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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Japan has earned a reputation as one of the most technologically innovative countries, which makes it an ideal setting for science fiction and fantasy stories like More Than Alive: Death of an Idol. Author Fernando Torres introduces us to a young woman named Alice Suzuki, who died from a car accident and became a transporter of souls. With her newfound abilities, she harvests the soul of a Japanese idol named Akari Kawabe before a demon named Solak can get to him. Akari was apparently playing a virtual reality game while under the influence of an enhancer drug, which Solak uses to invade people not only within the realm of VR games but in their sleep as well. As Solak grows more formidable, Alice must band with the Genki Girls, the group of idols where Akari once belonged, in order to defeat Solak and take corrective measures on the souls that he messed with.
This novel has a fascinating revelation at the end that science fiction lovers should not miss. More Than Alive is a glorious fusion of anime, manga, J-pop, and gaming culture that Japan has become famous for. Think of it as a manga in text form. Fernando Torres, however, attempts to vary his point of view narration as it shifts from one POV to another. Some readers might find this technique disorienting. However, the main storyline and its subplots are edgy enough to make you read throughout the entire book. It is like Tron on steroids with Yakuza and cute idols thrown in for more excitement. More Than Alive may well become a recommended read for anyone interested not only in science fiction but in popular culture as well.