Now this is my kind of fantasy! I was hooked right from page one. Now that I have finished reading, I'm wicked antsy for book two!
Full disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my rating in any way.
Halfway (Aspiration for Deliverance, #1) by Lokesh Sharma
Halfway is set in a futuristic place called Enigma, a halfway point between Earth and Hell or Elysium. The people, now called Myrits in this realm, have been reborn after their death. They awaken in an amphitheater with no memory of who they are. A man standing at a podium informs them that they are indeed in the afterlife and now must face trials for the crimes that they had committed in their human lives. If they are proven compatible and deemed worthy for Elysium, they will be granted access to move on.
The Myrits are confused. Some of them question the speaker. Before things can get out of hand, the speaker tells them that in order to get their human memories back, they must put on a bracelet that sits on a table in front of them. For some, the memories come rushing back as soon as the bracelet is on, but for others, it takes more time. The speaker warns them that if they take the bracelet off, they will lose all of their memories and could potentially lose them forever because they will not be able to remember to put the bracelet back on.
From there, we dive deeper into the story.
My thoughts:In this situation, I really loved that we were just dropped into the story! This is such a great example of a book that starts in the middle of the action and then backs up to explain the situation in a way that doesn't rely on a ton of information dumping.
So needless to say, I was hooked right from page one. I really enjoyed the quick prologue, though it was a bit confusing because it was right in the middle of the action. However, I felt that it really set the tone of the book perfectly. I was only confused for a short while because right in the first chapter, we got the important information that helped us understand the world.
The storyline flowed well and it was all so wonderfully paced. I really enjoyed that there were chapters sprinkled throughout the book that jumped back to the main characters human lives in order to fill in their backstories.
I really enjoyed all of the characters! Each of them were just so interesting to me. I loved that we met the Myrits when they were very vulnerable and confused, but then got to learn more and more about them each each time we jumped back to see them as humans. I absolutely loved discovering how the characters we focused on were all linked in their human lives as well. I cannot wait to see how things turn out for all of them!
There was a bit of violence included and to me it was wonderfully done! It really made me shudder, but I didn't feel like it was overdone. It was very refreshing! I mean, check out this passage (SPOILERS):
Beware, the negatives:The writing was a bit repetitive (my personal reading irk). For example, we learned about going before the Department of Justice through one character, then learned about it again through another character. We also hear the bit about how some Myrits have a hard time using their bracelets and why that is a couple of times. Also when we see a couple of characters use the Televator, we get the same description twice. In each situation, just the first mention would have been enough in my opinion.
This book could also use a tune up editing wise, but only in regards to simple things like capitalization and slight rewording.
My favorite passages:
His brain didn't seem to be in a mood to tell him anything. Almost everything was blotted out, as though the walls inside his brain had been painted over with black paint of amnesia, eradicating all the memories printed on them.
"...don't you think that if it results in war, our chances of winning would be as slim as those of a coin landing on its edge if flipped into the air?"