What if you could fix the worst parts of yourself by confronting your worst fears?
Dr. Jennifer Webb has invented proprietary virtual reality technology that purports to heal psychological wounds by running clients through scenarios straight out of horror movies and nightmares. In a carefully controlled environment, with a medical cocktail running through their veins, sisters might develop a bond they’ve been missing their whole lives—while running from the bogeyman through a simulated forest. But…can real change come so easily?
Esther Hoffman doubts it. Esther has spent her entire journalism career debunking pseudoscience, after phony regression therapy ruined her father’s life. She’s determined to unearth the truth about Dr. Webb’s budding company. Dr. Webb’s willing to let her, of course, for reasons of her own. What better advertisement could she get than that of a convinced skeptic? But Esther’s not the only one curious about how this technology works. Enter real-world threats just as frightening as those created in the lab. Dr. Webb and Esther are at odds, but they may also be each other’s only hope of survival.
This might just be me, but I felt that the description of this book is slightly misleading. Misleading in that it indicates that the focus is going to be on the technology and its consequences, but I found that it mostly focuses on the horror movie like scenario that the main character gets thrown into.
I was really excited to read this book. The premise of VR being used as a therapeutic technique was intriguing to me, and what I really wanted and expected was a close look at what the possible ramifications of this type of therapy would be with an interspersed horror element to it. Sadly, the book doesn’t delve into the theoretical as much as I wanted it to, leading me to feel like I was reading a horror novella that could have been so much more.
That being said, I didn’t dislike this book. I still found it an enjoyable and slightly disturbing read that I believe readers who are fans of the genre will greatly enjoy. The action was fast-paced and the authors decision to include moments in which it seems Esther and Dr. Webb were becoming lucid during the scenario was clever, if sometimes clumsily executed.
There were many elements to this story that were really interesting, which kept me reading and let me enjoy the book. However, I couldn’t help but feel that there were multiple elements that I really wish had been fleshed out more. It sometimes felt that Grant was attempting to introduce all of these interesting angles in too short of a book. It touched on a lot, but never really examined any of them. I believe I would have enjoyed this book more had it been a longer novel, however, as a horror novella, it’s affective. The fact that I still enjoyed this book despite it not being what I was expecting it to be speaks to this.