Thursday, December 10, 2015

Nirvana By J. R. Stewart|Review

Nirvana (Nirvana #1)
Published by Blue Moon on November 10th, 2015
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 135
Format: eARC

When the real world is emptied of all that you love, how can you keep yourself from dependence on the virtual? Larissa Kenders lives in a world where the real and the virtual intermingle daily. After the supposed death of her soulmate, Andrew, Larissa is able to find solace by escaping to Nirvana, a virtual world where anything is possible – even visits with Andrew. Although Larissa is told that these meetings are not real, she cannot shake her suspicion that Andrew is indeed alive. When she begins an investigation of Hexagon, the very institution that she has been taught to trust, Larissa uncovers much more than she ever expected and places herself in serious danger. Her biggest challenge, however, remains determining what is real – and what is virtual. Nirvana is the first instalment in the three-part “Nirvana” series, a fast-paced, page-turning young adult trilogy that combines elements of the romance, mystery, and science fiction genres. This first novel introduces readers to a heroine who refuses to give up on the man she loves, even if it means taking on an entire government to do so.

My Thoughts

NetGalley Review The future's new technology allows Larissa Kenders to escape the unbearable truths of reality and momentarily seek peace in a virtual world filled with delight and hope. After Larissa's fiancé disappears under abnormal circumstances only it has his charred body turn up a few days later, it is up to Larissa to uncover the earth-shattering secrets that hold Hexagon together. When Larissa is pulled into Nirvana without any warning, she is studded to see Andrew staring back at her. Driven by her unconquerable hope, Larissa can only deduce that her fiancé is still alive. But where could he possibly be? Each brief meeting with him in Nirvana only brings about more questions and threats towards Larissa's life. Given direct orders to 'trust no one', Larissa struggles to recognize fiction of reality. As Hexagon 'secretly' watches her every move, Larissa must remain vigilant. Everyone is a potential enemy, even her childhood best friend, Serge, and only fatherly figure, Corporal. No one is safe as long as Larissa and Andrew are alive. Equipped with classified information regarding the decline of the Earth's wildlife and environment, the two fiercely fight till the end.
I love the concept of virtual reality in a deteriorating world. For that reason, I was very intrigued by the synopsis of Nirvana. However, it did not live up to my expectations. I did enjoy the notable differences in their world compared to ours and how they referenced back to something before their time but relatively recently in ours. The depth of the technology and world-building is fantastic in this book, especially with the descriptions of Nirvana. I really enjoyed Stewart's writing. It was fresh, inquisitive, and compelling to read. However, my patience grew thin with Larissa. Mainly because she only expresses one emotion throughout the book. I understand how she wants to appear genuine, but even out of the public's eye, her emotions show very little variation. Near the end, I found myself rooting for Serge and Larissa more than Larissa and Andrew. I felt more emotion and a genuine connection between Serge and Larissa. Whereas with Andrew, I felt like he wanted something else. Which could possibly be because he doesn't appear much or of the ending. Speaking of the ending, I did not particularly enjoy it. My first thought was, 'Is this an editing error? Surely it just got mixed up somewhere in editing.' Fortunately, it didn't. The phrase 'here we go again' perfectly sums up the ending. It was entertaining in a few scenes, but for the most part, I felt as if nothing significant was happening. If you like mysteries revolving around virtual reality, then you may enjoy this book.

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