*****Opening one’s eyes and mind —– Review by Rox Burkey
Olga Tymofiyeva creates a realistic point of view of Nathan’s coming-of-age journey. The young man’s grandmother, a neuroscientist, creates a virtual reality experience, Just City, to highlight the origins of critical thinking. Elements of John Rawl’s novel, Veil of Ignorance, is used to understand the impact society has on the outcome of an individual’s life. Superb character development helped deliver a relatable story. Told in the first person, one feels Nathan’s turmoil, uncertainty, and logical growth. Life experiences and their impact on an individual can be monumental.
Nathan plunges into the four-week virtual reality game, hoping to win the purse to fund his startup opportunity with his college friends. Along this journey, he questions many things he’s taken for granted as a young adult, including his best friend, Jack. The actions of his friends result in his exploring possibilities outside his established comfort zone. His initial worldview lacks compassion for others, yet he recalls his mother’s lessons in his early life. Broadening his horizons opens his eyes to a different yet balanced perspective.
Though this is a psychological thriller, it has enough points that make one think of the possibilities. The story is well-written, and the audiobook helps immerse the listener inside Nathan’s mind, living the same experiences. The game is potentially a mind-blowing event, resulting in different outcomes for everyone.
Douglas Dorda does a fantastic rendition of this original story. There were no problems or issues with the quality of the sound. Fans of psychological thrillers on the foundation for a coming-of-age journey will enjoy the story and want the game. Whether you read or listen, Just City will make you think and then read or listen again. Outstanding.
Olga Tymofiyeva, PhD, was born in 1981 in Kyiv, Ukraine. After having lived in Ukraine, Germany, and the US, she now lives in San Francisco and works as an Associate Professor of Neuroimaging at the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF). She holds her degrees in Physics (PhD), Electrical Engineering (MSc and BSc), and Psychology (BSc). The award-winning novella Just City is Olga’s first fiction book, which reflects her passion for science and critical thinking. Her goal with writing Just City is to raise $5,000 in royalties for her country of birth.
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