Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Book Review: Nirvana (Nirvana Series Book 1) by J.R. Stewart

Nirvana (Nirvana Series Book 1)
By J.R. Stewart
Publisher: Blue Moon Publishers 
Published: Nov. 10, 2015
Amazon Synopsis:

When the real world is emptied of all that you love, how can you keep yourself from dependence on the virtual? 

Larissa Kenders lives in a world where the real and the virtual intermingle daily. After the supposed death of her soulmate, Andrew, Larissa is able to find solace by escaping to Nirvana, a virtual world where anything is possible – even visits with Andrew. Although Larissa is told that these meetings are not real, she cannot shake her suspicion that Andrew is indeed alive. When she begins an investigation of Hexagon, the very institution that she has been taught to trust, Larissa uncovers much more than she ever expected and places herself in serious danger. Her biggest challenge, however, remains determining what is real – and what is virtual. 

Nirvana is the first instalment in the three-part “Nirvana” series, a fast-paced, page-turning young adult trilogy that combines elements of the romance, mystery, and science fiction genres. This first novel introduces readers to a heroine 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?

Book Links

My Thoughts:

The world that Larissa Kenders lives in is a bleak one. With the death of all the bees, a world-wide chain reaction in the ecology of the planet has caused massive food shortages and other disasters. Hexagon has brought order back to the world such as it is.

Kenders’ belief that Andrew was still alive despite the military’s insistence that he was dead after their searches for him was tearing her apart. The time she spent in Nirvana, a virtual world where anything can happen, and she could visit with Andrew only cemented in her mind that Andrew was still alive. Yet still the military wanted her to sign the death certificate and make it final.

Was it possible that there was a conspiracy in Hexagon? Andrew’s work for them was top secret. Kenders didn’t know what he was researching. And his contract stated that Hexagon was not responsible for his death or disappearance.

Kenders’ time in Nirvana and then in her friend’s private VR while she was in the Bubble began to blur with reality so much that she began to confuse the two. Solving the mystery of whether or not Andrew was alive was her top priority and amid the twists and turns of the story she comes across an amazing discovery.

This is one of those books that are hard to write a review for without giving anything away. It was very intriguing and once you’ve read the author’s bio, it will leave you wondering how close science fiction is coming to science fact.

Nirvana is a thought-provoking speculative science fiction novel where the use of virtual reality could have profound psychological and emotional effects on the users. Even as we see the addictive nature of technology in the form of phones and tablets, with VR encompassing more of the user’s senses, I think the addictiveness will be even greater. How long can an individual survive in virtual reality?

I found Nirvana to be most enjoyable as a mystery and science fiction novel. Knowing that VR technology is just around the corner on the market makes this book all the more interesting as we watch as see how close to reality it may come. I am looking forward to the next book in this series. I gave this novel a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.

Thank you to the publishers via NetGalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. A positive opinion was not required. All thoughts are my own.

About the Author:

J.R. Stewart has worked on many government and corporate projects throughout a prolific IT academic and consulting career and has become one of North America's foremost experts on virtual reality. After having worked on advanced "VR" technologies for over a decade, Stewart grew concerned about the implications of this work and the possible psychological effects that it may have on its users. In 2010, Stewart considered publishing a revealing account of the advances being made regarding this technology, but was concerned about the implications that a tell-all book may have on career prospects. The next year, writing under a protective pseudonym, Stewart began work on the speculative "Nirvana" series instead. Finally ready for publication, these novels present a story that is closer to reality than you may assume. 

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