by Gennita Low, fantasy (2007)
MIRA, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-7783-2448-5
Okay, let's get this out of the way first: Virtually His ends with a cliffhanger and the story will continue in the next book, Virtually Hers, which will be out about a year or so after this book. Also, this is a very conceptual story about virtual reality. If you have zero interest in science-fiction or cyberpunk stories, you will most likely find this book a struggle to finish.
I must commend Gennita Low, however, for coming up with this story. She's taking a few risks here that may or may not pay off with her readers but I respect that.
Elena Rostova grew up in the streets of Russia but upon coming to America, she takes up the name of Helen Roston. She is an operative for GEM who signs up with the Covert-Subversive Command Center (COS Center in short) to become a super soldier in a program that combines an array of drugs and some virtual reality fun. Intrigue arises in the form of her mysterious yet seductive mentor, or monitor as he called here, "Hades". Virtually His sees Helen taking part in a few phases of tests to demonstrate that she is the best of the best and, who knows, maybe even become one of the nine COS Commandos.
If you are looking for romance, I suspect you won't be happy with Virtually His because the romance is barely developed. In fact, there is actually very little action in Virtually His because everything seems to take place at a slow pace, with the story containing mostly information and exposition. But because the story ends the way it is, it is hard for me to gauge at this point how effective all that information dumping on the author's part is.
However, I like Helen's personality although a part of me feels that Ms Low rushes through Helen's attraction to Hades too quickly. I find the concepts in this story interesting enough to keep turning the pages. At the same time I'm still not sure whether the author is aiming for a campy tongue-in-cheek tone or a more sober attitude in her writing because I detect traces of both elements in this story. Maybe Ms Low is aiming for both humor and seriousness in her story, but I feel that she doesn't quite succeed in balancing both because the humor can sometimes clash with the supposed gravity of a situation in the story and leave me feeling somewhat disoriented. And also, all that information dumping has me thinking that perhaps it will be better to include a glossary in future editions of this book. Personally, I would appreciate a quick reference to refresh my memory on what certain jargons mean at any point in the story because I can't even remember what GEM is, heh.
I initially wanted to hold this review until I've read Virtually Hers because that is the only way I can fairly gauge the effectiveness of the storyline. But hey, I think this is an interesting book all the same if you're into, say, the Shomi line so I may as well spread the word of the existence of this book. That's not to say that this book is perfect. However, it is interesting, which makes it pretty good enough for me.
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
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