I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Nirvana by J.R. Stewart
Published by Blue Moon Publishers on November 10th 2015
Buy on Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, Book Depository
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 is my review of the revised and published edition of Nirvana. My review of the ARC copy of Nirvana, which I enjoyed, can be found here.
I’m pretty sure Nirvana was rewritten to fit with a middle grade audience or YA focus on the second go around. I’m not a reader of middle grade fiction, so my review probably doesn’t really fit with the intended audience..but Nirvana works better as an New Adult Speculative Fiction title than a Young Adult title.
To be fair, in such a short amount of time the author rewrote Nirvana better than I ever could.
Uhh..okay. So, the release copy of Nirvana is a completely different book from the ARC copy. I kind of really enjoyed the ARC copy. I don’t know if liking the first copy ruined the completely altered version of Nirvana for me, but I didn’t really enjoy it as much. It felt like a different novel with a completely different story and tone..
First off, I didn’t really click with Kenders. She’s kind of strange and the whole punk rock star thing turned me off immediately. Originally I hated how weak her character was, but now its over compensated by a fanatical “save everyone” version of Kenders who still makes really selfish decisions.
I felt like most of the book was sensationalized to pander to reviewers who called the first copy boring. The characters were dramatic, over-embellished instead of mysterious. There was a scene about a coyote/fox/something that was run over multiple times to show how evil a particular character was that really bothered me..
Mostly, I was sad that the science portion of the novel was cut and the novel became predominantly middle grade focused (except there’s a sexual element that makes it YA?). I still stand by my comment that Nirvana did a great job separating itself from the current speculative fiction genre, but I also mourn the disappearance of a the aspects of the book that really hooked me the first time.
I wouldn’t be opposed to reading an NA or Adult spin off of Nirvana with all the aspects of the first novel: conspiracy, dysoptian, mystery. Maybe a pre-fall novel surrounding the creators of Hexagon?