Cover Image: Exposure

Exposure

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I found Exposure to be a really interesting mix of sci-fi, horror and alternate reality type genres. I didn’t really know what to expect and found myself excited and keen to read on at some points and slightly confused/underwhelmed at others. I didn’t feel like I cared overly much about the characters but maybe that’s because I felt like I didn’t really know them enough? I feel like it is very thought provoking and worth a read but wasn’t the most outstanding book in my opinion.
Was this review helpful?
Although Exposure wasn't quite what I had expected from the blurb, I really enjoyed the book. It made a nice companion piece to Greenberg's previous book, Green Valley, exploring similar themes of virtual reality (augmented reality?) technology and the way it can be used to manipulate the unsuspecting. A lot of people enjoy an ambiguous story where not everything is fully explained, but I would have liked to know a bit more about how the technology worked, how the projections(?) of the dead worked, and to know how far certain characters were responsible or involved in the overall manipulation. I most enjoyed the trippy Metamuse elements, where it was never clear what was real and what was in the characters' heads. It feels like this is where Greenberg really excels.
Was this review helpful?
How much is too much when it comes to invading human minds for any purpose?

Vincent literally falls into Petra's life. Petra senses an immediate connection, which leads them to attend the immersive Metamuse theater experience together. The first in the series of shows has them completely engrossed in each other. Then things start to get strangely personal and threateningly invasive. 

Exposure is a mixture of sci-fi, alternative reality, and psychological horror. It's a somewhat slow start that builds to an intriguing storyline. I was on pins and needles by mid-novel but found the ending to be somewhat confusing and anticlimactic. I also didn't feel very invested in the characters. They weren't particularly likable or hateable. 

Overall it was an interesting novel. The idea of Metamuse is thought-provoking considering the rapid and complex evolution of technology. My lack of engagement with the main characters and the perplexing ending put it in the only okay category for me.
Was this review helpful?
In Exposure by Louis Greenberg, Petra bumps into a man named Vincent, who invites her to join him in attending a series of mysterious and exclusive interactive shows. The shows are immersive and engaging, but disturbing, and she begins to have nightmares, as well as the eerie feeling that her life is imitating the art. As her relationship with Vincent deepens, Petra learns more about his past, and worries about how the show may be manipulating him into doing something terrible.

While it took me a couple chapters to get into this book, I was thrilled once I dove in. The way current and past 'Metamuse' shows were described made me long to attend one. It was similar to how I felt reading about the various tents in The Night Circus. Meanwhile, the dark and invasive nature of the shows does evoke the Black Mirror vibe suggested by the book's description. It made for an interesting tension between the desire for such a show to really exist and the disappointment that I would never get tickets, along with the knowledge it's not actually real and the relief that it isn't.

The plot and settings were the highlights of this book to be sure. The characters were fine, and sufficiently relatable where I vaguely wanted good things for them and was worried about their fates. I related to Petra and her returning to a hobby of drawing she had long ago abandoned, and I felt for Vincent and his desperate yearning for lost family. But I didn't consider these characters particularly likeable, and beyond these bullet points, there's not much else to say about them. They were good vehicles to carry the story, and I'm not certain that focusing more on them wouldn't have detracted from where this book shines.

I think that the vibes of this book will stick with me for a long time. Heck, it gave me such vivid mental images that I almost called it a show multiple times in my review. If you are interested in a Black Mirror meets The Night Circus reading experience, look no further than Exposure.
Was this review helpful?
Something I really miss has been going to see a play. There is a special feeling watching people on stage create their own reality. In the theatre you’re the unseen observer but increasingly we are seeing a more immersive theatre experience where the audience themselves play a character with companies such as Secret Cinema, Punch Drunk’s various performances or even Doctor Who in recent years. Reality as most readers will tell you is malleable but exactly when do you know what is real and what is not? That’s the question posed in Louis Greenberg’s interesting modern horror story Exposure.

Petra’s life is utterly changed when handsome Vincent falls to her feet. She’d previously been worrying about her mum’s health and trying to live a normal life in the UK after leaving South Africa for many years). Vincent creates a spark for Petra plus he has tickets to Metamuse one of the trendiest immersive theatre companies unusually performing in Leamington Spa for a change. A date at a performance where they both let the experience guide them leads to a further intense love affair but Petra finds the next performance offers a darker experience; she sees people who appear to be dead or injured and the more Petra discovers about Metamuse and also Vincent she fears he is being drawn into a very dangerous situation. One she needs to try and stop.

What I loved about this story is the way this plays with reality within the structure of a book. We see the strangeness of a Metamuse performance and then as the story allegedly leaves the theatre we spot strange scenes that ring bells, characters who may or may not now be out in the wild and start to question has the performance ever stopped? The horror is unnerving that you can be manipulated and shunted through your life to do things that you’d never normally do. There is a rising feeling of unease and dread that really gets very tangible in the story and the secrets of Metamuse are revealed. 

What less worked for me was the character and setting of the tale. Petra is a very engaging lead but at a certain point you’re asking why is Vincent so important to her? Instalove is always something I’m not keen seeing in a story so that may be me but there quite a few times when I was reading her actions thinking would anyone do that? He feels an obviously shallower character. The other aspect that didn’t quite work was the near future setting and attempt to discuss the spread of private healthcare. In this case I actually think we needed a little more to flesh the world out and its links to the wider story and for me these plotlines didn’t come together very well. We may have needed to spend more time in Petra’s normal world to know why Metamuse manages to change things so easily. Despite all this watching characters get drawn into a living nightmare forcing them to make bad decisions is still fairly uncomfortable horror that a lot of the time I could look past these points.

I found Exposure an interesting horror ride with real moments of fear and unease, but it never quite sucked me into the world it created and didn’t give me the fully immersive experience its’ characters were experiencing. An enjoyable tale however with a really cool idea still worth exploring.
Was this review helpful?
First off...DISCLAIMER: I requested this title on NetGalley. Thanks to Titan Books for providing a temporary ecopy. This didn't influence my review in any way.

LOVE, DEATH AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN

While deciding to request/buy a book - any book - is always a shot in the dark, even when there are reviews or excerpts available (which was not the case here), I have to admit I took a wilder chance than my average when picking this one. The blurb was pretty straightforward in hinting at an instant connection between the main character and a mysterious "falling man", and I usually try to stay away from books where the romantic plot is a main ingredient, especially when instalove is involved...but this one sounded really up my alley, especially since the Goodreads blurb (slightly different from the NetGalley/Amazon one) had a line about "Unquiet dead [who] seem to be reaching into the world to protest injustices both past and present". Now THAT got my attention - along with the ominous Metamuse of course.
Now I'm really glad I decided to request Exposure, because I ultimately got a spooky, disquieting, overall unique story where the romance - if integral to it - went hand in hand with themes such as family, social identity (Petra is a half South-African, half English immigrant; Vincent - while UK born and bred - is of Malawian descent), one-of-a-kind psychological manipulation, and of course death (and/or un-death). I wasn't familiar with immersive theatre or "autoteatro", but I loved how it was incorporated into the plot (both via Petra's experiences and journalist Rose's first-hand reports), and I enjoyed the spine-chilling twist Greenberg managed to put on it. I also found the writing exquisite without being flowery, and the characterisation and sense of place pretty strong.

RETRIBUTIVE JUSTICE

I love it when a book takes a different route than the one it seems to have established...which is precisely why I'm a little conflicted here. There's a shift in the characters' dynamics that I didn't see coming (I can't say more in order not to give the ultimate twist away), and I enjoyed having the rug pulled from under my feet; also, said shift fits them in a way, and it's consistent with the allure of the mysterious Metamuse (and its agenda). On the other hand, I'm always sad when a female character is robbed of her agency/has it derailed - especially if it happens in the context/on the backdrop of a romantic relationship - or when I have great expectations for her that the plot doesn't meet. I realise now that Exposure is not a story about heroes - whether male or female - and that, regardless, it does celebrate the (literally) supernatural strength of women in a peculiar way; but even then, that strength is largely fueled by passion/romantic attachment. Exposure, though, is also - and foremost - a story about people who feel out of place and wronged by history, pushed back at the end of the food chain, people who either own their vengeance or are consumed by it. So, infatuation is only one side of the coin when it comes to its influence on the characters' actions.
I'm aware that this one might be my most obscure review ever, because there's only so much I can say without giving the whole plot away, and I feel like I've already exceeded my mild-spoiler quota. What I CAN say, anyhow, is that, at its core, Exposure is a haunting story about the lengths you're willing to go in order to right a wrong, and the (often subliminal) forces that may propel you to take that route - something that, alas, never gets old, especially in times like these.
Was this review helpful?
The premise of the Metamuse is a really enthralling one. A mesmeric and captivating theatre show that literally pulls you in. It is an alternative theatre experience that gets the audience involved in more ways than one.
There is much to like about the book. It is inventive and imaginative, with some misdirection and mystification. I found parts of the novel thoroughly absorbing and intense. Other parts tended to meander and be a little pedestrian. But I do not think it spoiled the whole story, not for me anyway.
Most characters were well described and full of depth. I say most because of Rose. It was fascinating reading the theatre reviews, and I wish we could have had more from the Rose Devriendt character. She definitely had an intriguing back story that was only briefly hinted at, and it might have been worth sparing a chapter or two for that.
Petra is a pleasant character you can immediately gel with, but Vincent, well, readers can make up their own minds. I personally found him irritating from the very start. I did like Suki though, her no-nonsense approach to life was the same as her no-nonsense business approach, could not give a damn.
The book explores some very dark themes, and the content is, shall we say, a little colourful. Exposure is a thoroughly mesmerising tale that fits the Science Fiction/Fantasy Thriller genre perfectly. The ending was definitely something I was not expecting. I do not think I will be able to look at a pair of Sennheiser headphones the same way ever again. (You will have to read the book.)
I enjoyed Exposure and heartedly recommend giving it a read.
Thank you, NetGalley and Titan Books, for the ARC.
Was this review helpful?
(My review will be posted to Goodreads and Amazon on the publication date of November 23rd 2021). 
Thank you to the publisher for the digital ARC, this has not affected my honest review. 

TWs: death, mental manipulation, cancer, hospitals, suicidal ideation

'Exposure' is a complicated book for me to review and ultimately felt like it was more than one story in one. I massively enjoyed the early chapters, especially when the main character Petra meets "falling man" Vincent, but from there the story lost me in many ways. I enjoyed Petra's relationship with Suki but felt like she was an underused character who didn't make a lot of impact (until the end, when her loyalties changed.) However, the plot with Metamuse and the journalist investigating it- and what happened to her- was the most interesting part and I wish more time was focused on this instead of Vincent and Petra's love story. In the end, the highlight of this book is the ongoing tension and the ideas on the theatre experience. I loved those parts and could have read an entire book about them. Louis Greenberg has a strong writing voice and I enjoyed the time that I spent in Petra's head.
Was this review helpful?