Book Review: Aaru- Halls of Hel (The Aaru Cycle #2) by David Meredith



Genre: Fantasy/Horror/Supernatural

Publishers: Bowker Publishing

Price: Rs. 206/- (I got the book for review from the author)

Behind the Book

“… Let them have everything - health, food, a place to live, entertainment. They are and remain unhappy and low-spirited for the demon waits and waits…” -Friedrich Nietzsche
Rose is a Veda.

In Elysian Industries’ virtual paradise of Aaru, that means she’s practically a goddess. She is immortal. She is powerful. A limitless paradise is hers and her friends’ to command. They are free from sickness and pain, old age and death. She should be ecstatic over her prestige and privilege, but the gilded utopia has lost its luster.

In a reality where anything can be hers with a thought, and Rose can master any skill instantly with nothing but her imagination, to what can she still aspire? She has all of eternity to fill, but what will her purpose be? Rose adores her sweet, Latin boyfriend, Franco. She loves wiling away endless immaculate days with her friends, but shouldn’t there be more to life than mere play? Also, Rose is dogged by deep concern for her little sister, Koren, the Elysian Industries spokes-model and reality star back in the “Before” world.

Though Koren is wealthy, famous, and idolized by millions of adoring fans, her life is spinning out of control. Her parents’ marriage is on the rocks, and the boyfriend of her dreams, Jonas Perry, seems suddenly indifferent. Koren finds her celebrity increasingly isolating, her grueling work schedule exhausting, and the constant scrutiny of her personal life unwelcomed and intrusive. To top it all off, she has regular nightmares about the death of her friend, Kiku, and the still-at-large Magic Man who nearly stole away her everything.

Koren and Rose have more to fear from this quarter than they know. Magic Man’s obsession with the teenage idol has not lessened, and he is far from defeated. With vital aid from an unexpected source, his nefarious schemes to make Koren his own and to hack the Aaru mainframe are on track and moving forward. Unless the sisters can thwart his sinister designs, everyone and everything the girls hold dear could be destroyed.

About the Author

Dr. David Meredith is a writer and educator originally from Knoxville, Tennessee. He received both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts from East Tennessee State University, in Johnson City, Tennessee. He received his Doctorate in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee. On and off, he spent nearly a decade, from 1999-2010 teaching English in Northern Japan, but currently lives with his wife and three children in the Nashville Area where he continues to write and teach English.

I have read the previous Aaru (Book # 1) and loved it. Despite my fear of reading horror books, this is one book that helped me enjoy it to an extent that I can safely say I look forward to more books from the author. Here I would like to also thank him, for very kindly remembering how much I had loved the previous part and inviting me to experience this world, once again!

David Meredith has done a fantastic job of continuing with the world building and of course the unforgettable characters he gave us in Aaru. It comes as no surprise that this book is equally (or perhaps more) mesmerizing as the first part. Usually in series, the first book is where the world building happens and the characters are introduced and the second book is where the real action begins. In this manner, if I were to interpret this series then the author has stayed true to this as well as it gets more exciting hereon and the excitement is palpable. In both, his words and narrative the scenes come alive in those pages.

Loved the pacing of the book, it is surely a perfect page turner. There is not a single dull moment in the narrative, scene after scene there is so much happening that puts the reader on tenterhooks as to what to expect next. There were a lot of scenes that moved me beyond words while there were some which left me thinking. In life many times we assume  things to be perfect while they are actually not. The most beautiful part of this book or rather this series so far has been the characters - they are real, they love, cry, laugh and most importantly they survive it all. Somewhere it gives you hope and somewhere it makes you believe that life is how we make it.

Would surely recommend this book to all who enjoy this genre, if you haven't read the first book yet this is the time for you to read both and be ready till the next one comes out!

Foodie Verdict

This book is like Khandvi in sweet n sour gravy - a rare combination but a dish which is delicious nevertheless!

Source: Sanjeev Kapoor