Monday 31 May 2021

Review on Boy in a White Room


When fifteen year old Manuel wakes up in an empty white room, he has no idea where he is, who he is, or how he got there. He remembers nothing about his past life and has no idea how to escape. Manuel soon discovers he has internet access, and it doesn’t take him long to figure out the truth, or at least what the people who put him here want him to believe is the truth. After being told one lie after another, Manuel eventually comes close to learning who he really is, and what he must do to escape both the white room and those trying to use him.

I got sent this book from Chicken House a little while ago, and as I was looking for an interesting and quick read I thought I’d pick it up! The book follows Manuel, a boy who wakes up in a white room with his memories wiped. Manuel soon discovers that he is actually trapped in a simulation, as his body had been severely damaged after an attempted murder which resulted in the death of his mother. A man who claims to be Manuel’s father informs him that his body will never recover, and he has built a simulation of Middle Earth for Manuel to live in, but Manuel is determined to stay in reality. 

I thought the Middle Earth simulation was interesting and although I realise copyright issues probably meant only a tiny portion of the book was able to be set there, I was interested in how vast it was, as we end up seeing only The Shire and Rivendell. As a huge fan of Lord of the Rings, I would actually love to escape reality and live in this world, so I honestly don’t think I’d have the willpower to remain in the real world like Manuel did! This part of the book reminded me of Sword Art Online, as Manuel being trapped inside a simulated world reminded me of the SAO kids being trapped inside a video game with no way to escape. I loved all the different locations inside the simulation and how they were so advanced that Manuel had no way to tell if it was a simulation or the real world.

 Manuel discovers eyestream, a social media platform where users stream their daily lives. While browsing Manuel notices a girl who he thinks he recognises, which sends him on a whole journey of finding out the truth. I actually loved eyestream, as although it’s meant to come across as futuristic, it’s actually quite similar to TikTok streamers. It’s pretty easy to come across these types of streams on TikTok, as I’ve come across all sorts of things from truck drivers driving through the night to people filming as they walk around Disneyworld. As the book was first published in 2017 before TikTok existed, I found it interesting that this kind of thing had become normal just a few years later.

 I loved how we were kept guessing about what was real and what was a lie. The truth starts to slowly unravel when Manuel gets the opportunity to talk to Julia, the girl who he recognised from eyestream. I love that we slowly start to see that something isn’t right, and that Manuel’s “dad” is actually lying to him. We learn everything as Manuel learns it, and are kept guessing as to what the truth actually is. I really wasn’t expecting the plot twist at the end of the book at all, and was taken completely by surprise! It also made me wonder if this was the real truth, as there were so many layers of deception it was impossible to trust anything by the end!

 This was an exciting and action-packed book that had me guessing until the very end! I’ve been taking quite a long time to get through books lately, but I flew through this one in just two days. I’m hoping the sequel will eventually be translated and published in English, as I would love to know what happens to Manuel next. I recommend this book to all lovers of Sci-Fi and thrillers!

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