ARC Review: Alternity by Mari Mancusi

ebook: 243 Pages

Series: Standalone

Publisher: NLA Digital Liaison Platform LLC

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Imagine waking up in a post-apocalyptic, nightmare world–and being told your whole life is but a dream. Skye Brown thought she was your typical teen–good grades, hot boyfriend, and an afterschool job that pays her to play videogames. But then she started having the dreams.

In her dreams, there is no Earth. Only Terra, a bleak, underground wasteland where people live in squalor and oppression. In her dreams, there is no Skye–only Mariah, a rebel leader fighting against a vile, dystopian regime. And then there’s Dawn, a handsome, but haunted solider who sees her as but an empty shell of the girl he once loved–a betrayer he vows to hate forever, despite what she sees deep in his eyes.

Now, ripped between Dark Siders and club kids, the mundane and the mystic, Skye finds herself in a fight against time–to learn who she really is, where she belongs..and why. The shocking truth will have her questioning her own reality…and her heart.

This novel was originally published in print as Moongazer, back in 2010, which made for some confusing 10 minutes when I discovered two books with the same blurbs.

Skye, the MC, is a normal college student. She has a roommate, friends, an annoying cousin and a sweet boyfriend. She also has terrifying, vivid nightmares, from which she wakes up scared and on the verge of having an asthma attack. I felt like the author tried too hard to make her the perfect geek. She’s in film school, she has a job as a game tester. Moreover, she’s their most trusted employ and the only tester they actually pay.

“Then he leaned over and kissed me on the cheek. I endured it for a second, then brushed him away. He was always trying to PDA me in the hallway, which was more than a little embarrassing. After all, we were in school. Teachers were watching. Not to mention fellow students.”

Not only is she embarrassed of her boyfriend kissing her in public, but she considers a kiss on the cheek as PDA? I have to wonder if the author knows any college students or if she just wanted Skye to be a prude. I had a hard time believing Skye was over 18 because of similar internal dialogue and her behavior.

Skye is unwillingly transported to another world, Terra, where people think she’s Mariah, the leader of the Eclipsers. The world-building was unimpressive. I was expecting much more from an alternate world, even though Terra was supposed to be eerily similar to Earth.

Both Duske, the senator of Terra, and Dawn, an ex-Eclipser, were interesting characters and I enjoyed them much more than I liked Skye, Dawn especially. I liked how believable his reactions and behavior towards Skye were.

The whole premise of the book, the idea of alternate worlds, was really cool and had so much potential. I can’t really say that potential was squandered, but what Alternity lacked was real sense of anticipation. One guy tells her one thing, the other tells her something entirely different, she herself has doubts and suspicions, yet she’s completely oblivious and refusing to believe anything up until the big reveal. Which was annoying.  I, the reader, already knew where things were heading. Almost.

Skye’s refusal of accepting the obvious truth, coupled with a slow pacing, made the book a difficult read.

Towards the end, we’re presented with not one, but two MAJOR twists, one after the other. Bam-bam! I have to admit, I didn’t see any of them coming. As I said, I did know the general direction, but that? Wasn’t expecting that! However, by that point, I wasn’t that interested in the book anymore, not that engaged, so no matter how shocking the reveals were, they still didn’t save it for me.

I wanted more, dammit! More action, more fireworks, just..more. In contrast with the moment everything comes together in a satisfying conclusion, the very end was anticlimactic and felt rushed.

Overall, it was an okay read and I liked it, but that’s all.

*I received an ARC from the publisher through NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged.

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