Claiming de Wayke

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Pub Date 28 Jun 2022 | Archive Date 30 Apr 2022
Crossroad Press, Mystique Press

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Description

What would you do if someone offered you the keys to a limitless reality?

Tayto is a saint—someone addicted to their VR halo. He’s uneducated, unmotivated, and loath to quit his habit and embrace the real world: the Wayke. When the mysterious Zeke Zohar contacts him, offering him a chance to be raptured into a VR paradise forever, it seems too good to be true. The catch: Zeke believes this chance hinges on them finding Tayto’s genius brother, and his plan involves journeying to Tayto’s childhood home, navigating the detested Wayke in the process.

For all the weirdness of the VR universe, it’s the real world that Tayto finds truly strange. His journey forces him to confront a gang, a cult, and the two great questions that addicts often face: Is it possible to come home? Is it possible to escape from it?

What would you do if someone offered you the keys to a limitless reality?

Tayto is a saint—someone addicted to their VR halo. He’s uneducated, unmotivated, and loath to quit his habit and embrace...


Advance Praise

What would you do if someone offered you the keys to a limitless reality?

Tayto is a saint—someone addicted to their VR halo. He’s uneducated, unmotivated, and loath to quit his habit and embrace the real world: the Wayke. When the mysterious Zeke Zohar contacts him, offering him a chance to be raptured into a VR paradise forever, it seems too good to be true. The catch: Zeke believes this chance hinges on them finding Tayto’s genius brother, and his plan involves journeying to Tayto’s childhood home, navigating the detested Wayke in the process.

For all the weirdness of the VR universe, it’s the real world that Tayto finds truly strange. His journey forces him to confront a gang, a cult, and the two great questions that addicts often face: Is it possible to come home? Is it possible to escape from it?

What would you do if someone offered you the keys to a limitless reality?

Tayto is a saint—someone addicted to their VR halo. He’s uneducated, unmotivated, and loath to quit his habit and embrace...


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ISBN 9781637898581
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Average rating from 2 members


Featured Reviews

Disclaimer: I don't write detailed reviews very often. I'm sorry if I am the first one to review this one. I promise I will recommend it to someone more articulate.

Plot:
I picked up this novel based on the description and I thought I'm getting into a gritty cyberpunk. I certainly did not expect a roadtrip narrative. It was honestly so refreshing. I enjoyed the plot a lot. I think it was fast paced and engaging without it feeling like skipping through different plot points just to tick them of a list. The smaller parts/arcs had their own place and purpose, and felt complete and thought through. I've been missing it in many sci fi novels I've read recently, and I was honestly surprised that this one held my attention all the way through.

Characters:
I liked Tayto so much! I think he's just fascinating. I don't think I can say anything particular about his qualities or explain why I find him so charming but I am so glad that he's the narrator. He's funny, and he's surprisingly observant and self aware, so even gruesome events are bearable with him. Absolutely exceeded my expectations (of a gritty and edgy cyberpunk weirdo).
Tayto is obviously a strong narrator and it's impossible to look at the others without his filter. But I didn't feel like he took up the spotlight to the point that the other characters didn't have their time to shine. I was quite intrigued by their motivations and ways of interacting with the new world order. I feel like since I am Polish I must mention Boggy- I was so worried she will be very stereotypical and I was relieved that it was not the case. I really liked those awful little humans.

Narration:

What can I say. Some choices were certainly made here and I guess some can see it as gimmicky. I think the author is well aware considering the book also comes with a disclaimer. I really liked that the narration switched into second person in the halo- I don't mind second person in general, and it made it a bit more dreamy or disassociated. From a practical standpoint, I think it was a good way to help the reader keep track of what is happening where.
I struggled with the spelled out phonetics more. First 10% of the book went extremely slowly for me, and I can't tell if it dragged a bit or I just had to adjust. Once Tayto left his house I wasn't really noticing it anymore. I enjoyed reading his pov and think it's a big strength of this novel. Some of the more philosophical passages were way more striking and honest when coming from Tayto, than if someone tried to put it in some sort of a dark academia jargon. Felt fresh & I think it will upset some language purists which makes me happy. I was also very happy to see some Irish. It's sort of reassuring that even after the fall of the world as we know it there is cúpla focal.

Other:
I wanted to reassure that people from outside of Ireland will still get what's going on but I am not so sure. I have my Polish perspective, but certainly there were some moments where I was a bit confused (that Boggy scene? Me as well). Certainly it will be a nightmare to translate. But that's not really of any concern right now. I also thing that my fellow socio linguists would absolutely tear at it. I'll keep an eye out.

What I actually think is that it is not absolutely necessary to understand every single word or know which train station is mentioned to enjoy this book. It's dealing with the subjects of isolation, loss, and obviously aftermaths of a pandemic in a way that isn't completely depressing, but also doesn't make light of the subjects. I didn't feel like there was a clear instruction on how to act or what would be best for Tayto or for humanity- just compassion and insight into trying to understand your place in the world. I found my reading experience rather healing.

Finally:
This book is for people who:
1. Experience burnout (autistic or not)
2. Usually read horror but are in a bad spot right now
3. Are done with people telling them how to deal with a COVID trauma
4. Got a barely passing grade in their year one phonetics exam and are still bitter

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Claiming de Wayke is not a normal science fiction novel. There, I got that out of the way. A hodge-podge of Fight Club, The Matrix, Neuromancer and Trainspotting; Mr. O’Shea has created a marvelous semi-dystopian world where the divide between those who immerse their lives into the Scape, and those who despise those who spend their time in the Scape is very very real. Our protagonist, Mr. Tayto, just wants to spend his days doing the least amount of work necessary to stay jacked into his halo as much as possible.

Then someone approaches Tayto in the Scape: someone searching for Tayto’s brother and the amazing technology he supposedly has invented and liberated.

From there, our adventure begins.

The thing I loved the most about this book was the world and culture building. Mr. O’Shea, very smartly, starts the book out with a note about how the voice and language of the book is going to progress. One narrator, the one in the Waykean world, is in the first-person voice of Tayto: a mish-mash of Southern Irish slang with a lot of invective. The other narrator is the voice inside the Scape, Tayto’s voice (in proper English) in second-person. I found the difference very refreshing and definitely set the sterility of the Scape apart from the gritty reality of the Wayke.

Claiming de Wayke is a book you have to pay attention to. It is not a casual read, nor something you can merely skim to work through. This, however, is a benefit and not a detriment to the novel. The rich details, and wide variety of life experiences Tayto runs into in his weird journey really elevate his humanity: despite him trying to always escape it. I, as a reader, really felt for Tayto and the really really outlandish situations he has the misfortune of falling into.

Though mostly in the “real” world, I’d definitely have to put Claiming de Wayke on my quintessential cyberpunk reading list if nothing else than for being a fresh approach.

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