Hooked from the first sentence!
“Sometimes one has to dream very hard to keep oneself sane.” From the moment I read the opening line in the prologue, I was hooked. As the book progressed I wondered, who is really doing the dreaming? What reality is she trying to escape? Is this a futuristic dystopian SciFi novel or an exposé on mental illness? And who is that dead girl?
Snow City is the creation of Echo Japonica, a reclusive guitarist, who strives to live in a perfect world. A world that she created. Unfortunately, the nightmares of reality spill into Echo’s dream of perfection for Snow City. Those nightmares threaten to cause the entire system to collapse, taking Echo with it. As Echo puts is, “Here [at the Blue Rose] I can be the simple, black-garbed and blonde-braided guitarist I was months ago, before gangsters and lost ghost have entered my life. But gangsters and lost ghosts have entered my life . . .”
The ghost, Charity, and mob boss, Maxwell, stand with Echo as she faces her nightmares. While reflecting on death, Maxwell at her side, she comes to the realization that perfection is difficult to maintain and laments, “Here is a life begun bravely, then slowly eaten away by misfortune and by a perfectly understandable failure of spirit.” As Echo becomes even more determined to hold on to her dream of perfection, she realizes that it can only be achieved by letting go, and letting Charity pass on to wherever ghost go.
While the climax was a page turner and the plot line kept me entertained, the frustrating part of this book was that the reader is never given a glimpse of the reality Echo is escaping. Is Echo mentally ill and Snow City a schizophrenic delusion? Was Echo in a coma and Charity’s passing a symbol of her own natural death? Is there some other Sci-fi/fantasy/speculative fiction reason for the dream existence of Snow City?
Also, the author is overly fond of ellipses, dashes, italics, and text-speak (LOL, etc.) which disturbed the flow of the story. While I understand that putting thoughts and emphasis in italics is very much in vogue and the text-speak likely appeals to younger audiences, it did not appeal to this old fuddy-duddy.
Worth 3.5 stars. I wish I was able to award half stars because three stars clearly isn’t enough, but four stars feels like too much. Ultimately giving 4 stars because some of the things that bothered me likely appeal to the author’s intended audience.
Disclosure: A complimentary copy of the book was shipped to me for the purposes of completing this review.