I remember them all, you do not remember. Jeff Winston was on the phone with his wife when he died. I was only nine or ten when I picked up Replay for the first time. In the decades since, I’ve read it over and over again in the hopes of becoming a better writer. It has taught me how to be direct with my language, how to be honest with the motivations and desires of my characters, and most importantly, it showed me (and continues to show me) that stories can be more than just entertainment; they can make your reader feel something. Prior to reading my first big boy book, I was content to devour anything written by Judy Blume, Louis Sachar, and Bruce Coville. If there was a finer book than My Teacher Fried My Brains, I hadn’t read it. I had always been aware of my parents’ bookshelf, but the titles had always seemed so imposing. Shogun, The Satanic Verses, IT. Okay, IT is not that imposing, but still. These books were dense and full of big words I didn’t understand. Replay, though, seemed instantly accessible. I turned to the first page and there it was. Jeff Winston was on the phone with his wife when he died. It might have been the best and worst of times, and the clocks might have been striking thirteen, but I consider Replay’s opening line to be one of the best in literature. There is so much contained in this one little sentence, and it is as tragic as it is mundane. We join the story just as the main character dies. At ten years old, I had yet to read a book where anyone dies, let alone at the very beginning of the story. Replay is the story of a middle-aged guy who dies and wakes up as his 18 year old self with all of his knowledge still intact. He has to relive his life knowing what will happen, not just to himself, but to the world. He tries to avoid the bad moments and recapture the good, but as he finds out, the future isn’t set. Just by having knowledge of it, of thinking he knows how it will go, he changes his replay in ways he couldn’t have imagined. He lives another life, only to die again of another heart attack. Wash, rinse, and replay. Jeff Winston was on the phone with his wife when he died. Whenever I tell someone about Replay, I usually just parrot the synopsis and hope they find it interesting enough to purchase the book. However, to really tell you why this book is my favorite, we have to go beyond the sex, drugs, love, and loss of Jeff’s various replays. You see, on a superficial level, a man counting cards in Vegas or betting on the Preakness is just as entertaining as Peter trying to mail his little brother. There are a lot of books, and a lot of sci-fi, that are just pure entertainment. Just…
Lovely Novel by an Author that Shows Great Potential I was lucky enough to have been given a free copy of this book through Goodreads: First Reads, and did not purchase this novel. First off, I will say that I did enjoy this book quite a bit. It was pretty original, and Daniel Verastiqui did a lovely job of creating an intriguing, futuristic setting for the story. The characters were realistic and easy to relate to, which definitely made me wish to read more about them, even after I finished the book. Beautifully written, the story hooked me from the first page and kept me interested until the very end. I’ve read my fair share of sci-fi futuristic novels, though not many of them have pleased me as much as this one did. Daniel Verastiqui certainly has a knack for writing for this genre, and in my opinion, has some much-needed creativity that many other authors lack. For this kind of book to work, and be enjoyable, the author has to both be imaginative and able to bring their thoughts to the pages. Luckily, this author can do both of these things quite well. But, despite the book’s greatness, it also had a few things that require improvement. One of those things is language. The author curses many times over the course of this novel, despite the fact that he really doesn’t have to. This gives some of the writing an immature feel, and was slightly annoying to have to read. Also, Daniel Verastiqui used the words “reconciled” and “veneer” WAY too many times during the course of the book. I understood that they were part of the world he created, but I felt as though he could have swapped them out a few times to seem less redundant. Grammar and spelling was great, and I found only a typo or two in the entire book. The formatting was good, and the author used nice sentence structures that kept the story flowing smoothly. The vocabulary used was irritatingly advanced at times, however, for the most part, it was good. There was little confusion or jumps in the storyline, and the ending was crafted beautifully, which makes me hope that there will be sequel coming soon. Overall, I read the book in record time, and was quite pleased with it. I will certainly be looking into reading more of the author’s books, and will be giving this to a few of my friends for them to read. I would recommend this novel to any fan of futuristic novels or stories involving advanced technology and its consequences. Any fan of Sci-fi and action would probably enjoy this book as much as I have. Veneer is certainly worth reading, and I am happy the author gave me the opportunity to read and review it.
Don’t Trust a Veneer. I’m not actually sure if I like this book or not… it’s not all happy endings and good triumphs. Actually, it’s…. rather violent and painful and downright crappy at times. That being said, it was incredibly *readable*. I finished it in one sitting. If you’re looking for a sweet, empowering tale, move on. But, if you’re looking for gritty and under the surface, this is the book for you.