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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
The Terminal Code by J.W. Galliger is a dystopian sci-fi thriller. It's the year 2050, and SCAPE, a virtual reality program, has taken over people's lives as everyone stays online. Dashiell Kincaid, a security consultant, is summoned to analyze the scene of a peculiar murder in New York City. As he delves deep into the investigation, Kincaid finds himself embroiled in a conspiracy with far larger implications. After trying to solve another murder mystery, he meets Alex Krayos, a game developer, who opens Kincaid's eyes to the actual reality of the situation. As the lines between reality and the virtual world blur, Kincaid comes to realize his own role in the bigger picture. Alongside his friends, he must now take on the establishment itself to retake SCAPE for the people.
Ready Player One meets Blade Runner. That's the vibe you get while reading J.W. Galliger's The Terminal Code. Set in a futuristic dystopia, Galliger showcases a believable outcome of the continuous growth of virtual reality technology and the rise of authoritarian regimes across the world. The plot is well-paced and filled with twists and turns. Particularly in the final third of the book, the shocking reveals make you turn the pages with eager anticipation of what's to come. I found the characters fleshed out and thoroughly compelling to read. You find yourself already rooting for Kincaid, but once the layers are peeled off, you're absolutely hooked. The ending felt a bit bittersweet yet satisfying nonetheless. I highly recommend The Terminal Code to anyone who loves dystopian settings.