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Veil by Aaron Overfield
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My full review at: http://www.onstarshipsanddragonwings.com/2013/01/29/veil-by-aaron-overfield/

Sci-fi dystopias, like Veil by Aaron Overfield, are awesome for the thought experiments they play out and the possible futures they warn us of. Overfield dreams of a technology that allows humans to experience what it is like to be one another, what is is like to think like another person for a few hours or a lifetime. But Overfield doesn’t stop at “isn’t that a cool idea?” oh no, that would be a waste. Instead, Overfield shows us the true implications of such a technology, both the beautiful, humanity-changing and the apocalyptic. Veil is less a story of characters and more a story of, well, Veil itself. I received the book Veil (not the technology alas ;-)) from Aaron Overfield in exchange for an honest review, thanks for the opportunity!

Title: Veil
Author: Aaron Overfield
Pages: 604 (paperback)
Genre-ish: Sci-fi dystopia (mature content)
Rating: ★★★☆☆- awesome idea, needed polish
Dr. Jin Tsay’s revelation entices the military with a potential to uncover and disarm any covert threats. The government that funded the engineer’s classified project orders Tsay’s death, so they can solely and secretly possess his alluring technological consummation: VEIL
Veil proves to be the purest, deepest form of espionage and anti-terrorism by endowing humankind with the ability to experience life through another person. Dr. Tsay’s technology offers submersion into another’s mind; Veil provides a direct perception of their immediate thoughts, emotions, memories, and the rush of their most intimate senses. If it ever escapes the military’s relentlessly selfish grip, Veil swears to permanently alter the psychosocial, sexual, political, economic, and religious landscapes of our lives. Veil promises to usher in our ultimately unifying evolution: the New Veil World.
Retribution for Dr. Jin Tsay’s assassination comes in the form of his widow, who races to deliver Veil unto the world and share it freely, before those who ordered her husband’s murder can exploit it. Wielding the inescapable force of Veil, Suren Tsay seeks to inflict justice upon all those responsible for her husband’s demise, culminating in an unforgiving, brutal, obsessive hunt for the elusive killer of the father of the New Veil World: the Great Jin Tsay.
Taking Veil beyond limits Jin himself could’ve imagined, the revered Widow Tsay vows to get her revenge at any cost. Suren Tsay soon realizes she too must inhabit the world created by her husband’s invention and her own bloodlust.
Suren must learn to live in the New Veil World.
She must also fight to liberate it. – Goodreads

Strengths:
When there is action and emotion in Veil, Overfield writes powerfully. All you have to do is read the first scene to get a taste for what Overfield can write when he wants to focus on the characters instead of the thought experiment.
That being said, the thought experiment is freaking awesome. Veil is an amazing technology and an amazing idea. The amount of research that Overfield did into neurology and the amount that he thought about what the repercussions would be in the near and far future are impressive. This is what science fiction should have in it always in my opinion.
Even though the focus seems to be less on the characters than I would have liked, since Veil is so long, you do come to know and understand the characters by the end, even though I didn’t like most of them to begin with. This, more than anything, shows good development and a lot of potential for Overfield in the future.
Weaknesses:
The biggest (haha) thing you’ll notice about Veil is that it is freaking long. 600 pages might not seem too bad for a book (I’ve read some very good 600 page books), but Veil shouldn’t have been 600 pages. It definitely should have been 1/3 shorter, maybe even 1/2, with another round of editing to cut out repetitious sentences and paragraphs. These paragraphs in particular made Veil just seem even longer than it was.
On a similar note, Overfield seemed much more interested in the Veil technology than with the characters or plot, so many paragraphs were info dumps for him to explain the intricacies of how Veil works or what is happening around the world as the technology spreads. This lack of action also makes the book proceed slowly in parts.
There is a lot of swearing, particular the f-bomb, as one of the characters is quite crass. I just got sick of reading that kind of language after a while, and I swear plenty.
The first part of Veil is told mostly from the crass character’s (Hunter’s) perspective, and this also includes a lot about his sex life and habits about guys that I just really didn’t need to know… ever.
Summary:
The explicit content in Veil bothered me, and is a warning that I must heavily stress to my readers since I know a lot of you won’t be comfortable with it. However, if you are looking for gritty sci-fi with a really impressive idea, then at least try out the first scenes of Veil perhaps. I also noticed on Goodreads that the three parts that the book I received have now been separated, and they are available to purchase separately on Amazon. This is a very big deal, since these are basically three separate books and I applaud Overfield for releasing them separately. I will say that if you go that route, the second book was much better than the first in my humble opinion. If I could rate the parts separately (which I now have on Goodreads), I would rate Part I 2 stars, Part II 3 stars and Part III 4 stars. So, I think that Overfield has a lot of potential with this series, but maybe cut back on the grit in the next book ;-). ( )
  anyaejo | Feb 15, 2013 |
The first half of this novel is breath-takingly good. Words can't describe how good it is. There was nothing I could change about it. The second half of the novel isn't as good, but I'll get onto that later. At times this novel is an emotional rollercoaster, at others funny, filled with mystery. This is everything a good novel should be, and being a debut novel makes that even more impressive.

In the first half of the novel we are introduced to the concept of Veil, and the dozen or so major characters. Each character has a very distinct personality, and as the perspective switches between them it doesn't take long to feel like you know the characters intimately. I was drawn immediately into the world, and loved the concept of Veil. The novel goes into a lot of detail about Veil, but at no point does the reader feel like they need a degree in science to understand or appreciate the ins and outs of it. The basic concept of Veil is fairly simple, although it took me a while to grasp all the intricate details, and restrictions of Veil. To put it into laymans terms the government is working on a project, dubbed Veil, which allows people to experience other peoples perspective after they have shadowed them. They see what they see, feel what they feel, and can hear their inner thoughts and most private things. Of course it isn't as simple as all of that, but I could write pages trying to explain it. You would be much better reading the novel.

So, in a novel where people can in effect have another person in side their head it is very important to have fully fleshed out characters, which is probably Aaron Overfields best achievement within this book. The first half of the novel deals with the characters relationship to each other, and there are some extremely emotional scenes within. There is one section which deals with Hunter and Brocks relationship which I found extremely moving, and do each time I think of it. It is masterfully done, and truly leaves me speechless. It is nearly impossible to describe it without reading it, and for that reason alone I recommend reading the book.

There are countless other examples of wonderful, emotional scenes, but none that has the impact that Brock shadowing hunter has.

Then we get onto the second half of the novel. It jumps forward 10 years. At first glance things have gotten a lot darker, The Tsay trustee's (as the main characters from the first half of the novel are now known) have grown apart, and they are dealing with the black market. It seems like certain good characters are doing bad things, and as each new mystery and revelation was revealed I found myself enjoying the many twists and turns. However, there was a certain magic which was now missing from the writing. I think what happened to Ken was horrible, and really felt myself feeling sorry for the character.

The fact that the characters had grown apart made the story less enjoyable for me, but seeing how the novel ended I understand why the author did that.

The final quarter of the novel jumps in time again, this time around 25 years or so later. By this point in the novel the main characters (who are still surviving) have suffered so much tragedy and have been so changed by it all it's pitiful. I could barely recognise the characters I loved from the beginning of the book, but the changes all fit perfectly with the story. This last part of the novel felt like it was setting up the rest of the trilogy, and I really look forward to seeing where this series goes.

I can't emphasise how much I enjoyed the first half of the novel. It was fantastic. And I think the fact that I wasn't so keen on the next quarter or so of the novel is actually a sign of the authors skill, he has created these wonderful characters and where they find themselves, both emotionally and figuratively, is not a good place. As such I didn't enjoy their suffering, and their bitterness. But that's not a bad thing. It was neccessary for the story, and I love where they have left the novel ending. A perfect conclusion to the story, with a bittersweet resolution to one story, which leaves the possibilities endless for the rest of the trilogy.

This book will challenge your beliefs a little, it questions what makes us who we are, and covers big topics like sexuality. It will make you think. It is a wonderful novel, despite the second half. I am excited about the rest of the series and really can't stress enough that this is a book that should be read. By anyone and everyone. ( )
1 vote NickDevonald | Oct 2, 2012 |
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At peace forever, for we are one.
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For Austin
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Elevator.
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Book description
Dr. Jin Tsay’s revelation entices the military with a potential to uncover and disarm any covert threats. The government that funded the engineer’s classified project orders Tsay’s death, so they can solely and secretly possess his alluring technological consummation: VEIL 

Veil proves to be the purest, deepest form of espionage and anti-terrorism by endowing humankind with the ability to experience life through another person. Dr. Tsay's technology offers submersion into another’s mind; Veil provides a direct perception of their immediate thoughts, emotions, memories, and the rush of their most intimate senses. If it ever escapes the military’s relentlessly selfish grip, Veil swears to permanently alter the psychosocial, sexual, political, economic, and religious landscapes of our lives. Veil promises to usher in our ultimately unifying evolution: the New Veil World. 

Retribution for Dr. Jin Tsay’s assassination comes in the form of his widow, who races to deliver Veil unto the world and share it freely, before those who ordered her husband’s murder can exploit it. Wielding the inescapable force of Veil, Suren Tsay seeks to inflict justice upon all those responsible for her husband’s demise, culminating in an unforgiving, brutal, obsessive hunt for the elusive killer of the father of the New Veil World: the Great Jin Tsay. 

Taking Veil beyond limits Jin himself could’ve imagined, the revered Widow Tsay vows to get her revenge at any cost. Suren Tsay soon realizes she too must inhabit the world created by her husband’s invention and her own bloodlust. 

Suren must learn to live in the New Veil World. 
She must also fight to liberate it.
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