Friday, October 30, 2015

"Nirvana" by J.R. Stewart


"But I can spend my time patrolling a dusty wasteland because Hexagon shut down my band the moment Andrew disappeared? Anger flared in her eyes and she tossed her head defiantly. "They forced me to marry Andrew to live here with him. Now that he's gone, they're writing both of us off.............."      Larissa

Welcome to this new trilogy. We're started off with the first book called "Nirvana." Here you'll be introduced into a new world where technology is definitely strong in the characters daily lives. It will cause you to wonder what it would be like to live like this. A place where you can't live without what they have to offer but wish you'd never have to find out. Picture July and the year is 2031...

Larissa is hard edged punk rocker, who loves animals and her husband Andrew. Living in a dystopian world with everything falling down around them. Larissa dreams of things like apples. Living in a place where the food is now engineered and there are no fruits or vegetables.

Currently Larissa is under military protection, brought there by Andrew to be safe. He is believed to be dead. Larissa can't give up on him. There is no body. She plays the role she must to survive. The Corporal that Andrew wanted to watch over her, sets her up time to relax in a virtual reality place called Nirvana.  A place where you put headphones on and enter. A world where everything appears to be real to you. She can communicate with Andrew here.  Normally her contract allows for a 15 minute pass here once a week. Corporal has given her two hours to explore.

Nirvana is a place where you can swim with dolphins or go out on dates with famous people. You can learn to fly or go to rock concerts. Anything your heart desires. Larissa is using Nirvana to communicate with Andrew. It's the only time she can be with him now. Is he real? Did he die in the war he left for the last time she saw him? Did he program himself into Nirvana so that she'd never have to live without him completely?

Andrew worked as a astrophysics research scientist for the corporation of Hexagon, but within the confines of the military, and he was known as a soldier. Hence this is how they came to be protected and living on a military base. Something in his job has either led to his death or led to him hiding in Nirvana. Larissa is determined to find out where he is or if he is in fact alive. Or is Hexagon orchestrating all of this to keep her from something? But what? Larissa isn't even sure what his job covered. There are people here determined to convince Larissa to sign off on Andrews death.

There is a place called "the Bubble" where the rich live operated by Hexagon. Larissa is sent there for a month to think on her decision on singing off on Andrews death. Hexagon and their people are trying to get information out of Larissa as to what she knows about Andrews last mission. She's giving up nothing. Maybe there she can find some answers on her quest for Andrew. Someone she knows there invented Nirvana after all. Serge tries to talk her into moving back to "The Bubble" and starting over with her music, form a new band. She won't leave the last place she was with Andrew. Not until she knows the truth. Maybe Serge can help her as he has secrets and feelings of his own.

With every Nirvana though there has to be a downside doesn't there? It's not reality for one thing but the people involved aren't necessarily on the side of good. Evil reigns and Andrew knew their secret. Is he dead or is he hidden away forever? You'll have to read this one to find out if Larissa and Andrew are ever back together of if Larissa can at least discover what happened to him.  

I would categorize this as a YA Thriller. I hate to put too many limits as to what kind of book this is because sometimes that will steer someone away. They may say "well I don't read young adult " etc. I'm saying you should perhaps give it a chance. I don't think you'll be sorry. Sometimes it's fascinating to read a book where you can wander outside the box and think about what life might be like -if everything was different. Its amazing to think if virtual reality were possible- where you could do or be anything. I found this book to be fun to allow myself to think about a magical place like "Nirvana." It's just the beginning, you'll want to read on to find out about Larissa and Andrew's story. To see where they go and where life takes them. Reality or in a virtual reality? With a nice little cliffhanger at the end. You'll have to read the next in the series to see how this turns out. 

"A dystopia is a community or society that is undesirable or frightening. It is translated as "not-good place", an antonym of utopia, a term that was coined by sir Thomas More and figures as the title of his most well-known work, "Utopia." Wikipedia

Thank you to Netgalley and Blue Moon Publishers for the A.R.C.