Series: Nirvana #1
Published by Blue Moon Publishers
Published on November 10th 2015
Genres: Abuse, Fantasy, New Adult, Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Source: Net Galley
When the real world is emptied of all that you love, how can you keep yourself from dependence on the virtual?
Animal activist and punk rock star Larissa Kenders lives in a dystopian world where the real and the virtual intermingle. After the disappearance of her soulmate, Andrew, Kenders finds solace by escaping to Nirvana, a virtual world controlled by Hexagon. In Nirvana, anyone’s deepest desires may be realized - even visits with Andrew.
Although Kenders knows that this version of Andrew is virtual, when he asks for her assistance revealing Hexagon’s dark secret, she cannot help but comply. Soon after, Kenders and her closest allies find themselves in a battle with Hexagon, the very institution they have been taught to trust. After uncovering much more than she expected, Kenders’ biggest challenge is determining what is real – and what is virtual.
Nirvana is a fast-paced, page-turning young adult novel combining elements of science fiction, mystery, and romance. Part of a trilogy, this book introduces readers to a young woman who refuses to give up on the man she loves, even if it means taking on an entire government to do so.
This is an advanced reader copy that I received from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
This is really painful to write. I really don’t like writing reviews that are unfavourable. It hurts my heart, but it can’t be helped when this book was a complete struggle to read.
Let’s start with the fact that the book started with a first person perspective to third person. I understand that it was the prologue, but it kind of sets the tone of the whole book. There was also an instance in the prologue where the main character, Larissa, was talking about disliking men who hit on her, to having Andrew as the only one she has. That was a bit confusing. It was like the previous paragraph lacked something to connect it to the next. Also, it started from YA to NA in one go.
When the actual story started, Larissa and Andrew are married. But Andrew is not in the picture anymore. Larissa was never sure if he’s dead or just missing. We are taken to Hexagon, where Larissa is a soldier. I don’t usually struggle with third person perspective, but I did in this book. It was also more telling than showing. I was fed stories that happened. I felt a disconnect. At 20% in the story, I really wanted to stop reading. But since this is an ARC, I wanted to go through it to justify my final rating.
A bit of backstory…
In the future, when bees become extinct, earth falls apart. Animals and plants also become extinct. That period is cleverly named the Extinction. After the Extinction, there were people who lived in the Bubble, which is a domed area where the rich and powerful live in a ‘bubble’, away from the reality of earth’s devastation. “It’s like a resort.” Then there’s Hexagon, an organization that was supposed to look after people’s best interests, but it turned into a malicious organization. They are the organization who started to digitize everything, meaning there are no real books. If there were, they are locked away. I can’t imagine a time where I can’t hold a real book in my hands!
What is Nirvana, anyway? Doesn’t it remind you of Kurt Cobain? (Or were you too young to know him?) If you have read Under The Never Sky, then it’s basically the same. It’s a place where people spend time to escape reality. It’s virtual reality where anything can happen. You have to pay to experience Nirvana.
There were parts in the book that were journal entries. I liked those parts since it allowed me to have a glimpse of Larissa’s real emotions. It allowed me to get to know her a little bit.
They made love to the rhythm of the whippoorwill’s song[…] staring at the stars.
I cringed. In case you’re wondering what a whippoorwill’s song is, click here.
The formatting of the book made it easier for a reader to get confused. For example, the scene is in the present, and then the character would think back on the past, and I wouldn’t even know until I am on the third or fourth sentence that it was a flashback. Usually, flashbacks are italicized, or separate from the previous paragraph, but here, it was like a continuity of the previous paragraph.
So let’s talk about the Larissa. I found her really whiny. I understand that she refuses to give up on her husband. She didn’t want to believe that he is dead. He might not be, because Hexagon is basically an evil organization that can do anything to anyone. They control everything, even the food. Larissa is supposed to be this woman who would take over the government to find out the truth, but I didn’t really see anything like that happen. I only saw her whining, and wanting to go to Nirvana to see Andrew, the virtual Andrew, and kiss him, and make love to him, and ask where he is…but he is virtual.
I think the only interesting character is Serge, Larissa’s childhood friend. He is in love with her, but of course, she only sees Andrew. Serge is this super genius person who invented Nirvana and the Bubble. But I am still unsure if he is 100% good, because there’s really a good chance that Andrew is still alive, but he made Larissa believe that he’s not. So…yeah.
And the ending was what the fuck! Even though it is a cliffhanger, I do not wish to continue the series anymore. I spent more than a month reading this, and that’s just too long for a really short book.