"A riveting romance for gamers and fantasy lovers alike"
Dorchester SHOMI continues the theme of alternative reality
with MOONGAZER the second title in this new action romance
Skye Brown is a game designer for Chix0r an all female video
company based in New York City. With a deadline for a new
game imminent, Skye is troubled by dreams that are
interfering with her work as well as her sleep. The dreams
involve a post-apocalyptic underground world called Terra,
which has striking similarities to Earth. There she finds
herself a fugitive on the run from government soldiers.
Skye is given a cryptic message by her yoga instructor to
find Dawn and avoid Duske. In actuality Glenda is an
Eclipser sent to pull Skye back with her to Terra. With
each dream Skye's own memories blur and Terra becomes more
real. There people know her as Mariah Quinn, a revolutionary
leader of the Eclipsers, a group of rebel Indy's who hope to
free the Dark Siders (irradiated mutants kept as slaves)
from the oppressive Council she'd been born to govern. Only
if Dawn Grey is to be believed, she'd betrayed their cause on
the very night of their uprising. Dawn had once been her
lover but now he has nothing but contempt for her.
The government has developed the Moongazing program to give
the people of Terra new hope. Or so they said. Those with
enough money could "gaze into the moon" and visit Earth. It
was a chance to escape the reality of a war ravaged Terra,
to live above ground in a world free of radiation and to
take on whatever role they chose to play. Some chose to
visit regularly, others chose to relocate permanently.
Mariah had investigated the Gazing
experience hoping to expose the government crimes but once
involved had become addicted to the
Gazer's inhalant and had wanted nothing more than to stay on
Earth forever. She had left the resistance at the most
critical moment. But because Dawn had loved her, he had
hidden her behavior from the Eclipsers and the Dark Siders
who continued to worship her. To the Eclipsers Mariah is
their savior, which is why they
have forcibly pulled her (Skye) back from Earth. In spite of
Skye's protests that she is not the person they seek, even
her fingerprints match the missing leader's. Dawn believes
the drugs have simply taken away her memories.
Senator Duske of the Council of Eight, the totalitarian
government of Terra, has a different explanation. He accepts
her identity of Skye Brown, Earthling computer geek and he
is willing to send her back home if she will agree to talk
up Earth at a Moongazing seminar. Who to believe? Duske, the
wealthy politician who can give her back the only identity
she's ever known, or Dawn, the courageous, caring
neuro-Terran soldier who risks his life on a daily basis to
put an end to the unspeakable atrocities perpetrated on his
people -- a meaningless existence or a just cause and the
man she is rapidly coming to love? At what point does
reality cease to matter?
The book is written in such a way that even the reader is
unsure of her true identity until the last possible moment.
And the truth is mind blowing! The SHOMI imprint is geared
to attract a younger adult audience and this tale has done
its job admirably. The gaming generation will love it. For
the more mature reader never fear, there is enough romance,
fantasy and suspense to keep anyone riveted. I found myself
unable to put the book down until the very last word had
been savored. Written in the first person the reader will
follow Skye herself through layers of intrigue, twists and
turns, moves and countermoves to the stunning conclusion.
Kudos to Dorchester for this timely concept, and bravo to
Ms. Mancusi for crafting a truly engrossing tale. I highly
recommend this read.
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted September 25, 2007