(I won this book through Goodreads First reads programme. Thanks to Goodreads and Shannan Sinclair!)
24-year-old Aislen Walker is training to be a nurse. She lives with her mother, and doesn't know her father.
One night Aislen has a terrifying dream in which she is in a very strange city, and watches a man shot to death by a boy called Blake. The next day Aislen realises that this wasn't just a dream, it actually happened!
12-year-old Blake is being held for murdering his father. He's making no sense though, and repeating the same phrase over and over again, so has ended up in a mental health facility. When trainee nurse Aislen sees him, she knows that this is the boy from her dream, and her fears are confirmed when Blake recognises her and comes out of his stupor.
Raze is a gaming champion who works for a company called Infinium Incorporated. He was originally hired to test out new games, but has been promoted above that. Raze now has ultimate clearance, and can do whatever he wants within the gaming world, but he also has another job. Hidden within the game (Demesne) is a secret level which only Raze can access and bring players to. The secret is that this hidden level is not a game. It's real, and if you die there you die in real life also.
Raze completed part of his latest mission when he took Blake and his father to the secret level and got Blake to kill his father, but Aislen's appearance altered things, and Blake should have been killed too. Now Raze must complete his mission and find Aislen, to eliminate the threat that she poses.
Aislen is confused and doesn't understand what's going on, and the sudden appearance of her father in her dreams confuses her further. How is she seeing the things she's seeing? What has her father got to do with all of this? And who is the stranger that's after her?
This book is pure sci-fi, so much so that I didn't understand half of the intricacies of the game at the beginning, and I'm still a bit hazy on certain aspects now! Funnily enough this does not spoil the story at all!
Aislen spends quite a lot of time in the dark in this book, and I can't say that I'm surprised because I'd be confused too with the information that she's been given. This seems to be the point though - Aislen's journey through all the bizarre stuff that's happening around her.
Raze is a strange character, and although he works for the gaming company, there are questions concerning his motives at times, which leaves you questioning if he is a good guy or bad guy.
Blake is just creepy. I have no idea what to make of this child, and the same goes for the love interest Troy. He's nice to Aislen but there's just something not right about him.
This book is full of twists and turns, the plot is complex, and the characters are not easily labelled as `good' and `bad'. If I had to pick a negative (other than the initial confusion which is probably just me), then it would be that the story ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, and the sequel isn't out until summer 2013! Please Shannan Sinclair I need to know what happens!
Overall, if you like Sci-fi you'll probably like this, you will need to have your brain in gear to keep up with the plot though!
8 out of 10.