September 22, 2023
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Book Reviews Fantasy SCI-FI

Aitre by R.J. French: A fun tale and a great warning

Author: R.J. French

Genre: Fantasy – Science Fiction – Adventure

Year Published: 2022

Nerdection Rating:

“Nerdection Must Read”

Spoiler-free Plot

The story is set many years in the future where companies have created virtual realities that are just as real as our own world. These realities can be very different from one another and anyone can choose what they want to be, the body that they want to have, and many other elements that constitute this world.

In comes protagonist Arthur, who is suffering from a lot of different things, such as arthritis and similar. He decides to embark on a virtual reality that is set in medieval times, with a much better body, and tries to give himself a new chance at life. However, as the story progresses, a new challenge presents itself and is one that people in both worlds are going to have to deal with.

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My take on Aitre

Considering the current state of the world regarding the use of artificial intelligence and its role in many different industries, there is no denying that this book is touching on something very current. When a lot of authors do that, it is often used as a way to criticize said situation or to implement their perspective in a way that feels ham-fisted or annoying, which often leads to the story feeling a lot less interesting.

However, the author of Aitre, R.J. French, does this very differently: he offers several points of view. When doing research for this review, I found out that the author had traveled extensively across the world throughout his life, which is clearly shown in this book as it offers a more varied and richer perspective on the constant development of technology.

French creates a very clear situation: virtual reality is stronger than ever before and people can basically plug in to escape their real lives. In many ways, this could be compared to The Matrix franchise, but this author does a very smart move and allows us, the readers, to sympathize with those that decide to immerse themselves in virtual reality.

This is the context in which French introduces Arthur. We clearly see that he is a man past his prime, with a lot of struggles, and someone with whom life hasn’t been very kind with. It’s easy to understand his suffering and to empathize with him, which is why his decision to join virtual reality comes off as logical and even positive, to some degree.

After all, if a lot of people that are in pain or massive decline could be given the chance to live life once again at their peak, then this is something that a lot of folks would agree to. It sure doesn’t fall into the most honorable of situations but a lot of people just want to stop suffering and to live in peace, which is something that Aitre as a story shows in a very compelling manner.

Then, the story shows a fantasy setting, which allows the readers to see how French can combine multiple genres into one story. The world-building is interesting, the pacing in this part flows very well, and Arthur’s journey is very enjoyable, especially during the third act when he has to face a lot of different circumstances.

In that regard, without giving away too many spoilers, the third act of the story is the best part of the book. It flows extremely well, it fits with the themes of the book, and it also shows that a lot of people have to face their own realities (pun intended), whether they like it or not. It is a cautionary tale of the best kind and is done in a way that is compelling and entertaining.

All in all, Aitre was a very good read and a very interesting concept. Author R.J. French took a very conventional topic and turned it into something that deserves a lot of attention.

About The Author Of Aitre

Aging, work/life relationships, and working with people from different cultural backgrounds are subjects that have always fascinated people. People experience life-changing events that disorientate, destabilize, and rip up lives.
My experiences include early life in Africa, boarding school from 7, education in the UK, 8 years in the military, and 36 years in the oil industry. We have lost a child aged 7 and now are retired with a project in France. Careers were rewarding, but brutal, with travel all over the world, working in remote areas with difficult environments.
I have been married for 46 years and we have two sons,
Life is invigorating, challenging, and rich in opportunity and variety, but also potentially subject to blistering pain. One is easily trapped. I hope that by writing you can open up another view or experience of this life, and allow people to experience another life for a short while.

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