memory, Halloween re-integrates himself back into the land of the … living?

Sort of.

Quickly we learn that Halloween and his quirky and enigmatic friends are living in a inter-conscious virtual reality termed IVR (Immersive Virtual Reality) where they are receiving an education unlike anything they’d find in the “outside” world. With virtual nannies, instructors, vampires, and the ability to travel anywhere in the world instantaneously, what could be better? What could go wrong?

Pesky time to interrupt and remind the reader of the paralyzing electrocution – a failed, yet very much attempted assassination.

Through searching for simply his own memory, Halloween uncovers an epic reality nobody could have imagined. Peeling back multiple layers (a la Inception) bring the reader to a shocking and haunting realization, and hurl our cast of characters into a sobering pit of responsibility that they won’t all survive.

Nick Sagan’s Idlewild is disorienting at first, and fairly so given the state of our protagonist. I am confused as much as Halloween is. As the light of understanding brightens slowly upon him, so do I gain my bearings and try to make sense of this world around me. As the story progresses and the intensity increases, I find myself enlightened and darkened at the same time. What a wonderful thing to gain understanding, but when what you’re understanding is fraught with danger and the threat of being buried alive? You long for a sense of normalcy. My emotions were highly charged while reading this book, and I am already well into book #2. I look around and appreciate the world around me, all the while wondering if what I’m perceiving is what really IS.

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