Member Reviews

A story inspired by the BRZKR comic books. This is a fantasy story that follows various POVS and is definitely on the unique side. Unfortunately for me I found myself getting lost in the plot and found it hard to follow along with the actual story. The story felt all over the place and it was hard to get invested in the characters. I really wanted to like this but it felt so out of place and it just felt like it didn't really know what story it wanted to tell. Maybe if you like vary complex fantasy stories this one could be for you, however this one just missed the mark with me.

Release Date: July 23,2024

Publication/Blog: Ash and Books (ash-and-books.tumblr.com)

*Thanks Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine | Del Rey for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review*

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I think this is going to be a bail for now. I’m a quarter of the way through, and I have had to backtrack so many times to reread because of all of the point of view hopping, timeline hopping, and seemingly unrelated interludes. I felt constantly unsure about what was happening.

I’d like to try this again later, because I was really excited about it. And it’s giving me strong John Wick meets The Old Guard vibes, both things I’ve enjoyed. So I’ll plan on visiting this later. Maybe trying it as an audiobook. This is definitely going to be exactly someone else’s cup of tea, but not for me right now.

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing for this arc.

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The Book of Elsewhere is a somewhat mind-bending book. I was happily letting myself simply be pulled along by the story for most of its duration, but the closer to seeing the full picture I got, the more frustrated I got. So much of how this book concludes felt like it was coming out of nowhere, with no previous signs of the reveals. Spending so much of the narrative away from what was technically the main storyline made for a bit of a jumbled narrative as well. I struggled to understand sometimes how what was happening in a certain chapter related to any of the rest of the story. If you like your stories complex and non-linear, you might not struggle as much as I did with this one, but despite enjoying some other Sci-Fi stories that work non-linearly I just struggled with this one.

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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing this eARC.

The Book of Elsewhere follows an ancient warrior known as B whose life is thrown for a loop when another mysterious immortal soldier emerges.

This is the kind of sci-fi that will be divisive not because it's controversial, but because it's really full of itself. There's certainly an interesting story here, if you're the type that likes a narrative at the intersection of sci-fi and military thriller. The world is certainly unique and fully-realized, and B is a decent character. It was also kind of a weird read, and I do love a weird read.

But man, that writing. It's the kind of inaccessible that convinces people concerned with pretention that they are better than everyone else if they are able to read and enjoy it, but it's also often not actually that mind-blowing. I recall at one point a character's expression was described using no less than five adjectives, all starting with the letter "d". There is certainly good writing here, but there is also a wealth of odd moments that read much more like posturing and much less like genuine, well-conceived intellectual writing.

In all, I probably would have liked it more if this book was, in fact, an action film starring Keanu Reeves, but I do also think that there is a dedicated, nerdy audience out there that will latch onto this story and all the potential it offers.

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The Book of Elsewhere
by Keanu Reeves; China Miéville
the book has a concept of the metaphysical, the mythos of the eternal being and its place and meaning in the universe. I found the book a bit disjointed in the beginning because of the graphic text nature of the story. Their seemed to be jumps in places and times, that i did not follow at first. Then to find that the story is the breath of a memory. The eternal being trying to reason its meaning, and their memory is jumping from one story to the next. It brings to question a lot of the ideas of self and purpose. The internal struggle of defining your own meaning and ideals. Similar in nature to stranger in a strange land by author Robert A. Heinlein.

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To say I hated this book would be doing it a disservice. Let's just say that I could not tolerate it for more than a few chapters. I am very sorry, but I do not know whether to blame Keanu or Mieville for this confusing mess, but that is exactly what I found it to be. I got five chapters into the book and simply could not take it any more. It was a chaotic literary mess in terms of time tenses and characterizations and even descriptions. I read the first paragraph to my spouse who said it sounded very "Artistic. Poetic". That's great when you are reading poetry, but it felt like reading through a thick, confusing cloak that is purposely trying to obfuscate everything! I was NOT expecting to be presented with Gravity's Rainbow! I was expecting an adventure novel ala the classic "Destroyer" series. I couldn't connect to the story or the characters-- or indeed figure out what in the blazes was happening most of the time! I am very sorry, but this book is sad dreck.

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Seeing a book by Keanu Reeves got me, I knew I had to read it! This was super weird but I guess I am not surprised. It was a bit more dense and made me think harder than I had hoped for, but I can see what they were going for.

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DNF @30%
I really wanted to like this. From the synopsis, I really thought this would be a story I could sink my teeth into. But from the first page, I was just confused. It's not that I didn't know what was going on which I didn't, but the writing itself was confusing as well.

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🤍Book Review 🤍

The Book of Elsewhere by Keanu Reeves and China Miéville is a gripping sci-fi novel that keeps you hooked on every page. The story follows "B," a warrior who cannot die and longs for the release of death. In the present day, a U.S. black-ops group offers him a chance to end his life if he helps them in return. When a mortal soldier mysteriously comes back to life, B discovers a force as powerful as himself.
The plot is engaging, with sharp and witty dialogue. The characters are vividly brought to life, and the world-building is exceptional. The story is divided into different scenes that add depth and background, making it unpredictable and entertaining. While the writing style can be uneven at times, the poetic prose and thought-provoking premise make up for it. If you enjoy unique military thrillers and science fiction, The Book of Elsewhere is worth reading.

Very grateful to the publisher for my copy, opinions are my own

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I keep trying to like China Miéville's writing and I keep failing. He's just a little too weird for my tastes. I don't mind weird, but whenever I'm reading his works, I feel confused and a little alienated. The Book of Elsewhere isn't terrible by any means, but it's definitely not for me.

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The Book of Elsewhere by Keanu Reeves; China Miéville was a really intriguing story.
The amazing world building and interesting characters made this story so compelling.
The writing was done very well. A fascinating and thought-provoking read.

Thank You NetGalley and Random House, Ballantine and Del Rey for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this amazing eARC!

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Unute might be a god, a weapon, a warrior, or the embodiment of death itself. His berserker state leaves destruction in its wake, and though he wishes to be mortal, each of his many deaths lead only to an endless cycle of rebirth. Trying to understand what he is, Unute agrees to work with a covert U.S. military unit, but when a mortal soldier is brought back from the dead, Unute is plunged into a mystery involving his 80,000-year-past, a death-defying cult, an immortal deer-pig, and the secret at the very core of his power.

Let’s get this out of the way first—The Book of Elsewhere is not an easy book. Miéville’s writing (and this is very much a Miéville work, despite Reeves’ influence) is as dense and prosaic as it is poignant and lovely, and at no point can readers expect handholding as the narrative twists through Unute’s labyrinthine past. I pushed through the first few chapters feeling overwhelmed and confused, trusting that much like reading A Clockwork Orange or Catch-22, my brain would eventually acclimate enough to make sense of the story. 

Did The Book of Elsewhere ever truly “make sense”? Yes, and—delightfully, perfectly, maddeningly—no. This is cerebral speculative fiction at its finest, and though the jumps in time and perspective may leave readers guessing at first, they do coalesce into a gut-punch of a story, threaded with influence from classics like Frankenstein and Dracula to psychological surrealists like Murakami (and of course, a healthy dose of Reeves’ sci-fi/fantasy action background). Reeves and Miéville render Unute’s violence, loneliness, and brief moments of connection through thick and often gruesome prose, and although I finished “Elsewhere” with more questions than answers, I can’t shake its piercing insight into what it means to be human, to be animal, and to be alive. 

This book certainly won’t be for everyone, and I’d advise readers unfamiliar with Miéville’s work or “weird fiction” as a whole to approach with caution. But to those up for a gritty, complex, and blood-soaked literary challenge—strap in. You’re probably going to have a headache after finishing this book. It will be worth it.

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A plethora of adjectives. A dearth of full stops. The prose in The Book of Elsewhere reminds me of college literature courses. Here’s looking at you, James Joyce.

This book contains run-on sentences that quickly emerge as run-on paragraphs. I’ll admit that it took me almost 20% of the book to succumb to the style. Once I did, I saw the beauty of letting the words just flow over me like waves without worrying about WordPress turning its green editing smile into a red faced frown. [See what I did there? That is nothing compared to the huge sentences in this book. Really, this entire review would only contain one period, if written by Ms. Miéville.]

If you ignore the prose style, The Book of Elsewhere contains a simple plot of an immortal who just wants to die already. It has been done much better in prior manga and even vampire tales. I even enjoyed the manga this book is based on, BRZRKR: Bloodlines, more than the plot here but mostly because of the outstanding and vibrant artwork that emphasized the pure fun of fictional gore.

While I love genre mashups, this one doesn’t work because literary fiction and gory manga plot lines mix about as well as oil and vinegar. I can’t imagine many people being fans of both though I do think Keanu’s pure humanity might lead a few readers to buy the book. But I doubt they will finish it. 3 stars solely for the unusual mashup idea.

Thanks to Del Rey and NetGalley for a digital review copy of the book.

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This book is weird science fiction, and I'm still not sure if that's in a good way or not. I suspect people will struggle to make it to the end of this one. The story is extremely disjointed, with plot lines switching abruptly and constantly, leaving you asking yourself, "Where the heck am I?"

This book was clearly written for those who pay extra close attention to all the random events in order to connect everything together. If you love solving puzzles, this is a read for you, as every little detail matters.

I'm still not convinced I even know who B is—heck, I don't think B even knows who B is at this point. This has to be one of the weirdest books I have read in a long time, and honestly, I'm surprised I didn't DNF it, as I came close a few times because of how jarring the plot switches are.

I will need to ponder this book some more and write up a fuller, more detailed review once I've had proper time to process it all over at SFFINSIDERS.COM. One of my colleagues over there read this as well, so I am curious to discuss it with him finally to see if we felt the same or not.

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THE BOOK OF ELSEWHERE by Keanu Reeves and China Miéville is stylish, spare and elegant and somehow overwrought feeling more like a creative writing exercise in places than a coherent piece of fiction. I liked the writing, the voice, but could not keep the details of narrators straight long enough to follow the story in my own mind. Cool idea, a very unique presentation, but ultimately not for me. I imagine super fans of speculative fiction, graphic novels, and military thriller may find more to enjoy than I did. I received a copy of this book and these opinions are my own, unbiased thoughts.

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A solid entry from China Mieville. If you’re used to, and enjoy, Mieville’s style of weird fiction, you’ll enjoy The Book of Elsewhere. Though confusing at times, such is to be expected. I won’t spoil anything, but the premise is interesting, yet I it felt could have been executed better. I wouldn’t recommend this as an entry point into Mieville’s work, just as I wouldn’t recommend Blood Meridian as your first Cormac McCarthy novel. Regardless, it’s worth a read, especially if you’re already a fan. Plus, who doesn’t want to see Keanu Reeves dip his toes into more things?

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The Book of Elsewhere follows our MMC, B, who cannot die. B is assigned to a secret military group and works with them to take out high profile enemies. After a tragic assignment, one of B’s colleagues dies but he may not be completely dead. B is continuously trying to find the answer to his mortality but now that another immortal may be among the living, B is doing his best to end them.

This book is the same story as all of Reeves Bersekr comics. I’m reading the same story. I thought it was going to be something different but in reality it’s an extension of work he’s already published. I’m not interested enough to read this story again. Unfortunately I will be DNFing this book at 15%. I hope someone will enjoy this if they haven’t read Reeves other work.

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Not for me. Maybe some more or different editing would have helped. Something about this just doesn’t read well for me.

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I requested this book solely because the name Keanu Reeves was attached to it. But sadly this was a DNF for me. If this was a script for a movie, the writing would be excellent stage notes and set up. But as a novel it just did not hit the mark for me. Too many big ticket vocabulary words with basic sentences structures. And I could not wrap my head around what was happening in the storyline. I love sci-fi novels, but I don't think "cerebral" books are for me. But I appreciate having the opportunity to give it a try.

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I had read a few issues of the BRZRKR comics and liked the concept but not the execution of the story so I came into this one hoping that I would enjoy this book a lot more, but again I was disappointed by the execution. There are so many POV style changes in this book, it is so jarring. Sometimes we’re in first person, then second person, then third person. The style of the writing is certainly not for me and it made it hard to follow the story at times, which is unfortunate because I believe the actual plot is really good.

I love the concept of the immortal warrior who goes into berserker rages and the investigation into what makes him this way, plus how they could potentially use what they discover about him to create super soldiers or help humanity in other ways. But again the way the story was told did not work for me. Others may enjoy the way it is written if you like the odd POV style. If you can get past that, the plot is really enjoyable. Plus, its Keanu Reeves. I cannot wait to see him actually play this part in a movie because I know that is why he wanted to create this story. The character “B” looks just like him.

Anyway, if you like different writing styles, immortal warriors, and lots of mystery and intrigue about legends and gods, then you will probably really enjoy this.

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