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 realised – 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.
I have conflicting feelings about this book. It was quite an interesting premise; virtual reality is quite a fascinating topic, I think. However, I didn’t really feel like this book lived up to it’s full potential.
I think the main aspect that was lacking for me was the characters. I felt that all the characterisation was quite weak, and I didn’t really connect with any of them, including the narrator, Kenders. The relationships that Kenders had with Andrew and Serge were both rather lacking. She’s supposed to have all these strong feelings for both of them, but it felt very half-hearted. I think that, had these relationships been developed a little more, the characters would have felt a lot more real.
It felt like the story jumped into all the drama way too soon. There was very little world, character or relationship building, and the whole story really suffered as a result. We were told some aspects about what happened to Earth throughout the book, but it lacked solid explanation, so I was left feeling a bit too in-the-dark for my liking.
I did think the whole virtual reality/Nirvana thing was really cool. I thought it was laid out and explained quite well. It did feel like the whole book had been written around this idea of Nirvana, though, and everything else was sort of in the background.
There was also a really strange cliffhanger that just didn’t really work. It came at the last second, and was just rather meaningless. I understand that cliffhangers are a popular way to lead into the next book of a series, but in this case, it just flopped.
Overall, I think this book had great potential, but it didn’t quite get there. Though there was quite a strong storyline, the characters and relationships weren’t quite so developed.