Book Review: Trapped in a virtual world makes her question reality;what is real, what is Nirvana?



By J.R. Stewart

In 2087 the world is not as we know it today. J.R. Stewart creates a post apocalyptic world after the “Extinction.” The bees became extinct and plant life soon depleted.  With the ecosystems devastated the climate changed and weather patterns turned the once fertile earth into a dusty wasteland. A corporation called Hexagon saved the only water resource but at a cost.

In this new civilization, citizens without financial means work the Farm to supply food and services to the rest of the citizens; or they face destitute circumstances as outliers. Some apply for the Hexagon academy to avoid going to the farm. Those that survive training will protect dignitaries and the higher echelons of Hexagon. If a citizen is rich enough they live in the Bubble, a biodome of sorts. The world is no longer run by the government it is controlled by the private corporation Hexagon.

If you take The Matrix and merge it with Total Recall Nirvana is born; a virtual reality program world that is run by Hexagon. The entire planet and everything it contained has been recreated in Nirvana in addition to other worlds/planets as well. Anyone that can afford Nirvana can go to any place or on any adventure that their imagination can create.

Larissa Kenders is engaged to Andrew, the visionary programmer behind Nirvana. They are lucky to live at the headquarters of Hexagon.  While Andrew works on research and ways to improve Nirvana, he is tasked with finding a revolutionary way for Hexagon to make even more money off of his programs.  Kenders works as a pod operator, connecting people to their 15 minutes of Nirvana. Previous to the Extinction she was a musician in a punk band while attending university.

As the story progresses, Andrew goes missing inside of Nirvana. His body is found burned from a supposed lab accident. However, he previously told Kenders not to trust anyone. The mystery deepens as she communicates with Andrew whenever she goes into Nirvana. Larissa has a difficult time deciphering reality from the virtual world. When Andrew asks her to unveil Hexagon’s dark secret the action quickens as her life becomes endangered.

Readers will be excited with Nirvana, the book, as the cast of characters make you want to dive head first into this fictional world. The story line is intriguing in that it hooks you from the beginning and pulls you along for a wonderful science fiction ride. It is unlike any of the others in the Y/A dystopian S/F genre.

The first of a trilogy, Nirvana is a peek into real technologies that are being developed today.  Not in a far off fictional world, the science and technology is real and applied in today’s world. The question is to what use can this technology be used and is it nefarious to the human psyche? Author J.R. Stewart brings real life experience from working in the field of virtual reality in both academia and corporate life.  The story of the novel comes to life because of the detail and richness of the elements involved.

I look forward to continuing the story in the sequels to come.

FTC Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this title from Blue Moon Publishing via Net Galley for review purposes only; no other compensation was awarded.


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