Escape Reality is a science fiction novel written by Kayla Frost and was published in November of 2020. It’s also the Gold Award Winner for the 2020 – 2021 Reader Views Literary Awards.
This book really impressed me with the amount of world-building that was in it, especially for a debut novel. The universe that is created in this book is fleshed out and clear when you’re done with the story. I almost pictured Kayla in front of a huge wall with strings and pictures with all the different character races, groups, locations, and characters. She does a great job preparing us for the rest of the series, setting the table for the characters and what’s to come.
I’m pretty new to reading science fiction, especially what some people would call “hard” science fiction, the really deep and complex science fiction. This book definitely fits into that category. If I’m turning the page and feel like I miss something or I don’t understand everything I feel like I should go back and re-read. With this book, I tried to relax and go along for the ride and it paid off in a big way.
I’ve read other reviewers’ comments that the beginning is a little uneven with the amount of reveals and the amount of explanations but that didn’t bother me. I had faith that everything would be explained and Kayla does a great job explaining the world, the rules, the races, the technologies, and conflicts. The environments are described beautifully, jumping off the page at you. I had a clear vision of what was happening in my mind from the page. I could even hear the sounds described in the book in my own ears. I was on the ship or the planet and could hear the automated voice we’ve all heard in science fiction movies on the page.
Something that takes me out of the story especially in fantasy or science fiction is when characters use modern slang. I’m in this otherworldly environment and it’s jarring to hear characters use modern lingo. While I enjoyed the reveals and surprises, I think a few of them were drawn out a little too long.
I always prefer to go into books blind, knowing as little as possible so I usually avoid the synopsis. In this case, I wish I could have read the synopsis before I read the book. Reading the synopsis gives you a really good idea of what you’re in for and gives you some footing to stand on.
If you’re like me and you’re new to “hard” science fiction and you get lost in this book, be patient and go along for the ride – the payoffs are worth it. I was enthralled by the amount of world-building, with all the different terminology, technology, and acronyms. Sometimes it takes a minute to get your bearings. Kayla develops a very lush, detailed, and complex world that blew me away. There must have been a ton of time developing this world and she does a fantastic job.
If you enjoy complex and detailed science fiction with interesting characters and a ton of world-building, give this book a read. Especially impressed that Kayla not only wrote the book but also created the artwork for the cover and interior.