Monday, September 19, 2016

REVIEW: Gateway to Reality By Becca J. Campbell

Talented artists shouldn’t be waiting tables, scraping by, and living mediocre lives. But that’s exactly what art school graduate Wes Teague is doing.

Then he wakes from a bizarre dream, haunted by the sense that his life isn't real. A harrowing truth presents itself--the real world lies in his dreams, not when he's wide awake.

The dream world he enters each night is rich and vibrant. Chicago appears the same on the surface, but chaos runs rampant as gravity, physics, and other laws of nature become fluid, changing unexpectedly. There, Wes's parents, brother, and sister are strangers. His girlfriend Emily doesn’t recognize him. Wes longs to return, to unlearn the truth about his dual reality.

Wes would sacrifice almost anything to get back to blissful ignorance in a false world.

But now he has feelings for the real Emily.

I became a fan of author Becca J. Campbell when she approached me to read her Empath series which i absolutely adored.  I was intrigued and asked if i could review her other books as well. I very happily suprized by her other novels.

As I already noted, one of author Becca J. Campbell's strengths is world-building, and this talent is on full display in "Gateway to Reality". Switching between the "normal" world (or Logiverse as it is called here) and a world where "normal" does not apply (the Existence), Campbell has plenty of opportunity to explore diverse landscapes and mind-bending ideas. Wes has stumbled into a "reality" that is made up of multiple worlds built by each person's own mind; a reality where people are created - and destroyed - in the blink of an eye. While the idea of the "normal" world being just a dream is not a new concept. Campbell takes it in an original direction that is not as bleak as those movies. "Gateway to Reality" includes twists and turns aplenty as Wes tries to reconcile the two worlds he is living in, and what his relationship is to his (maybe) girlfriend Emily in both. Alternate realities are a rich plot to mine, so it's great to see so much thought and detail put into the effort.

The characters of Wes and Emily were easy to like, especially as they started getting closer in the Existence. Wes had some very nice family moments in the Logiverse with his brother Bill and his parents that showed the loving relationships he had built in his mind. But when Wes started digging deeper into the workings of the Existence and tried to discover why his mind wasn't working quite the way it should in either world, an interesting twist came to light that added new dimensions to his relationship with Emily and his "family." Pacing was light and quick, leading me to finish this story in a matter of hours, and there were some intriguing questions left unanswered in regards to links between the characters and some of the weirdness in the Existence (especially in regards to black holes). Here's hoping a follow-up to this tale is already in the works.

4 stars

An avid lover of stories that tiptoe the line between fantasy and reality, Becca J. Campbell looks for new angles on bridging the gap between the two. She holds a special place in her heart for any story that involves superpowers or time travel. Her passion is defying the limits of her own creativity.

Becca's journey into writing began as many of her other creative endeavors do - by daring herself to try something new. The question "what if I wrote a novel?" and some hastily scribbled notes on a church handout were the inspirations that jump-started her first book. Since then, she has written half a dozen additional novels and several shorter works.

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