Backstory: I first reviewed this novel as an ARC from Netgalley a few months ago. This is my first review. I was approached by the author’s marketing agent to see if I’d be willing to read an edited version of the book based on the early reviews. This review is based on that edited version. My opinions are still my own and as honest as I could be.
Author: J.R. Stewart
Publisher: Blue Moon Publishers
Genre: Science Fiction
Setting: 2030s Canada
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 installment 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.
From the beginning, this book didn’t even read like the previous version. The writing is much stronger. I didn’t have any of the problems I previously had following the timeline and the story just made more sense. The characters each had discernible roles within the story and were all great personalities that added to the plot.
Kenders, our main character, is strong-willed while still being vulnerable. She’s very human with all the flaws and mistakes that make us so. But she faces her fears head on, uses her instincts to figure out who to trust, and keeps going to find the truth no matter what. I liked that while she was this strong personality, she still could be scared and cry and that didn’t take away from the fact that she’s the heroine at all.
I also liked the ending much better as well. The author moves the story along to the next point, leaving us a cliff-hanger, and it makes you want to read the next book in the trilogy rather than being irritated that we were left with a cliff-hanger. That being said…While I would like to read the next book and if I had had it in my Kindle app waiting to be read I would have immediately started it, waiting for the next book doesn’t have me on the edge of my seat like other books would. Do you know what I mean? I enjoyed this book and it was entertaining with unique themes but there was still something missing that wasn’t there to grab me. I would rate this book a very solid 3 1/2 hearts out of 5 and would recommend it to other scifi/dystopian fans.