Today I’ll be reviewing L.S. Larson’s IGIST novel and the accompanying same-named app that is available free for download on Apple and Android. The app is meant to make reading the novel a truly immersive experience, hailing itself as “the world’s first immersive novel”.
First, the story:
In the not-so-distant future when humanity has colonized the solar system, orbiting the moon is a space station called IGIST (Intergalactic Institute of Science and Technology) that embodies a simple ethos: No matter what problems we face an idea can prevail. A young girl named Emi dreams of escaping the plague-ravaged Earth, attending the elite IGIST, and becoming a great scientist. Against all odds, she makes it into space and with a colorful cast of misfits, Martians, and scouts, races against the clock to create an antidote for the deadly amoebic monster, that is the plague.
Learn more about IGIST at www.igist.com
Title: IGIST | Author: L.S. Larson | Publisher: IGIST Studios | Pub. Date: 10-December-2019 | Pages: 295 | ISBN13: 9781790670673 | Genre: Sci-Fi | Language: English | Triggers: Parental Death | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: I received a copy of this book free from the author for review consideration.
IGIST Book Review
IGIST has a premise that will always be interesting (as long as it is well-written). Young person versus seemingly insurmountable odds and their journey to overcome them. This was a well-written story so I thoroughly enjoyed Emi’s journey to attend IGIST (InterGalactic Institute of Science and Technology). I also want to mention how cool it was to read a middle-grade/YA book about a girl’s struggle to attend STEM courses. That’s not exactly something you read every day, and it’s something we need more of.
I also liked that Emi didn’t fall straight into accepting help for everything. (Part of me was screaming at her to just accept the help already but I’m still glad she didn’t. It made for more interesting reading.) Emi is far from a perfect character and it takes quite a long while for her to learn the value of teamwork. However, she’s also a very strong character and doesn’t back down from standing up for herself and her abilities.
IGIST is a well-paced novel with some truly enjoyable characters and scenes. It was a great read once I got into it. However, it is not for younger readers. The science and technology sometimes mentioned will fly right over most of their heads. I would only really recommend it for the 12+ age range.
There were some minor issues with it, but overall I found IGIST to be a good story that provided me with an enjoyable reading experience.
Story rating: 4/5
The IGIST app:
The app has issues.
What I did like about it was that I got coins just for finishing the chapters (I could see younger readers loving that sense of reward), and that every chapter seemed to have at least one or two lines in it that as soon as you scrolled to them would make an animation appear on the screen. (Unfortunately those animations only worked about 1/2 the time. The rest of the time I just got some sort of weird explode-y background thing.)
The text against the starry background was absolutely gorgeous. Such a pretty read!
However it is not what I would call an immersive experience. A pop-up illustration here and there is fun, but there is nothing particularly engaging about it.
If you lost your place due to someone else getting their hands (or paws in this case) on it, you had to work your way from the beginning to get back to where you left off. (This is also an easy way to manipulate the coins system as I was able to just zoom through all the chapters to get back to my place and earned a good bit of gold coins again doing so.)
The “Filters” section doesn’t seem to have any actual filters on it, though it does let you export your picture (with stickers you can add to it) to Instagram, Snapchat, etc.
There is a section where you can purchase character illustrations with in-app gold or cash. However, I wasn’t engaged enough with the experience to even think about spending cash on the available items.
As it stands, the IGIST app is a pretty way to read the novel, but it just doesn’t feel like it fully meets the goal it set out to accomplish. A pretty read is not an immersive one.
App rating: 2 for actual app + 1 for story = 3/5
Lilyn G is the founder of Sci-Fi & Scary, and leader of the Coolthulhu Crew. She does book and film reviews for both genres the site focuses on. Her tastes run towards creature features, hard science fiction, and lots and lots of action. She also has a soft spot for middle-grade fiction that rears its head frequently.
She is also the co-founder of Ladies of Horror Fiction.
Feel free to chat her up on Twitter as long as you aren’t hitting her up to review your book.