“The Annihilation of Foreverland” – by Tony Bertauski

Cover ImageHe wakes up in what looks like a doctor’s office. He is told his name is Danny Boy. He doesn’t know who he is or how he’s come to this place, but the old man is telling him everything is going to be alright.

The Annihilation of Foreverland is a science fiction conspiracy novel where the story starts in a fairly non-threatening environment and quickly moves towards uncertainty and finally, revelation and crisis. It’s not a new formula, but it’s one that quite often works well with me and this book was not an exception. There’s something so intriguing about the “something not quite right” formula. I want to dig just as much as the characters in the story and the deeper I get the more I want to know.

Bertauski’s setting is an island with boys who have a kind of amnesia (more like an assault of other people’s memories) and are being treated in a revolutionary program that seems to involve lots of game playing, sun and healthy eating. That is until we get to the Haystack. This is meant to be the crux of treatment and it’s pretty unsettling. But it’s in the Haystack that we start widening the parameters of the story through the eyes of Danny Boy – newest “patient” on the island. The sessions at the Haystack seem to get wilder as the story progresses, but I would recommend just running with it as it makes the story more enjoyable.

And I guess that’s where I come to my observation about the target audience of this novel. The young adult label is well-earned. For a start, the pacing is great and the mystery develops with a successful blend of unease and tension that I believe younger readers will gobble up. But on the flip side, there’s a couple of elements that I think would be more easily accepted by younger readers than perhaps adult readers. Lucinda is an enormously problematic character in this story. In fact, in my mind, she makes little sense but is given so much power as a plot device that it’s impossible not to constantly face the absurdity of her role. Additionally, Danny Boy as a character is just too intuitive and too intelligent for my liking. On many occasions he borders on the super-human. However, I feel like I need to give a big concession here as I think younger readers will have no problem with Lucinda or Danny Boy.

Moving on to the characters, Danny Boy is an interesting read despite my issues. I enjoyed watching this thirteen year old cope with the island, the uncertainty of his memories, the Investors, the Director and the Haystack. As he slowly starts to understand more about who he was before the island, we also start seeing more overt rebellion from him. His character becomes more resilient, resourceful and at the same time, much more interesting.

Reed is where much of the mystery of the story starts. Who is this boy and why is he refusing treatment? Reed is the character that really sows the seed of doubt for Danny Boy. We do get to see some of the story through the eyes of Reed, but he is a character on the verge of breakdown for the entirety of the story, so his point of view isn’t as entertaining as that of Danny Boy. But he’s an important character – one that infuses the island with disharmony, a necessary atmosphere in a story like this one.

I also found the Director interesting in this story. His character was quite paradoxical with actions and sentiments not often aligning. This is probably what I liked most though; someone so invested in an ideal, but whose actions seems so contradictory. As the story progresses his sentiment is swept away in his relentless pursuit of Lucinda and when certain revelations bring his character into sharp focus there is no longer any chance of this character being misunderstood. I enjoyed the unveiling.

The writing had a few errors, enough that I mention it but not enough to stop me from recommending the book. Other than that, the author did a good job of portraying the island and the characters on it.

Those who can’t put aside the critical adult might have a few problems with The Annihilation of Foreverland, but those who can appreciate where this story is targeted are going to enjoy the ride. The atmosphere is just right. Danny Boy has a good set of eyes through which to witness the conspiracy unfolding. If not young, at least be young at heart and I think this story will satisfy.

Rating: 4/5

Price at the time of review: $3.99 US

Available: Amazon

Author site: http://bertauski.com/
GoodReads page: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13368166-the-annihilation-of-foreverland

This entry was posted in 4, Novel, Reviews, Young Adult and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to “The Annihilation of Foreverland” – by Tony Bertauski

  1. MrsJoseph says:

    Ahhh! I knew I should have waited for your review! I found it to be ok but boring really early so I DNF’d it. :-(

  2. Pingback: “Halkskin” – by Tony Bertauski | Papyrus

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