Book Reviews, NetGalley Reviews, Reviews by Heather

{Science Fiction Review} Synthetic Dreams by Kim Knox


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Synthetic Dreams

By Kim Knox

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  • ISBN-13: 9781426893308
  • ASIN: B006IIX96U
  • Publisher: Carina Press
  • Publication Date: 2/27/2012
  • Review Source: NetGalley

Find it:   Goodreads   |  Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon
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Vynessa Somerton was just a girl when she learned about true evil. An encounter with the tyrannical Corporation scarred her body and exiled her to the crime-ridden S-District. Now an adult, Vyn creates glamours, worn by those who visit a virtual playground to live synthetic dreams. She’s tried to stay unnoticed by the Corporation, but her latest invention has brought their agents to her door.

Paul Cross works for the Corporation, but he’s been plotting their downfall since they took his brother and replaced him with an imposter. Paul has a plan to get his brother back, but he’s going to need Vyn and her invention to carry it out.

Vyn agrees to help Paul, but their alliance shatters the barriers she’s put up to protect herself, tempting her to give in to desire. Just as Vyn starts to trust Paul and believe he wants her, scars and all, the Corporation prepares for its final move. Can Vyn trust Paul completely, or has he been using her all along?




My Thoughts on Synthetic Dreams:


Synthetic Dreams was really a whole new genre for me. I’ve never really read science fiction type stories. In this book the author takes us to a futuristic England where residents basically lead a life in the cold world, and one within The Mind. Both worlds are ruled by the Corporation which instills rules, laws as well as unfair boundaries on its citizens.

The cold world would be much like life today, but with an extensive web of rules and regulations. There are even different classes of people, the lowest being called Skanks. They are forced to live in S-District where only the bare amenities are given. Think of a life without soap, hot water, or even coffee, and to have only the barest of comforts available. This is essentially a slum.

Vyn is considered to be a “Skank”, however, this is due to the fact that she was selling glamours. You see, inside The Mind, upgrades are available that can enhance the way one looks, but a lot of these are obtained illegally. When she is caught selling her glamours she is forced out of her upper class life, and made a “Skank”.

This of course isn’t the whole story, but just a general idea to how the story itself begins. While I don’t want to give too much away, I’ll admit I was a bit confused in the beginning. Footnotes would have helped tremendously, but I’m uncertain if they would be available in the e-book I was given to review. It’s a really awesome story, but that might hinder a few readers.

Back on point, Vyn is a very different type of Skank. She is highly dangerous (although she doesn’t quite know it yet) and highly sought after for her illegal glamours, but she has also developed the mythical Simulacrum which allows her to enter The Mind and portray anyone dead or alive. It also gives her access to tiers a Skank couldn’t reach, as well as the prison where an old friend is being held prisoner by the Corporation. A friend who was ripped from his life and replaced with a fake.

She quickly finds herself in danger when the security teams come after her. She of course thinks it’s because of the Simulacrum, but it’s because of something else, something she doesn’t even realize yet. Vyn is a key; her body is the Key to The Mind. Marked with scars since she was six years old; Vyn could never quite understand why the Corporation had disfigured her.

Paul, a main security officer within the Corporation as well as her jailed friend’s brother, comes to her rescue. She finds herself attracted to Paul, but can he see past her scars? Will he betray her trust? Does Paul unwrap the mystery of her scars? Will she escape unhindered? Does the mind claim her? You know the drill!

Overall I found this book enjoyable. The author gives explanations of the objects, words and such in the book. However, they were given in the beginning and I had to flip back a lot when I forgot what something was. In a print version this would be much easier, but I state it because e-books are popular. It’s most likely a matter of formatting, so I wouldn’t hold it against the author, nor my opinion of the book itself.

I really enjoyed the fast pace this story took and how it intertwined mystery, sci-fi and some very sexy romance. My recommendation is that this is an adult book, and therefore be read by those over the age of 18. There were also no mistakes found within the book, nor any part that didn’t have an excellent flow. If you enjoy sci-fi, action and romance that you’ll enjoy this story too!




My Rating

5 out of 5 Controllers

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Excerpt (from B & N):

Wearing another body itched.

Vyn pushed back her shoulders, the movement of her false skin a torment of light nails down her spine. It was a design flaw she needed to work on. Still, it wouldn’t stop her first trial use. She couldn’t help herself, not when it was so damn close to being perfect.

Simulacrum was the holy grail of the low-level skanks, of which she was now one, and others were close to solving its manufacture. It had driven her over the last few days. She had to be first. She had a reputation as a Fomorian to uphold.

The upper tier of the Mind—in the form of the Corporation’s most exclusive club—wrapped around her, feeling to her false skin as real as the cold-world beyond the server-generated walls. It was a short test. In and out. The club was the first virtual layer, a lobby area to the Halls. And no amount of confidence in her disguise would take her into their depravity. The insanely rich could keep those joys to themselves.

The air brushed warmth against her bared shoulders. The heavy scent of polish, the musk of perfumes, the wreath of smoke from cigars and cigarettes smelled as real as the industrial burn of the outside world. Soft notes of music threaded around the silk-walled room, mixing with the chatter of the club’s ultra-rich clientele.

Vyn sat back on her padded bar stool and picked up her drink. So far, so good. She’d entered via the upper-tier portal with no issues. When she was ready, she’d thank her friend Ossian for aiding her with that. Men had gaped as she broke free of the bright air of the arched entrance portal, but she was confident it was for the reason she wanted. Look at the gloss…don’t see the technology.

She stirred the olive in her martini and flicked a glance at the long mirror stretching across the bar. A pneumatic blonde in a clinging red dress stared back at her, her features sculpted, her lips red and pouting. Those who came to the Mind never came as themselves. Not really, even though the Corporation had banned the wearing of disguise. Hints of glamour tightened sagging middles, lifted jawlines, removed bags. The Corporation made money on selling the legal versions of glamour. She made money on the not so legal.

To the trained eye, the changes wrought in their flesh were obvious. Legal glamour was tagged. It was as if they wore labels. Discreet, but there. Even illegal glamour left a pattern against skin and clothes if you knew what you were looking for.

A smile lifted her lips. Simulacrum was different.

And the Corporation feared it. With her gear, they couldn’t fix her true identity within the Mind, which would break down their operation, undermining the faith every individual and company placed in the virtual reality they’d created.

To everyone in the club, she appeared real, untouched, untainted by gear. A true representation. The true woman. They’d believe she was as perfect in the cold-world. That thought made her sultry smile deepen. It couldn’t be any further from the truth.

Vyn curled a long blond strand around her finger, its silky feel fighting with the pricking of the ill-fitting simulacrum. She lifted her chin, watching her image move in the mirror. Pins jabbed her real flesh. Yes, it still needed work. She hadn’t found perfection just yet.

Movement in the mirror pulled her attention away from her reflection. A man drew back the metal stool next to her and waved at the loitering barman. His gaze slid over hers, brief and unseeing, and moved on. Security. She ignored the quick, panicked twist of her gut. He hadn’t made her. But—something about him was familiar.
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