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Publisher's Summary

The America of 2037 is a country distracted by, infatuated with, and addicted to Arcadia.
The brainchild of reclusive genius Juan Diego Reyes, Arcadia is a wickedly immersive, all-encompassing social-media platform and virtual-reality interface. Although Arcadia has made the Reyes family fabulously wealthy, it's left them - and the rest of the country - impoverished of that rare currency: intimacy. When Juan Diego mysteriously vanishes, the consequences shatter the lives of the entire Reyes clan.
As matriarch Autumn struggles to hold the family together, siblings Gideon, Holly, and Devon wrestle with questions of purpose and meaning - seeking self-worth in a world where everything has been cheapened. Outside the artificial safety of Arcadia, America has crumbled into an unrecognizable nation where a fundamentalist ex-preacher occupies the Oval Office, megacorporations blithely exploit their full citizenship, and a twenty-foot-high Great Wall of Freedom plastered with lucrative advertising bestrides the US-Mexican border.
In a polarized society now cripplingly hooked on manufactured highs, the Reyes family must overcome the seduction of simulation to find the kind of authentic human connection that offers salvation for all.
©2017 Sean Gandert (P)2017 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By James M Tomatore on 10-20-17

Odd Story

At it's core it's a character study, though there's a lot of social (and a little political) commentary. The author envisions and all too possible future. But the story is tough to follow, many parts are rambling, a little disjointed. The ending comes abruptly. After all the set up of the converging story lines (almost too many of which to mentally keep track) your left to wonder if someone forgot to include the final chapter. The implications of what logically comes next are fairly obvious. However one does not wade through a tangled story of personal relationships with intricately crafted interconnections so we could create our own ending. No. You, the author, are the story teller. We are here to consume your story. To be clear, it's not about leaving the reader something to think about, it's about bringing your narrative to a conclusion, tying up loose ends, finishing all the connecting you spawned along the way.

Despite my above gripes, I found it hard to stop listening. I also found myself relating to some of the characters in surprising ways.

The character development and their arcs are excellent. Also the subtle way that the different threads are drawn together really rewards the reader's/listener's patience with extraneous information. However, despite my attention wandering during long dialogs or informational interludes, the sum of said information makes the people and world feel very real and complete. You feel like you know the characters, you understand their thoughts and gain an insight in to their actions.

The only complaint about the narrator was the occasional robotic tone to his voice. Not often, but noticeable toward the end. It was entertaining to listen to him read chat messages and forum posts and even a few websites. I imagine the visual presentation in the book wasn't meant to be read word for word, but I got a kick out of listening to him read webpage headers and footers, screen names and URLs.

Ultimately it was a good listen and I plan on returning to it again in the future. I'm sure the second time around I'll notice more clues, foreshadowing, and subtle connections than I did the first time through.

Note: If you skim the description quickly you may think that this is a sci-fi or gaming book or an action packed who-done-it abduction mystery. The tech and game are just vehicles for the author to tell a tale about people in a possible (though slightly far fetched) future America. The disappearance, while a factor throughout the book, is mostly back story, laid out in the first chapter or two.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Stacy H on 08-15-17

Very timely, given the current US political climate

I was hesitant to choose this book as my kindle first selection because of the polarizing reviews, but I did, and I really enjoyed it. The novel, which is set about twenty years in the future from the publication date, is very timely, given our current political situation in the US, and I appreciated the many parallels that could be drawn between the book's projected dystopian future and reality as it stands today. The bleak view of what might be in store for us if things keep following their current path is as scary as it should be, while still delivering an entertaining storyline. The POV skips around from chapter to chapter, but Gandert manages to do so in a skillful way that kept me invested in each different character, even the ones I didn't really like. The narrator was great, and did a good job with voicing multiple characters in a scene without it getting confusing.

I docked a star because the ending was a bit abrupt and confusing, and left me wanting more of an explanation for some things and more clarity on what was happening. I'm hoping there will be a sequel eventually that will help tie up the loose and knotted ends.

Overall, I recommend this book.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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