Wednesday, September 16, 2015

All Fall Down

Review: Ashes of Foreverland by Tony Bertauski

The finale of Bertauski's Foreverland trilogy ties together all the loose ends from the previous two books. If you haven't read The Annihilation of Foreverland (which I reviewed in Islands Are for Experiments), or Foreverland Is Dead (reviewed in Not Dead Which Will Not Die), this review will contain spoilers.


Annihilation was about boys on paradise-island shutting down the lure of Foreverland to avoid being severed from their bodies. Dead had girls escaping from their cold concentration camp to evade the same fate.

Now in Ashes of Foreverland, those who got out of their prisons are beginning to wonder if Foreverland is still waiting for them somewhere. A journalist, Allesandra, has started to investigate the crimes of the cabal that organised Foreverland, and part of her story is an interview with Tyler Ballard, in prison for life for his original Foreverland experiments, the ones that eventually killed his son and hospitalized his wife. What Alessandra discovers brings her entire world into question:

  • If Ballard is in prison, why does everyone around him—including his guards and the wardendo his bidding?
  • Why has his comatose wife Patricia been moved into the same building where there are ongoing Ballard-style dream experiments using apes and other animals?
  • What draws Alessandra so strongly to this building, to the dream-state lab?
  • Who are the Foreverland escapees, Danny and Cyn, and what are they to Alessandra?
  • Who is the mysterious doctor-director of the dream-state lab?

As Ballard works to create a world-wide Foreverland, Alessandra fights to find a path through an increasingly confusing world that may not be as real as anyone—Ballard, Danny, Cyn, or Alessandra herself—thinks.

Together, the three novels of this trilogy present a powerful statement about reality and the lure of dreams. The Foreverland Boxed set was my first encounter with Bertauski, and I will definitely be looking for more of his work.