title: Gateway to Reality
author: Becca J. Campbell
buy it: Amazon Goodreads B&N
rating: 4/5 [in the genre] or 7/10 [all books I’ve ever read].
recommended for: Fans of The Matrix, Neil Gaiman, brain-bending plot, mirror worlds, Alice in Wonderland, and more.
My Ratings Explained
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.
the basicsI was excited about this book because it was about Chicago, art, and the lines between reality and fantasy. What I got out of it is so much more. Campbell has created a detailed and thoroughly illogical world where people disappear suddenly, a thought can create another human, and nothing is as it seems, set right next to our own world. I won't spoil the surprise, but the connection between these two worlds was very clever and brought up a lot of interesting philosophical questions about the usefulness and the dangers of fantasy. Don't worry; it wasn't a thought exercise. This book also gives you an endearing hero, a very unusual romance, and an exciting plot that kept me going til the end.
plot . 4/5There were parts I felt were missing. Why does Wes stop worrying about Wendy, who seemed to have disappeared in one of the worlds? Why does Emily snap and let him in? I felt those things could have been addressed more. However, I was otherwise fascinated with the story and the descriptions of the other world, world-building, the weird gravity and swaying skyscrapers. The tension Wes has over which world he belongs to is a great inner conflict. This isn't good and evil; it's the struggle of the human soul. But there's also the possibility for evil--who messed with Wes' mind and memories? It's part mystery, part romance, part fantasy adventure. It starts a little slow but once you get into it, you're stuck.
concept . 5/5Very cool. The idea of living in one world when you dream and going to the other while awake isn't new, but the idea that you could choose which one to occupy is really clever and fascinating. What makes it even better is Wes' ambivalence over which world to stay in and over which world is real, his own.
characters . 4/5It was hard for all the characters to get equal weight. I didn't expect to become readerly besties with all of them, but there were some that seemed to come in at odd times when they hadn't been important for many chapters, or to disappear at odd times when they had. Wendy is very central in the beginning and Wes seems to forget about her. I still feel that I don't know much about her. I also feel that something was missing for me in Emily's character to understand why she finally opened up to Wes. Wes himself is delightful. He's kind of an idiot sometimes, but you enjoy him for it and feel sorry for him, because you know you'd be an idiot in his shoes. He was fun to read about, although his lovesickness did really annoy me sometimes.
style . 4/5Campbell's style is clean and clear-cut, but she doesn't skimp on the description. That's important in a novel where many of the pieces are going to be unfamiliar to your readers. I did find myself skimming a few descriptions of Chicago things that I already recognized, but I was hooked by her descriptions of worlds in the other-world. They were so Dr. Seuss-y weird and eerie and chaotic and beautiful, and Campbell described them so perfectly that I felt lost in the atmosphere. I think outside of these descriptions is where the style was more 'meh' for me.
mechanics . 4/5It was well polished, although it could have used some pruning of extra phrases.
take home messageA unique urban fantasy that takes the idea of reality and turns it on its head.
Note: I received this copy in exchange for a review. The price of the book and its origin in no way affected my stated opinions.
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Scavenger Hunt Blog Tour Schedule
April 1st Paranormal and Urban Fantasy Reviews
April 2nd The Peasants Revolt
April 3rd Catharsis of the Bogue
April 4th The Pen and Whisk
April 5th Write for Life
April 6th S.M. Boyce
April 8th Paranormal Lounge
April 9th Lisa Is a Bookworm
April 10th Jade Kerrion
April 11th Paper Book Princess
April 12th Now is Gone
April 13th Worlds Away Book Blog
April 15th FU Only Knew
April 16th Brian Clopper
April 17th Sarcasm and Lemons
April 18th Brandon R. Luffman
Find me at Inspiration for Creation: http://www.
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Wes visits many worlds in the Existence. Here’s your challenge in this scavenger hunt:
Collect the names of the fifteen worlds in Gateway to Reality (one will be revealed each day).
Following the schedule above, collect a world name at each stop, and when you have them all, plug that list of 15 worlds into the giveaway below to win a BONUS TEN ENTRIES.
HERE’S YOUR FOURTEENTH WORLD: Marina City Condo Finish with your hunt tomorrow at Brandon R. Luffman’s site. Good luck!