Book Review: UnChipped: Kaarina

Book Review

Kaarina; Unchipped Series #1

By: Taya Devere

Science Fiction, Dystopian

4 Stars

A civilization reliant on AR. Unchipped refugees forced outside its walls. Can a lone underdog save humanity from itself?

In the two years since the Great Affliction, the Happiness-Program has transformed a civilization on the brink of extinction into an organized, beautiful, and happy society. However, for the Unchipped–those whose chips can’t connect to the system–living a comfortable life remains out of reach.

Kaarina, one of the Unchipped, would give anything to live inside the walls of the city again. Haunted by her mother’s suicide and alone except for Bill, another Unchipped thousands of miles away whose thoughts are inexplicably linked to hers, Kaarina fights for survival, defending her beloved animals from the other savage Unchipped. But when her horse’s illness drives her into the city to find medicine, she becomes acquainted with a Chipped man who makes her question everything.

Now a new fix to the system promises her the chance to finally be normal… just as she begins to learn life in the perfectly augmented reality may not be all that she imagined.

This book reminded me of the classic Science Fiction that was one of my first great loves. I, Robot, Brave New World, Childhood’s End, and 1984 were a few that came to mind. Books that told fantastic stories with great societal questions. Books that used a straight-forward writing style, and characters almost naive in their interaction with their world.

Ms. Devere captures this well, telling a story less far-fetched than these other classics might have seemed in their time. I was also reminded of The Giver while reading. The tight setting that was different through the eyes of the main character than through the rest of the inhabitants. The questions of what that differing sense meant for the greater population. A bit of a slow start fades away with the adjustment to writing style, and especially when the plight of Kaarina becomes more severe than first explained.

I look forward to reading the rest in this serially published universe.

Happy Reading 🙂

Down Two Paths: Borderline Series Book 2

Book Review

Down Two Paths: Borderline Series Book 2

By Taya Devere

5 Stars

Literary fiction. Women’s Fiction.

A fabulous continuation of Dee’s story! Can’t wait for the next installment

As the two paths push Dee deeper into her survival journey, one path threatens suffocation, the other exhaustion. Which offers a chance of salvation?
In Reality One, Dee goes to California. Her new beginning pushes aside the past—and the trauma she escaped. Life here is filled with challenges, though: choices between right and wrong, dealing with thorny personalities, and trying to hold on to the laughter and love of Dee’s new family.
In Reality Two, life in her home country lulls her into a feeling of safety as she embarks upon the most important task of her lifetime—taking care of her baby. Her new, unconventional family of four is the center of Dee’s being, but despite their immeasurable love for her and her child, she still questions whether they would all be better off without her.

Taya Devere’s style sucks you in until you are the character. It’s why I love these books so much. The volume and intensity of feeling invoked are unique and beyond what most reading experience is like. If only a quarter of this passion is evoked in my readers, I would be proud! Well done, Ms. Devere!

The only thing negative I have to say is: Why did the end come so fast!

If you loved book 1, there is no reason not to dive right into book 2. Dee’s hopes and dreams and achievements and failures, on both sides of the border, are real and relatable and turn the human condition into something warm and great and magical, even in the face of overwhelming adversity. Sometimes, it’s all in how you look at. Others, it just sucks, but how will we face that? Both Dee’s teach us something about this, and ultimately, about ourselves.

Happy Reading 🙂

Between Two Doors: Borderline Series Book 1, By Taya DeVere

Between Two Doors: Borderline Series Book 1

By Taya DeVere

Women’s Fiction. Literary. Contemporary Fiction.

5 Stars.

Gripping, Heart-wrenching, and perfectly paced.

One door promises freedom, the other safety. Which one would you choose?
Depressed and abandoned after my father dies, I’m sent to a therapy center where I must decide between two doors.
Behind one door awaits life in my home country where I will continue to scramble through a tangle of mistakes and a poisonous relationship, but old and new friendships alike may be my salvation.
Escape lies behind the second door, where I can run away to an unknown country far away where demanding physical labor will push aside my inner demons. This door could be a fresh start.
The “Borderline” series tells two tales, of two parallel realities, based on one true story.

Taya DeVere understands “trust the reader.” She pulls us along with perfectly factored information without bogging us down in descriptive histories that would only stall the pace of the novel. I was forced to slow myself down to not flip pages too quickly and ruin the story. I just wanted to know what was going to happen!!

The heart-wrenching struggles of the MC are real, powerful and relatable even as I’ve never experienced what she was going through. Well done! The straightforward telling of events, without reason or excuse or fluffed meanderings of explanation make this experience perfect for the reader. I was in this story, and while I typically shy away from “real life” tellings (I’m a fantasy/sci-fi girl as I like my fiction fiction) I would recommend this book to everyone. I even ravaged the pages we were given to as a teaser for book two. Unnecessary, by the way- I’m already hooked!

Happy Reading 🙂