*Book source ~ A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Red McLauren is a Key Hunter and when he’s told to escort a group of Machine Monks out to survey some rocks when The Actuator is getting ready to fire up an event he’s uneasy. Something feels off and when the event happens and everything goes haywire he ends up being a leader even if he doesn’t feel like one. Someone has sabotaged the dampeners and the entire world has changed and not for the better. Eighteen confirmed Machine Monks created pockets of alternate realities and four more unconfirmed means the world is in chaos and people are dying by the millions, possibly by the billions. Those from the base are the only ones who know what happened and they need to put the world back before humanity is wiped out. A task easier stated than done.
I can’t recall having read a book that has a machine that can alter reality in the physical sense. I mean, completely change the world into whatever reality parameters the person has selected. The Machine Monks are addicted to the Actuator and get a high from when it substitutes reality for their own. Each Monk has a favorite genre, be it horror, steampunk, historical romance, paranormal, fantasy, sci-fi, etc, so when they feed 20 or so fantasies into the Actuator and the dampeners (which restrict the change to a small testing area) fail those fantasies become realities all over the world. It’s chaos and death. The thought of having to find the keys in each reality in order to change it back exhausted me and I wasn’t even one of the people doing the rescuing. :D
Well-written and fast moving the story made me feel as if I was really there. The characters are great even the ones I wanted to bash over the head, but I have to say that I love Red best. There’s something about a reluctant hero, one who never really thought it would come down to him that I really like and Red is very likeable. The multiple POVs really help with the vast scope of the story and make the experience just that more rich. The thought of the world being carved into different sections of fantasies made real just boggles my mind. It got me thinking…if I was a Machine Monk, what would my slice of the world be like? Uh, oh…I have a feeling it would be a very naughty world indeed. *fans self* All-in-all a solid sci-fi adventure.