27 readers explain why they love Realms Unreel

★★★★★ Wonderful world, wonderful book

I loved this book! I read it in two days; I just couldn’t put it down! Auden’s descriptions of the worlds she creates are so vivid and mesmerizing and the characters so enigmatic and full. All in all, it’s a rich and luscious book. It is one of those books that leaves you in a haze after you finish it, still thinking and living in the world it brought you into. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in technology, fantasy or adventure. As a self proclaimed dork who is interested in near future technology too, it was super fun to imagine technology the way Auden sees it. Seriously, stop reading this review and start reading Realms Unreel!

— Lyndsay Love, 18 January 2012, on Amazon

★★★★★ Fun but profound

They have made a travesty of a great mystery, and in so doing even they have forgotten the truth. All who live possess eternal life, and few would trade it for an immortal body, if they truly understood what it is to be alive.

I really loved this book. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I knew the premise sounded really cool. If I’d started out with a better understanding of what this book was about, I might not even have read it and I would have missed out big time. Techie sci-fi stuff isn’t really for me. I picked up reading as a hobby after far too much television. Cheesy sci-fi movies have forever ruined me to any futuristic fiction. I even had to suppress my distaste for it while reading Dune, which I also grew to love. Whenever the genre is even mentioned I have this awful vision of all-purpose rubber suits with gratuitous muscle-shaped ridges. Barf. However, Realms Unreel is set in the near future where technological advances are tame enough to believe that they might really exist in a decade or two, yet strange enough that even in parts where the plot moves forward slowly, I have fun just admiring the quirks of Auden’s fictional (prophetic?) world.

Realms Unreel is an ambitious work. Auden covers a profoundly wide range of themes from Buddhism, to internet censorship, to religious extremism, to soul mates, to Adam and Eve. And in only about 350 pages she does this with smooth storytelling and prose that make this book fun and bizarre while the plot builds up, then exciting and immersing when it begins to unravel.

At first I couldn’t help but feel that Auden had some influence from various manga. Something about the feel of the world she created and the social nuances–particularly between romantic interests–reminded me of some of my old favorite Japanese comics in a way that I could not quite pin down. A bit later on I had almost no doubt about this (Ahem… Amaterasu Nagato) which only enhanced my pleasure in reading. Something about the way background information is withheld from the reader and protagonist until it is need-to-know is reminiscent of well-done manga as well. I was excited to see these general atmospheres and plot devices successfully translated to a medium which I enjoy considerably more.

— Bobby, 21 February 2012, on GoodReads

★★★★★ Riveting!

If you loved Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, you’ll love this book. Hyper-current filaments woven into a gripping, timeless plot. While reading it, I got chills more than once and my heart raced all the way through the final chapter. Recommended!

— Diana Kimball, 20 January 2012, on Amazon

⬆ +1 upvote — So excited for the sequel

Wow. Just finished after reading pretty much non stop for a day. It was wonderful, so excited for the sequel and I’m gonna order the paperback because I’m sure it will look great on my book shelf!

— zeveronian, 2 February 2012, on reddit

★★★★★ Intriguing, Immersive, and Insanely Good

Audrey Auden effortlessly blends elements of fantasy, sci fi, and “real life” to craft a rich universe for a diverse cast of unique, compelling characters. I don’t always like fantasy or sci fi (or even real life), but this is not the type of “genre fiction” that relies on tired gimmicks to cater to specific demographics. Realms Unreel is full of innovation and imagination, but like anything worth reading, the plot and the characters are what stick with you.

After starting with a bang, the book takes a moment to introduce the reader to Emmie, a bold and original protagonist living in near-future San Francisco Bay Area. Auden’s vision of technology is both prescient (making it easy to suspend disbelief) and fanciful (making it fun).

Before long, Realms Unreel launches fully into action-packed, up-all-night page turner mode. It’s easy to forget that the whole thing is an artfully executed balancing act.

There’s nothing like a gripping story told with a clear voice. Auden’s ambitious debut novel is a delight.

— No Surprises, 21 November 2011, on Amazon

★★★★★ Original and Compelling

Audrey Auden hits a home run with Realms Unreel. The detail in which she describes the near future California is very compelling and believable and it even makes me excited to see how much of the technology will come true.

— Simon Piquer, 1 February 2012, on Amazon

❤❤❤ Incredible book

I just wanted to tell you that Realms Unreel is an incredible book (like you didn’t know it before!). I’m enjoying it so much, and my homework is currently being covered in dust. The book caught my attention because of its glowing reviews on Amazon (guilty!), even though I really should’ve seen it on reddit, so I’ll make sure I’ll leave one, too. Thank you so much and I cannot wait to see your future work.

— Anya, 27 February 2012, by email

★★★★★ beautiful and magical

“Realms Unreel” is a delightful blend of fantasy and near-future cyberpunk, with nicely realised characters and a very well-paced plot. The true highlight of the book, though, is the beautifully conceived vision of the evolution of the internet and virtual reality – well-trodden territory, to be sure, but Auden handles it with a confident, creative touch that makes the book a pleasure to read. Comparisons to “Snow Crash” are inevitable, but short of the mark – “Realms” shares the thrill of diving into the mind of a creative protagonist, and sharing the author’s visions of virtual reality, but its heroine is a designer rather than a hacker, and that definitely changes the tone of the book. More than anything else, I was reminded of the first time I played Myst – Auden shares that vision of virtual realms that are above all beautiful (and mimetic), and whose functional and interactive aspects are fitted seamlessly into that beauty; a convergent but very different approach to the more raw-magic-of-hacking metaverses of Stephenson or Sterling.

The only weak note was the fantasy element – it rang a little hollow, and was not as immersive or well-crafted as the near-future strand. However, since the book spent very little time in that world, it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story at all – all in all, this is a solidly five-star read that anyone with an interest in virtual reality, gaming, cyberpunk or Silicon Valley culture is strongly recommended to check out.

— Martin DeMello, 10 February 2012, on Amazon

⬆ +1 upvote — Can’t wait for the sequel!

I just finished it; can’t wait for the sequel! going to be recommending this to a bunch of friends too (especially the one who worked for linden!)

— zem, 13 February 2012, on reddit

★★★★★ Incredibly immersive, gripping story

I started this book with no defined expectations. A friend had liked it, and told me to read it, but that was about all I had to go on. Of course I assumed it was “good” and would be a pleasant read. I didn’t have particularly high hopes beyond that, and the brief synopsis I found didn’t particularly sell me. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book is fantastic by any standards.

Things started off a little bit slowly, but the momentum built steadily through the entire story. It wasn’t long before I found myself completely sucked in as the plot transitioned seamlessly from character background to futuristic world-building to action. The story is absolutely gripping, with well balanced exposition and intriguing characters. I would absolutely recommend it to a friend (or YOU), and at its current price it’s really hard to justify NOT picking up a copy for yourself.

— Nikki Lee, 21 January 2012, on Amazon

★★★★★ Fantastic book

What an amazing read! I zipped through it within only a few days during a break from school and it was the perfect escape from (this) reality. Auden is a gifted writer who takes readers out of their own heads and keeps them locked into her novel. Perfect book if you need a break from real life. Realms Unreel is a universe unto itself. Auden’s characters are rich and believable, and leave you thinking about yourself and questioning your life as you go through each day. I enjoy fantasy, but I’d especially recommend this to anyone who doesn’t always enjoy fantasy because it combines so many different subjects into one work, including science and technology, adventure, and mystery. Couldn’t speak more highly of this book.

— slooths, 2 February 2012, on Amazon

★★★★★ Couldn’t put it down

This book got better and more intriguing as I read. I was very happy I wasn’t able to guess the ending, (as happens often with fiction.) I cared about what happened to Emmie and Dom both, and I was rooting for them. This book made me smile, laugh a couple of times, and cry once. It also made me think, about our real world, technology and the future, which in Realms Unreel is extremely well thought out and plausible. I hope there is a sequel because I wanna know what happens next.

— Watyrfall, 3 February 2012, on Amazon

★★★★★ Satisfying Science Fiction

The plot revolves around an immortal man named Dom and his love for Emmie. Emmie has been reincarnated many times and they continue to have a connection in each of her lives. Dom is on a quest to seek out the way he can pass in to death. The life that Emmie lives that the book focuses on, she is a designer on the alternet, the next evolution of the internet.

The technical language in the book is never cringe worthy. Audrey knows a thing or two about technology and I never felt she was throwing out unnecessary techno-jargon. I also never felt like the technological advances were ridiculous. In a book like this, these problems would have crippled it, but it never happens. One minor gripe here is that sometimes the characters use abbreviations. I understand what CS and QA are, especially within the context it was used, but others may not.

Upon finishing the story, I felt like I took a journey. The entire book gives a feeling that there are far reaching implications from thousands of years in the past to thousands of years in the future. Overall, the story wrapped up nicely in a way that satisfies the ending of the book but leaves it open for more. The one issue I had is that the first half of the book had me at times saying, “C’mon let’s get on with it.” I wasn’t ever in danger of quitting on the book and it’s only a minor gripe, but the second half of the book definitely outshines the first half.

I really enjoyed the book, and I will be on the look out for the sequel Bonds Endure and anything else Audrey publishes in the future.

— Eric Mobley, 11 February 2012, on Amazon

★★★★★ Compelling and Immersive

I found the book to be very hard to put down. I liked the interplay between the mystical world (Dom) and the techno world. The characters were well developed and I didn’t find any typical technical cliches in the novel. I am very much looking forward to the sequel.

— M.P. Long, 15 February 2012, on Amazon

★★★★★ Great book

Very exciting read. Author has a good grasp of technology and melds that grasp of technology into a great mix of action and adventure. Enjoyable book. Now waiting on the second book to be published.

— Concord Husker, 19 February 2012, on Amazon

★★★★ Unique concept, interesting storyline

Unique concept, made for an interesting storyline involving two very different entities. That’s the best way i can put it, as it’s hard to describe exactly what this is. It’s mythology, science fiction, fantasy, history and drama. I’d be hard pressed to put this in just one category, instead it’s a blend of all of them.

The thing I liked most, and am particular about, is computers and technology in books. I liked that the author did her research or is familiar with computers enough to make the technological accomplishments believable and not cringe-inducing.

The story itself takes a bit to get started and once it does, it’ll have your attention.

The protagonists were likeable and i particularly enjoyed falsens, then emmie. The antagonist felt a bit cliched but wasn’t large enough to become an eyesore.

It’s a good short read, I’d definitely recommend this.

— Mendhak, 5 February 2012, on GoodReads

★★★★★ A page-turner with its roots in virtual reality and alternate worlds

I am not typically a reader of science fiction, but this book hooked me from the start. It cleverly sets its characters in the near-future reality of the Bay Area, where the technology for total-immersion virtual reality has been developed to its full potential. What’s fascinating about the setting, characters and events is that they are very convincing as a possible alternate reality to the present moment (indeed much if not all the technology described already exists). Allusions to the global Occupy movement, the Anonymous hacker collective, and fundamentalist religion are interwoven with themes mined from a global history of literature and mythology. The book is a thoughtful and entertaining contemplation of the promise of religion and technology as tools for realizing the potential of humanity (for good and bad).

— NOH, 7 January  2012, on Amazon

★★★★★ Compelling and Rich

The perfect blend of Sci-Fi, Mystery, and Fantasy. Auden’s novel offers us a detailed glimpse into a possible Silicon Valley of the not too distant future, while fearlessly addressing life’s greatest mystery: death. Auden’s novel arrives at a thoughtful conclusion on the reality of death and what it could mean for the survival and enrichment of the soul. Her descriptive prose demonstrates the importance of language in conveying unfamiliar ideas (as well as the helpfulness of images to supplement that language) to readers who want nothing more than to expand their horizons. This imaginative work speaks volumes about our human condition– our desire to discover new worlds, new ideas, and perhaps a new way of life. A world of private security protection services, sensory augmentation gear, alternet universes, and sophisticated online bartering exchange tools paints a picture of a future society that has broken the shackles of government regulation and control. Perhaps a scary world for some, but a flicker of hope for many others. I look forward to Episode II and the big-screen blockbusters that are sure to come. Well done!

— Patrick Tallman, 18 December  2012, on Amazon

★★★★★ Super fun read!

I just finished the book and I LOVED it! Once I got sucked in I could not stop, I was speeding home every day after work so that I could jump into my big reading chair and find out what happens next!

— SOPHIE, 4 February 2012, on Amazon

★★★★ beautifully crafted and well-plotted

Make no mistake; I think the book was great. Once I got through the first couple chapters of jerkiness that I expect from a debut author of any caliber, I was hooked. Auden hit her stride very quickly and this is a polished, clean cut, imaginative, and exciting work. The fast-paced plot, self-aware tone, and shameless virtual reality descriptions more than made up for the lacking character depth in the main characters. The main character had a virtually flawless childhood, and as a young adult she’s unperturbed in everything she does. It makes it hard to relate and care for her. The other main character’s slightly greater depth is largely attributable to his unrequited love, which is hardly an original concept nor is it explored from an original perspective. Nevertheless, the book is in no way disappointing and well worth the short of time you’ll need to joyfully burn through it.

I realize the reference has already been made, but this book is clearly heavily influenced by Snow Crash by the duly glorified Neal Stephenson, and that’s a good thing. We could use more books like Snow Crash and more authors developing the cyberpunk sci-fi crossed with fantasy crossed with ancient religions genre. And I say that with only the slightest hint of irony.

— dsethlewis, 1 February 2012, on Amazon

★★★★★ Great read from a new author

This is a great read. You can tell the author is writing from what she knows and/or did a lot of great research. I hate techno-sci-fi that’s completely unbelieveable, so this was a refreshing change. All of the tech in this book is possible enough to make it easy to suspend disbelief, and the story kept me reading long after my bedtime :-)

— Nicci, 15 February 2012, on Amazon

★★★★★ A really fun and fast read!

This book was a great read. It incorporated romance, betrayal, jealousy, the mysteries of life and death, creation theory, gaming and technology, art, futurism and parallel universes… many elements all woven together to create a captivating story. My only criticism of this book isn’t even really criticism, but I feel like I should include it for people who are a bit more picky than I am. I got a sort of “young adult fiction” feeling from this book, due to some predictable outcomes in the story, and a bit of one dimensionality in pretty much all of the characters. However, personally it didn’t bother me a bit. I am a lover of young adult fiction, but I know not everyone is.

— Christine, 6 February 2012, on Amazon

⬆ +1 upvote — Amazing and unique!

Hey just wanted to know I finished your book and I thought it was amazing and very unique! I can’t wait for the next one! Thanks again for sending me a copy!

— tobidyoufarewell, 27 February 2012, on reddit

★★★★★ Sequel, please!

I finished the book the other day and immediately tried to buy the sequel Realms Unreel Episode 2: Bonds Endure.

— dngrCharlie, 28 January 2012, on reddit

⬆ +1 upvote — Intriguing, beautifully written

Just finished reading the opening chapter and had to hop onto this thread to say it’s one of the most promising opening chapters I’ve read in a good while! Intriguing, beautifully written, and I already care a lot for Dom and Ava without knowing a ton about them. One thing I really respect is that their relationship seems more subtle and deeper than you often see in many (bad) fantasy romances. They have a long history of mutuality– reminds me of Sparrowhawk and Tenar.


I’m up to the chapter “One Year Later” now. I’m really loving your prose, and your wordplay is great! The whole world of the alternet is interesting, too. I think the only problem I’m having so far is that Emmie got through her entire childhood/teenage years without any conflict. Everything she’s ever tried has worked out, she’s never been in danger, and she’s never second-guessed herself, except for maybe half a sentence when she left Zeke behind. I’m hoping now that Zeke is back in her life some shit will hit the fan.

But I’m gonna stick with it! Dom’s story is still very interesting to me. Ironically, he’s the most human character so far. He actually suffers, and makes bad decisions. I like that about him. He reminds me a lot of me!

— DJ_BuddySystem, 28 January 2012, on reddit

★★★★★ Rockin’ as sci-fi, too

One really neat thing about Realms Unreel is that takes a world of supernatural mysteries and smoothly fits it together with a story of San Francisco Bay Area tech startup that wouldn’t be out of place, say, twenty-five years from now. That near-future story is a very believable and perceptive picture of the Bay Area, of one possible future of tech, and of the sort of people and culture you encounter on the wild frontier of a new technology.

So on the one hand you’ve got immortals appealing to the Oracle, but on the other you’ve got a bunch of technologists and designers pulling all-nighters and drinking impressive amounts of coffee to ship a product on time, as they always have and always will.

And on the one hand there’s an impossibly perfect temple built over thousands of years, but on the other there’s a little girl growing up mastering a future technology in much the way that some bright kid today is probably figuring how build stuff with smartphones that would astound me.

Point is, there’s a lot to love here even if you don’t think of yourself as a fantasy person. I don’t — judging by pages read, Neal Stephenson the sci-fi machine must be my favorite author — but I loved Realms Unreel. Hope you do too!

— RAF, 7 December 2011, on Amazon

❤❤❤ Loved it

I loved your book and I will definitely be purchasing the sequel when it comes out. In the meantime, I’ll keep pressuring my friends to give Realms Unreel a go.

— Kristin E., 21 February 2012, via email

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Brandon M. March 24, 2012 at 3:04 am

This book is a winner! I total page turner and imaginative. I read government text books most of the week and Realms Unreel was a pleasure to read as a distraction. I will be recommending this to all my friends and posting this on my Facebook wall. Keep up the writing and I will keep reading, well as long as they are good. ^_^ But if this was her first go at being a published author I feel that she will only improve with time. Thanks for the effort.