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?
This blurb came from Carina Press.
I never know quite what I am going to get with a Kim Knox title, and I mean this in a good way. I will look at the title, read the blurb and how I think Ms Knox is going to take me there is never how it really goes which I love. If a book is too predictable for me along the journey then I find myself losing interest. I have never lost interest in an of Ms Knox’s books so when I saw that she had a new release coming out from Carina Press I had to request it for review. Once again Ms Knox took me on an exciting journey.
The world that Vyn lives in is controlled by hungry mega-conglomerates that ruled the planet. Britain in this particular world is ruled for the Corporation, which has a very exclusive complex virtual system where your access to different areas is directly related to how important you are to the Corporation. Of course in those different areas there are different “amusements” available all of which contribute to how much the Corporation controls you. If you are part of the Corporation you are one of the haves, the elite. You live in secluded expansive mansions with bodyguards and everything that money can buy. As one of the elite you also have to be free of physical defects to include scarring from any physical accident because you have money to buy all the skill a doctor has. The Corporation controls everything to include randomly grabbing and replacing people with replacements that look like/sound like the original but aren’t. If you happen to visibly notice or mention the switch you put yourself at risk for being replaced. No one knows what happens to the original but they are never seen again.
Obviously not everyone can be part of the Corporation. S-district is one of the places that the non-elite live. It is pretty bad but could be worse. Vyn used to be part of the elite but after an encounter with some sadistic upper level members of the Corporation she was left with a network of silver scars all over her body. Despite her family’s money the doctors were unable to remove them so she has become an outcast. Living in S-district Vyn tries to stay out of sight while making a living providing cosmetic enhancements otherwise known as glamour to people’s mental avatars. Part of the Corporations rules about playing in their virtual world is that they have to appear as themselves with only the addition of legal glamour. Legal glamour is tagged so anyone who looks can see that they have altered their physical appearance. Vyn develops and refines illegal glamour while working on the holy grail of virtual programmers. She is trying to perfect what is known as simulacrum which would allow a person to seamlessly appear as someone else to the virtual mind of the Corporation. Anyone who could achieve that could set their conditions for the rest of their life.
Vyn is testing her attempt at a simulacrum when she first encounters Paul Cross. The two of them both had reasons not to trust each other and while Paul knows more about Vyn then she thinks neither of them is prepared to face what the Corporation has in store for them. As I mentioned earlier how Ms Knox never takes the journey I am expecting with her work. She threw several twists into this one some of which made me glad I don’t live in a fully wired world. One of the things I enjoyed is how Paul and Vyn traded being the person who had to take charge to ensure that they were able to escape the grip of the Corporation. Overall the world-building, the twists, and how Vyn grew were what carried this book for me.
I give Synthetic Dreams a B
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