Into The Real by Z Brewer

*Spoiler free*

Thank you so much to Quill Tree Books and Edelweiss for the e-ARC!

Three Quinns. Three realities. Three Brumes. The first Brume is a waking nightmare, overrun by literal monsters and cutthroat survivors. For Quinn, who is openly genderqueer, the only silver lining is their friendship with Lia—and the hope that there might still be a safe place somewhere else in the world. The second Brume is a prison with no bars. Forced to “sort out” their sexuality with other teens at Camp Redemption, Quinn must also figure out why presenting as female has never felt quite right. The third Brume is a warzone. For Quinn, who presents as male, leading the Resistance against an authoritarian government is hard, since even the Resistance might not accept them if they knew Quinn’s truth. As Quinn starts to realize that they might be one person alternating among these three worlds and identities, they wonder: Which world is the real one? Or do they all contain some deeper truth?

I heard this book had a genderqueer main character and that was enough for me. But, it also had three different realities, three different versions of the main character, and they’re all real. It sounded fascinating. The cover also gave the book and eerie and dark feeling to it, so I was very eager to read it. Trigger warnings: homophobia, conversion therapy, parental abuse, death, blood, gore

My feelings for this book are complicated. I liked it and I enjoyed a good lot of it. Though, I can’t help but feel that certain parts could have been more or wishing certain things had played out differently.

I kind of think these three stories would’ve worked really well as their own books. They do work together, split up as they are, but I feel like there’s so much to explore in each of them. I would 100% read a full book of each of these stories. There’s grief and trauma and war and trust and terror and so much packed into each of them. All of them have their own way of ticking and I would’ve loved if each of their aspects were dug into deeper.

I think I felt this way because I was expecting them to come together in a different way at the end. I thought they would meld and tie together completely, but they sort of just touched at the end. Sure, they’re all moving towards the same point, but I thought there would be more to why there was three separate stories.

Nevertheless, I found the Brume that’s overrun by monsters incredibly fascinating. It’s terrifying and dark and an absolutely excellent “trapped in a small town ravaged by monsters” story.

I also really enjoyed the writing, for the most part. I kept wanting to come back to this book, kept wanting to read it, kept wanting to know what was going to happen next. It was a bit weird because I wasn’t falling 100% in love it. But I still wanted to charge ahead as fast as I could.

Also, I felt like some of the lines and some of the dialogue were kind of cringey. I felt like it was trying to hard to be dramatic and it just fell flat for me.

I liked the exploration of gender. Since gender is basically just a weird mush in my head right now, I’m going to leave it at that. I liked seeing a genderqueer character try to figure things out, try to decide where they fit in.

The characters were also interesting. Most of them had roles in all three worlds, and each role was different. It was interesting to love a character in one role, but hate them in another. While I would have liked for them to reflect each other a bit more, I still thought it was a cool dynamic.

While this book might not have knocked me off my feet, I can’t help but keep thinking about it. I keep coming back to it and turning it around in my head. I would have liked more out of some things, like the explanation between the three worlds, other things really caught me interest, like the Brume ravaged by monsters. I recommend giving this one a shot, because there is a good chance you’ll like it!

Into The Real comes out October 6, 2020! You can add it on Goodreads and pre-order a copy in the meantime!


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