2015 Book #115 – Nirvana by J.R. Stewart

41K9CIKcNGL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Nirvana
Author: J.R. Stewart
Date finished: 11/13/15
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Blue Moon Publishers
Publication Date: November 10, 2015
Pages in book: 201
Stand alone or series: Nirvana series #1
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

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. Are you ready to enter Nirvana?

My rating: 3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Larissa Kenders and her husband Andrew. Larissa and Andrew live in the Barracks in the year 2036. This is after “the Extinction,” a time when there are no bees and therefore pretty much no food since bees pollenate most plants. Andrew was killed in a recent “mission” and Larissa is trying to come to terms with this and either figure out how to find his body or move on with her life. It is hard to tell who she should and shouldn’t trust since honestly her friend from childhood is a selfish asshole who she should be able to trust but we as the readers find out some pretty awful stuff about him.
Anyways, so through the book we learn more about what life is like in the year 2036. There are pretty much 3 main places you can live: the Barracks, where the soldiers and scientists live, the Farm where the laborers live (very feudal-like system, the people who live on the Farm are basically serfs) and the Bubble where the “elite” live. This concept reminded me a little of how the Hunger Games government was set up since the Farm labors to provide food for the Bubble, just like the Districts labored to provide for the Capitol. This book also had pieces that reminded me of the Matrix since they often enter into a virtual world where they can do whatever they want and Larissa is trying to figure out what is real and what isn’t since she sees Andrew in this virtual world and also because Serge is a LOT controlling and could have trapped her in a virtual world without thinking twice if it would keep her with him. The book ends with a big twist (won’t spoil it!!) but we’re left wondering if Andrew is alive and what is real and what isn’t.
Overall I enjoyed this book a lot. Anyone who likes young adult dystopian novels will most likely love this book. I hate books that end in a cliffhanger only because I hate waiting to find out what is going to happen and also because I’m left with a lot of unanswered questions at the end of the book which is frustrating for me. To be honest if I had known this was a series I would have done what I normally do and waited until all the books in the series came out and then read them all at once. I guess I will just have to wait for the next book to come out though. There are a few things about the book I didn’t love. Larissa is just a tad too whiny for my tastes but not so much that it ruined the story for me. And I don’t understand why she keeps thinking her sister is going to be worried about her or looking for her. Her sister abandoned her to her pedophile father, why does Larissa think her sister is all of a sudden worried about her? Other than those couple small things I liked the book!

The bottom line: I would recommend this book to people who like dystopian young adult novels with a forewarning that there is a cliffhanger at the end. Good book though!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

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