Review By Don Sloan
Simulated death, fierce mock-battles, and oozing green blood. It all comprises the essence of this terrific new fantasy tale, geared toward a YA audience, but eminently enjoyable by just about anybody who enjoys a rousing romp in an alien world.
Aiden, Fig, and Palomas are more than best friends. They have been raised from infancy together to become elite warriors. They live in the citadel of Mount Fegorio, training each day and mastering their unique skills.
Fig is a three-foot-tall mek who fights in a specially engineered suit. Palomas is a lug, able to effortlessly throw boulders 500 feet away to flatten virtual enemies. And Aiden — well, Aiden is special. He has TWO extraordinary powers that allow him to see threats before they can harm him, and easily figure out problems that would stump anyone else.
Plus, he’s managed to meld the two powers recently, which makes him formidable indeed.
He will need all his skill when he goes into The Castle in three weeks to finish a deadly simulation never before completed by anyone. To help in his quest, he must rely on two senior primes, sixteen-year-old agulator Dixon and another prime, Zana.
Refereeing the deadly game is an ancient dragleon named Sentinel, “the protector of the law, caretaker of the realm, and keeper of secrets.” It will not be an easy task.
Meanwhile, Fig and Palomas are seriously miffed that they are left out of the training.being carried on by Aiden, Dixon and Zana. Before a permanent rift occurs, however, an accord is reached and final plans to face the last challenge imposed by Simulation 233 are perfected.
The characterizations in this novel are first-rate, placing the reader firmly inside the physical — and mental — confines of the players and the facility in which they are training for the ongoing war.
Of particular interest is Sergeant Henderson, a human instructor who harbors intense dislike for his gifted students. The reasons for the dislike reveal a depth of character not often seen in books of this type. It’s a moving insight into a minor participant in the story and adds texture and depth to the tale.
What do Aiden and the others encounter when they finally return to The Castle? And what of the larger issue of the war with the dreaded Splicers?
Find out for yourself in this excellent and moving tale of triumph and tragedy in a galaxy, as they say, that is far, far away. Five stars to I Am Sleepless, and its imaginative author.
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