- Title: V World
- Author: Nick Berry
- Series: None
- Genre: Sci-Fi
- Publishing Date: January 23rd, 2019
- Publishing Co.: Eye Drop Publishing, Ltd.
- Length: 315 pages
- Format: Kindle Unlimited, Paperback
- Acquired: Given free digital copy in exchange for an honest review
- Amazon Link: V World
Seventeen-year-old Alex Binary doesn’t know if she should stay a girl, or appease her best friend Logan and change back into a boy. In the virtual world of Cinder, all minds must choose an identity on their eighteenth birthday. Blonde hair or black, tall or short, boy or girl. For the citizens of Cinder, the decision is crucial.
Unfortunately for Alex, it’s a decision she may never be able to make.
Zeus, a psychopathic artificial intelligence, seeks godhood through the destruction of the virtual worlds. To save them, Alex braves reality and joins forces with a group of rebel A.I.’s intent on defeating the unhinged machine. Along the way, she struggles with concepts of gender, identity, and what it means to be truly human in a world run by programs.
First Chapter Challenge: 3%
In this first chapter, we meet our main character Alex, and her little sister, Riley. They are both in some sort of medieval war game, where they are on opposite teams, trying to either defend a castle or take it down. So far, I have no idea what is going to happen, if they are within a simulation, or if they are in the game themselves as avatars, or what! It does seem interesting that Alex can feel pain within this game, and that she is able to change her gender at will. I can’t wait to find out what is happening in this novel!
Final Judgment: 4 Stars out of 5
In this sci-fi by Nick Berry, Alex Binary is one of millions of humans living in the virtual (V) world. Years ago, the humans in the real (R) world decided to forsake their world and transferred all their consciousnesses to the V worlds, where they will live out the remainder of their lives as well as the future of humanity. This V world is perfect in every way; grass cut exactly one-and-a-half inches, houses all the same, no death, no sickness, no hunger. That is, until what seems to be a glitch changes everything in Alex’s V world, and it begins to turn on itself, killing all who live within it. Luckily for Alex, she is guided out of the V world and into the R world by an A.I. Turns out the various V Worlds are under attack from a psychopathic A.I. in the R world, where he wants to destroy all of humans. Will Alex, now in a human body with all of its imperfections, be able to overcome this faction of A.I.s and save her world before it’s too late?
“If we didn’t remind people that the shell doesn’t matter, that the shell is flexible, fluid, then the shell would be all that we have in the eyes of others.” (Loc 1938)
This novel was very intriguing in how it forced me to rethink what exactly makes us human. Is Alex, who was “born” in the V World actually human? Does she need a human body to be human? It is also interesting how Berry deals with gender. In Alex’s V World, she is able to change her gender at will–that is until her 18th birthday, when she must choose her final appearance. But in other V Worlds, the people don’t get to choose; all citizens must be men on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and women on all other days. It is a strange concept of being able to change genders at will, or being forced into one gender in the name of the overall good of the group. Is there some truth to this in our world? Are the two genders really all that different from each other? Make us see people in different ways, simply based on their gender?
“Why does it matter what other people think of you?” I ask. “What’s important is that you know yourself.”
“But how can you know yourself if who you are changes on the regular?” (Loc 188)
Berry forces us to change our ideas of identity as we progress through this book. The main character’s last name is Binary, an ode to how a person can be more than one thing, can have more than one identity. Just one attribute of our personality, appearance, or mentality does not define who we are as a human, it is just one of our many unique traits. I think Alex begins to realize this as she continues to fight for her world.
“You choose?” I ask dumfounded. “Why would anyone choose to feel pain?”
The doctor puts a hand on my knee. “Because by feeling pain, we come closer to understanding our gods,” she says. (Loc 1445)
Now, as for the actual events in the book, they are all extremely fast-paced with a LOT of action packed in. If you are looking for an entertaining read (with a bit of a philosophical side as noted above), then this is it! There are so many different fights, different worlds, all within different settings and time periods that I just could not put the book down. Just as I thought I was getting to a lull in the action, it would pick back up!
My heart is pounding. My lungs are gasping for air. The more time I spend in this body, the more I realize how weak it is. (Loc 2655)
I also liked how Berry included Mythology within his novel, giving different A.I.s names from Greek mythology. There is Zeus, the psychotic A.I. that wishes to kill all the humans; Hera, the mother of all A.I.s; Artemis, whom Alex fights behind and whom jumpstarted the war; Apollo, the leader of the Believers, and many more. Giving each of these A.I.s Greek God names helped to solidify their characters and make them more relatable to us humans.
One of the reasons that I did not give this novel 5 stars was the fact that there were numerous grammatical errors throughout the book. It slowed down my reading and detracted from the suspense I felt as I progressed through each chapter.