Gateway to Reality

Gateway to Reality - Becca J. Campbell (Book provided by the author through ReadIt & Reap 172 in the Shut Up & Read group, in exchange for an honest review.)

The concept of blurred boundaries, of realities that aren't what they seem, is something that I've always found quite fascinating. So, of course, I couldn't let this one pass me by. "Gateway to Reality" left me with mixed feelings, though, and it's not easy for me to give it a proper rating.

The story kept me wanting to read more, and delve deeper into the mystery of what's supposed to be the "real world": not the one we know, but one called the Existence, in people simply... exist, and where everything is possible, from building items to rooms to whole pocket-worlds, and more. It gave me a few things to ponder, starting with the necessity of having an "escape world" to go to, and how such a world can turn out to be addictive and dangerous in its own way. Besides, it also questions the human nature itself: would we be truly happy in a place where we can do and be absolutely whatever we want, or do we actually need limits for our own good? Existence and Logiverse clearly represented two extreme visions (total freedom vs. a world defined by rules), and both had their pros and cons. The fact that some people went back time and again to the LV opened a vast array of issues of its own.

The downside for me, however, was that in turn, I found the characters less compelling and defined. Wes seems to accept everything at face value, or almost, when I thought he'd be in more denial at first, or would try and find out more, in more drastic ways than he did. The book had a potential of really blurring reality and virtual existence, but it didn't quite do the trick. Maybe I was expecting a twist or two at some point, too. A few elements, too, felt like they weren't exploited. The black holes sucking people in, for instance (although there's one moment, at the end, where a clue might be provided—but that one was planned, whereas the others seemd random occurrences). Why was Wes so concerned about Emily and not about Wendy, whom he saw vanishing in such a hole (after all, in both cases, those characters weren't the ones he knew in what he believed at first to be his real world)? In fact, too many (all?) characters accept things as they are, and don't question what should be a huge question mark hanging above everyone's heads.

I guess my problem, indeed, is that I would've wanted more of those subplots to be tackled here, instead of Wes chasing after Emily the way he did. Their story might have been more enjoyable if it had developed in the second installment (since this looks like a series). I kept hoping for more, that never came. This said, I enjoyed the book nevertheless, for its world and all its yet-to-come possibilities.