Author: J. R. Stewart
Series: Nirvana #1
Edition: E-book ARC (thanks NetGalley!)
Blurb: 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 book was good, but not great. There were lots of elements that I enjoyed – you all know how much I love my dystopian dramas and strong female leads. While this had both of those things, there was something that was just slightly off the mark on this one, although I’m not sure what it was.
As I have mentioned previously, there was a bit of a Ready Player One vibe to this – a planet devastated and destroyed, it’s inhabitants escaping to a virtual world in order to cope. In this, we get the added bonus of that virtual world being in the hands of the large global corporation that is seeking to control everyone and everything. The villains themselves were a bit one dimensional. Kenders is a pretty good heroine, one that is not content with taking things at face value, and who is very determined to find out the truth no matter what.
I also liked their way of destroying the world involving something happening to the bee populations. No bees = no pollination = dwindling plant life = the world falling apart. Makes sense.
A lot of plot points felt very repetitive to me, especially the ending. When I finally got there, I felt like I had already read that set up before. We’ve already done this, and now we have to do it again. It makes me wonder what new things the author has in store for the next book, because the set up feels like I will be reading the same story over again, which I don’t necessarily want to do.
GoodReads Rating: 3 stars. Not a bad read, but not a memorable one either.