Halfway by Lokesh Sharma

Halfway by Lokesh Sharma
Aspiration for Deliverance #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (175 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

A few hundred people wake up in an auditorium with no memory of their past, scared and confused, struggling to remember who they are and how they got here. A voice draws their attention to the person standing on the podium, impeccably dressed, an air of calm confidence about him that suggests he has the answers to all their questions. As he starts explaining the situation, they slowly begin to realize they are in a futuristic realm called Enigma, where dead humans are reborn and brought to trials for the crimes they committed in their human-lives…

Death isn’t the end. In fact, it’s only the beginning.

The world building was really well done. I could tell that Mr. Sharma had put a lot of effort into developing how Enigma worked and what it would be like to live there. That entire realm ran like a well-oiled machine. It felt real to me because of how many details the author included about who was invited there, what they had to do while they there, and where they might go after their time at Enigma had ended. I was perfectly satisfied with what the narrators shared with me, but I also found myself wanting to know more about this unique place.

I had trouble keeping track of all of the characters because there were so many of them. While it was interesting to jump between their experiences in the afterlife, I would have preferred to focus on a smaller number of characters who were going through the process of being judged on what they did while they were alive. Having so many different characters made it hard for me to remember which backstory belonged to which individual in this book.

One of my favorite parts of this book was how little the main characters knew when they woke up in the auditorium. It was interesting to feel their confusion as they tried to figure out who they were and how they had all ended up in the same room. What made this scene even more memorable to me is how all of their questions were answered. Without giving away any spoilers, the narrator did a nice job of tying all of those pieces of the plot together in ways that made sense but also required the reader to do some thinking of their own.

The ending was quite abrupt. While I understand that this was meant to be the first story in a series, I would have liked to have some closure for at least a few of the conflicts that were explored here. There were many opportunities for the characters to grow and learn from their experiences that were never taken advantage of. Leaving everything hanging like that in the end made me feel unsatisfied.

With that being said, I would be curious to know what happened to Aparna, Dev, and the other people who woke up in Enigma because the pacing of their storylines were so fast and strong. I was always interested in finding out what would happen next to these characters. There was never a point where their adventures slowed down at all, and that was a good thing.

Halfway was a thought-provoking tale that I’d recommend to anyone who is in the mood to start a new series.

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