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Monday, November 23, 2015

Book Review: Nirvana by J.R. Stewart

Book #1 of the Nirvana Series
Genre: YA Dystopian Sci-fi
Publication: November 2015 by Blue Moon Publishers
Acquisition: read a free eARC via NetGalley

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.
(from Goodreads)
2 / 5 Stars

I need to start by saying that I read the updated e-galley of this one. From the email sent out by the publisher and from reviews on Goodreads, I guess the original copy that was uploaded to NetGalley and sent out went through some major revisions and a new copy was made available. I read the new, updated and what I assume, final copy.

I'm not one to give out 2 star reviews without great consideration before hand. I thought a lot about how I felt about Nirvana before sitting down to write this review and after consideration I can't say that I enjoyed this book.

The premise was very cool - I loved the idea of a world were virtual reality is actually a tangible THING that can affect society. Unfortunately with Nirvana, I never really got a firm fix on the rules of this world. It's a dystopian but it's only been a handful of years since the bees died and everything...changed? And there is one big corporation ruling the..world? City? I don't know and I honestly just didn't understand any of it.

And then there is Kenders. As a character I actually really liked her, but her timeline is beyond logic. It's around 2087 for most of the book. At the beginning, it seems as if Kenders just turned 17. But she's living with her fiance, she's been in a punk rock band, she was an activist, she has a car, an apartment, a job and SO MANY things in her life happened "years ago". No exaggeration - almost every past event she describes happened "years ago". When? When she was 14? Where are her parents? What was she actually doing as a teenager?

And her fiance, is at least 5 years older then her - and they have been together for at least 3 years...and she graduated...something...high school? College? And she was, enough of a pop rock star that her band mate can now make a living off of what sounds like a sort of Vegas show style living. And all of these really important live events happened years ago.

I couldn't get past this.

From what I can gather, I think in the first copy of the book that went out to reviews, Kenders was married. So maybe she was older? Maybe the story was reworked to be more YA and so she's now a teenager but other details of her life weren't changed enough? I really don't know.

Again - very confusing and very lacking in logical facts and the story unfortunately wasn't strong enough to make up the difference.

Even with all that said, I would read another book by this author. At the present, Nirvana appears to be their only published book (although it's going to be a trilogy?) but I have to say, I did enjoy the writing and the style. All the little details of Nirvana just didn't work together for me but overall, the story was a pretty good one.

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