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Radiant Shadows

The Annihilation of Foreverland

The Annihilation of Foreverland - Tony Bertauski Waking up on an island next to a withered old man, Danny has no memory of his life or how he got to the island. His investor (the old man), Mr. Jones, tells him that he's here for treatment and that the removal of his memories is part of his healing process. It's not too long before he meets the rest of his camp, and hears the whispers surrounding the "Haystack" - the place where they receive their treatment.Reed is determined not to let the investors break his desire to stay out of the needle - to stay out of Foreverland - the alternate reality where the boys' healing is supposed to happen. Isolated from the other boys for his defiance, he spends his time sitting on the beach, remembering the girl with the red hair from his dreams who tells him that if he ever wants to see her again, he has to do whatever it takes to resist - regardless of what torturous methods the investors use to weaken his resolve.To progress the plot, the narration switches back and forth between Danny and Reed as we see their individual struggles with the same thing - what happened to them that they had to come to this island, and what's the truth behind Foreverland? Every so often, we also hear from the Director, or one of the investors, which either added to my confusion or helped fill in some of the gaps. I really enjoyed the multiple PoVs, but I found that there were times where I wasn't sure who's PoV I was reading from, as the transitions were sudden, and at times, brief. I never truly connected with any of the characters, but for once, it didn't matter. I was much more interested in unravelling the details behind the Director's plans, the secrets behind Foreverland, and the reasons for the investors interest.The entire island gave me the creeps. Though portrayed as a paradise-like rehabilitation centre, the too-interested old men, the complete lack of female presence, and the mutual fear of and excitement for the Haystack combined to create a sense of distrust - a sense that something sinister was happening in the Chimney, whenever a young boy "graduated". I was on edge the entire time I was reading, waiting for the old men to take an unhealthy interest in their specific boy - and the amount times Danny woke up to his investor sitting on his bed, reaching to touch his face had me preparing for the worst. It turns out though, that the investors intentions were much, much more menacing.The plot moved quickly, creating as many questions as it answered, and it flowed smoothly, though it was broken periodically by the odd grammatical error that in my eagerness to discover the truth, were easy to overlook. The ending was satisfying, trying up enough loose ends that it could remain a stand-alone (as long as I assume the girls in Foreverland were creations of the boys imaginations, and not real girls living on a separate island) and even though I had started to piece together what I thought was happening, it was still slightly surprising to see it all laid bare.So while flawed, I was able to really enjoy The Annihilation of Foreverland because of how much it sucked me in to the story. I was unable to tear myself away from discovering all the secrets within its pages, especially as the pacing increased as Danny began to put together all the pieces.Find this review, and more, on my blog Radiant Shadows