Guys with weird names, girls with creepy tattoos and a splintered universe form the core of this novel that’s so meta it loses itself to its own cleverness.
Idea Deity (yes, that’s his real name) spends most of his life inventing the online world of Youforia, a rock-’n’-roll band that’s taken the Internet by storm, even though they don’t exist. He suffers from Deity Syndrome, a fear that he might exist only in the pages of a novel. Somewhere else lives Reacher Mirage, the lead singer of Youforia, a band that’s taken the Internet by storm, even though they’ve never recorded a song or an album. Neither knows the other exists. Both have girlfriends with strangely similar names and tattoos, and both are reading a hokey horror/fantasy novel called Fireskull’s Revenant with two warring characters who might hold a clue to their existence. Bizarre? Yes. Complex? Yes. Hard to follow? Absolutely. Jesschonek’s puzzling, if ambitious debut mashes too many characters, too many plots and too many oddities together, making it more of a hot mess than a cohesive narrative. Just when readers think they’ve wrapped their brains around what’s going on, he throws another curve ball. The back stories to Idea’s and Reacher’s lives aren’t revealed until the end, and by then readers might have already given up.
Will the band get back together, or will the world end? Who cares? (Science fiction. 14 & up)