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Posted August 18, 2013
DISCLAIMER: I received a free copy of this book from the author (via the Shut Up & Read / Read It & Reap group) in exchange for an honest review.
Have you ever had a dream so good you didn't want to wake up? Well, what if the reverse was true? What if your dream world was actually the real world, and your "real life" was just a dream place that you escaped to? Would your friends and family be the same in the reality, and if not, how would you deal with that? And what happens when you become addicted to your dream world? That is the premise of this book.
In the beginning, I had a hard time warming up to this book, partially because the main character (Wes) was a little immature and whiny from the get-go. However, as the story progressed, it became more interesting.
Wes and Emily are Creatives in The Existence -- they have the ability to build and design new worlds of their own -- places that can be of great beauty, places of peace and solitude, as well as places that are both social and functional such as Millennium Park and Sea Clearly (a restaurant and bar, where many Creatives get together).
However, there are also dark places where bad things can occur, and life in The Existence is not without risk -- you can get sucked into a black hole and you will cease to exist. In addition, there are people who are hell-bent on causing mayhem (The Destroyers).
This story is mostly about Wes and Emily and how the characters begin to discover the connections between both their realities and their dream worlds, as well as why they are so drawn and bound to one another. Both characters are flawed in their realities and their dream worlds, but they both discover how to learn and grow, and how opening up to one another impacts all of their worlds.
Other interesting characters include Wes's fun-loving friend Andy, the mysterious Zephaniah (The Interpreter), as well as the Destroyer, Brune ("don't call me Bill").
There were a few minor editing errors, but otherwise this was a pretty good read. I hope the next book in this series explores some of breadcrumbs that were scattered throughout the book, as well as the reasons behind the anger and rebellion of The Destroyers.
Posted August 9, 2013
Something is off-kilter in Wes Teague's world.
Wes feels like life has an unreal or dream-like quality whereas his dreams are so much clearer (even with their acid-trip chaos). As the truth unfolds, he discovers that his dream world is actually real and what he's thought of as reality is an extremely addictive "construct" of his artist’s imagination. Friends in the real world or "The Existence" people Wes's dream world or "Logiverse" (LV, for short) in both similar and widely divergent roles. His best friend, Andy, is his best friend in his dream world of Chicago. However, the girl he only longs for from the sidelines in “The Existence” is his long-time girlfriend in the LV. Wes is an artist in the LV; a CREATIVE (or world builder) in “The Existence.” These created worlds - private imaginary spaces - are open to anyone that can find them (all you have to know is the name of the world). Wes and Andy (who has an especially lively world - Andy's Awesome Zone!), travel between locations in “The Existence” by means of portals and dodge black holes that suck people into non-existence along the way. Other inhabitants have their ways and means of travel. Desired girlfriend, Emily, travels in a puff of green smoke.
Becca Campbell has created an amazing multi-faceted world herself, and you don’t have to exude green smoke to get there. With interesting characters, mystery, and most definitely some romance, I can honestly recommend Gateway to Reality to other readers. On another note, this book reminded me of the 1970s fantasy series by Roger Zelazny - "Amber Chronicles." The last of those novels was published in the early 90s (I believe) so I was delighted with the elements that made me think about those great stories. Other fans of that series may also enjoy this updated, contemporary tale.
Posted August 2, 2013
I was provided a copy of this book through Goodreads’ READ IT AND REAP program in exchange for my fair and honest review. I thank the author for this opportunity.
I really struggled with how to “rate” this read. In the end, I decided on 3-1/2 stars.
At the outset, I note that there were some (though not all that many) editing or grammatical errors and so, they were not accounted for in this review.
As to the negative aspects of the story, there were a few. First, I found Wes annoying. He whined and complained about how he might be fired for being late to work (“Who does he think he is?” Wes wonders of his boss). Then, Wes whines some more (“I need my space”), wanting to put distance between himself and Emily (his love interest), only to whine and complain even more (!) when he could not be near Emily in the “other” world. Second, I thought it odd that Wes was confused between the world where he was “awake” (the Virtual Logicity,” a world of logic, rules and order which, the reader learns, people crave) and the world of his dreams (otherwise known as the “Existence,” where chaos reigns). Even so, he accepted without question, debate or discussion, that the “dream” world was the “real” world. Also, the connection between Wes and Emily seemed real enough, I guess, but Wes’s quick turnaround to make that possible did not seem genuine. Finally, it seemed odd that when Wes went to visit his family in the Virtual Logicity (after not having seen them for some time), everyone seemed to have something better to do—sister Wendy had somewhere she needed to be, Dad was too busy to rush to see his son and Mom ran off—to play Bunco. . . .
Now, for the good points. Really, there is only one I will note—because it is so worthy of note and because it is so significant. That is, the author’s imagination and how she used it successfully to create a full alternate world. In Wes’s dream world—as in the dream world for many of us (I would venture to guess)—the rules of physics and so forth do not apply. So, for example, the buildings “swayed and danced as lithely as kelp at the bottom of the sea, pushed and pulled by some invisible current.” It is a world wherein a sculpture of a shuttlecock in a park is picked up and played with by giants; there is no death—you either exist or you do not; people create worlds out of their own imagination—worlds like Aquarius—where a person might swim with ocean life and without the need to breathe; a place where people eat for the joy of it and not for the need of it. But the one existence that I most appreciated was one that Emily had created. What made it so special was the clouds in the sky. Their shapes “morphed and changed slowly. Instead of . . . random puffing and shrinking forms, their movements were more intentional, as if by design. A cat. An elephant,” and eventually, a cat riding on an elephant’s back. Then there was in the clouds, a man in a top hat who bowed, "his coattails fluttering," while “his counterpart, a woman in a billowing dress," curtsied. They joined hands and danced. Imagine finding shapes in the clouds like that! The idea was very creative! I also enjoyed Wes skydiving with his Dad’s counterpart in the Existence—without parachutes. Because the ground wasn’t “fixed,” it just kept moving away as the skydivers drew closer. Thus, the skydivers could just keep falling forever. When Wes suggested that there really had been no need for the designer of the place to have put in a ground, he was informed that if the ground was not below somewhere, they would not be falling—they’d simply be flying! Well done!
Wes learns that, because people sometimes crave the known and certain, they are drawn to the Virtual Logicity to relax—almost like one might be drawn to a glass of wine in order to relax. So, visiting the place is like a vacation, but staying there is like an addiction. Truly, the “waking” and “dream” worlds were completely turned around, yet the author made it all work.
Posted July 30, 2013
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.
Posted July 30, 2013
The author kindly provided a free copy in return for an honest review.
This book's interesting premise is that our everyday reality is not as real as it seems: a truth that the book's hero, Wes, stumbles upon in the very first page. There was potential here for a truly great book but this is not it. This is not a "Matrix" rip-off or in any way lacking in originality but, as a novel, it just didn't work for me.
The world created by the author was designed, deliberately, to make no sense. But the problem with it is that it makes no sense. People pop pointlessly into and out of existence, their lives seem to have no meaning, even to themselves, and their anarchic society has no purpose. Why does it exist? Who keeps it from falling apart? The creatives create and the destroyers destroy and that's about it. Whenever these questions look like they might bubble to the surface, the characters' response seems to be: "interesting question, let's party." The whole universe felt like a college frat house frozen forever at 2 a.m. on a Sunday morning.
I had no sympathy for Wes, who has two character traits that just baked my noodle. First, he has not an ounce of curiosity or genuine introspection. On making a discovery that should have led him to question his very sanity, he just shrugs his shoulders and rolls with it. "Everything I've learned in my 22 years of life is completely wrong. Let's party." Second, I guess this is meant to be a love story as it chronicles Wes's pursuit of Emily, the love of his life. But, to me at least, Wes is just a stalker. He has no respect for Emily's wishes, he won't take no for an answer, he uses her friends to spy on her, he hacks her personal information and turns up again and again where he's not wanted. If I'd been the object of his affection I'd have been calling the equivalent of 911 and looking for a court order. Also, without giving the game away, the more we know about Wes and Emily, the more icky the idea of their having a relationship becomes. It's just not right!
Lastly, to the extent Wes's situation is meant to be a mystery, there are no clues for the reader to either pick up on or look back at in admiration for the author's cleverness. We are just told what the answer is towards the end of the book by a character who may or may not be credible.
I really feel bad about writing this review and, to be honest, I'd rather have written no review at all. It's a wonderful thing to create something out of your own head for other people to read - and a lot of work. I get no pleasure from raining on the author's parade. That said, my honest opinion is that this is an imaginative idea that needed far more work before it was allowed to see the light of day.
Posted June 10, 2013
Gateway to Reality by Becca J. Campbell has an incredible premise, vibrant world building, and a mysterious undercurrent that drives the plot forward. Though I never really connected with the main character, and although some transitions would have benefited from more detail, I enjoyed exploring the underlying themes of creativity and art bred from the wonderful concept of Becca J. Campbell's world.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 1, 2013
Beautiful weave of fantasy and reality. Wow! She's done it again. Gateway to Reality is a fantastic novel that completely takes you into its arms. Blending bits and pieces of fantasy, science fiction, and a kind of beauty all its own, Wes's revelations and even your own will take you for an intriguing ride along desires, needs, and decisions. Her worlds are filled with freedom for both the characters and readers - only the rules have shifted, dragging the carpet out from under you in an exciting way. I highly recommend this to anyone who likes...well, anything!
I was provided an advanced reader's copy for an honest review.
Posted April 29, 2013
Solid and well presented, the concept is great and the world building good. It felt like Wes just rolled with his discovery of the world too easily and switched gears far quicker than I had thought he would.
I will however keep following the series to see what the author comes up with next...
Posted April 15, 2013
Are our dreams real or are our lives a dream?
That’s what Wes Teague is about to discover.
He’s a struggling artist waiting for his big break.
Then he wakes up one day and everything appears out of focus, like peering through a cloudy lens.
Everything familiar feels out of sync and his life feels ,just, wrong.
He’s about to learn his current life is a dream, and the bizarre dreams he’s been having are real life.
In the world of his dreams, he’s lost his love, Emily. In real life, she doesn’t even know him.
Whew, what a step out of reality.
I felt like Wes. It was overwhelming to contemplate the ‘real’ world. Everything was chaotic and seemed without purpose.
Why would he choose this world? Maybe because he can have a fresh start with the new Emily, and his job is to create worlds. What better task than to imagine other worlds and build them?
But he still yearns for Emily. The Emily he loved and lost in his dreams.
Does he have a choice of which world to live in and which one should he choose?
Gateway to Reality is like peering through a kaleidoscope, dazzling you with its possibilities.
Rebecca gives you a love story and a search for one’s self, with a science fiction flavor. I can honestly say, I’ve never read anything like it.
The author showed me a new reality in a way I could understand without becoming confused. It kind of reminded me of The Matrix as far as the dreaming, but it also made me think of an old Twilight Zone episode where a girl could create different realities.
I enjoyed feeling like I had stepped out of this world to read Gateway to Reality, but I’m glad I’m still here in mine.
It is just a story….. right?
Four Stars for an out of this world story.
Posted March 31, 2013
Book Info: Genre: Speculative Fiction
Reading Level: New Adult (references works written to appeal to ages 18 – 23)
Recommended for: People who enjoy a mind-trip of a story
Trigger Warnings: Violence and destruction, assault on a woman
My Thoughts: The idea behind this book really appeals to me. I frequently have very vivid dreams, dreams that feel more real to me than
reality. I recall one when I realized I was starting to wake up where I actually grabbed onto another person in the dream and begged them
to help me stay in the dream world! So, the idea of the sort of dream world that Wes experiences... it appealed to me.
This book is often really trippy. That fact that so much of it reminded me of some of the crazy-vivid dreams I've had in the past freaked me
out at times. But I really enjoyed it overall. I was a little bothered by the fact that there was no resolution to the Brune/Destructives issue,
but it didn't take away from the enjoyment of the story—and I remind myself that not everything in life is neatly resolved, either.
If you like a story that will seriously twist your mind, you will enjoy Gateway to Reality. There is really no easy way to explain it; you simply
have to experience it. So do so today!
Disclosure: I received an e-book ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review, and am taking part in the blog tour. All opinions
are my own.
Synopsis: Talented artists shouldn’t be waiting tables, scraping by, and living mediocre lives. But that’s exactly what art school graduate
Wes Teague is doing.
Then he wakes from a bizarre dream, haunted by the sense that his life isn't real. A harrowing truth presents itself—the real world lies in
his dreams, not when he's wide awake.
The dream world he enters each night is rich and vibrant. Chicago appears the same on the surface, but chaos runs rampant as gravity,
physics, and other laws of nature become fluid, changing unexpectedly. There, Wes's parents, brother, and sister are strangers. His
girlfriend Emily doesn’t recognize him. Wes longs to return, to unlearn the truth about his dual reality.
Wes would sacrifice almost anything to get back to blissful ignorance in a false world.
But now he has feelings for the real Emily.
Posted March 30, 2013
Becca has, yet again, created a world of intrigue and mystery while challenging your very concepts of reality. Now, to be fair, (and because I have to), I am required to tell you that I received a promotional copy of this book for review purposes.
This book was Becca's most confusing book yet. At least at first, it took me a while to figure out where the characters were and who they were. The story began to make better sense and really pick up on the action.
I particularly liked the small inside jokes that were throughout the story, movie references etc. After dragging a bit in the middle, it picked up again and finished strong, not quite finishing everything, setting up a sequel perfectly. It seems as though Becca wants to write epics, and each book is just a bite sized chunk to make you hungry for the next.
All in all, this book is great. It is well worth reading and well worth waiting for the next one in the series, if there is one. If you are trying to decide if you should buy this book, right now, I mean RIGHT now, just do it, you won't be sorry.
Posted March 25, 2013
Wes Teague is college age man whose dreams are making him feel disconnected. He doesn't feel like his world is right side up. He isn't sure why until he wakes up in a new place. It looks sort of like the city he lives in, yet it isn't. Looking for something familiar, Wes goes to the park and the sculpture there. It's called "The Bean". Something is different about it though. Trying to get through the crowd to see what's happening, Wes gets a look at this "new" world. He's not expecting any of the information he's about to get. But is this home or is home in his dreams? It might take some time to find out.
Fascinating plot and full rich characters you'll really enjoy this book. Becca Campbell pens another wonderful book that will keep you thinking for sometime. What if it happened to you? Is it possible? I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait for more from Becca Campbell.
I found no issues with this one.
I gave this one 5 cheers out of 5 because it blew my mind in a terrific way. ~Copy of book provided by author in exchange for a fair review~