Series: Tricksters #1
Also in this series: , Redux
Published by Entangled Teen on 12/1/15
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult, Dystopian
My content rating: YA (Characters have sex, but it's not really shown, Some violence)
In the domed city of Evanescence, appearance is everything. A Natural Born amongst genetically-altered Aristocrats, all Ella ever wanted was to be like everyone else. Augmented, sparkling, and perfect. Then…the crash. Devastated by her father’s death and struggling with her new physical limitations, Ella is terrified to learn she is not just alone, but little more than a prisoner.
Her only escape is to lose herself in Nexis, the hugely popular virtual reality game her father created. In Nexis she meets Guster, a senior player who guides Ella through the strange and compelling new world she now inhabits. He offers Ella guidance, friendship…and something more. Something that allows her to forget about the “real” world, and makes her feel whole again.
But Nexis isn’t quite the game everyone thinks it is.
And it’s been waiting for Ella.
Nexis is an innovative new YA sci-fi dystopian set in the post-apocalyptic future. The Aristocrats have created their own perfect society, separate from the undesirables outside the walls. Still, everyone needs a little outlet, right? That’s why they’re all so excited about Ella’s father’s virtual reality video game – a game so engrossing that he had to set a time limit so that people wouldn’t just play indefinitely and live out the rest of their lives in the game! Ella has always been resistant to the idea of Nexis because it kept her father so incredibly busy that he didn’t have time for her. But after an accident takes his life (and her legs), Nexis is the only way she can get close to him. And she starts to realize that her father meant the game for her all along …
What I enjoyed:
- Altered. In Ella’s society, everyone is altered – people genetically alter their offspring to be perfect and then everyone twists their own perfection with augmentations – basically extreme forms of plastic surgery that allows everyone to follow the latest crazy fads so they can stand out from the crowd. Ella is not only a Natural because she wasn’t genetically altered, but her father also won’t let her modify herself in any way, so she feels extremely out of place in society. Her long-dead mother was a naturalist, and Ella’s father promised he would keep his daughter “real.” This altered society setting was fascinating – I could vividly imagine all of the crazy alterations that people had received and it made the society very unique and interesting!!
- Nexis. The video game world itself was quite a surprise to me. I loved that it was very realistic in many ways, but still so foreign to Ella. And then there were the game elements – I loved the little touches like the coins that you got when you killed someone in the game.
- Guster. What’s a video game world without a virtual love interest, right? I loved the concept of people living completely separate lives in the game and in the outside world. People would even get married and have kids in the game – little virtual children who didn’t really exist. It’s kind of mind boggling. But, anyway, back to Guster. He and Ella forge a real connection in the game and I was definitely invested in their relationship. Because they spend a full year playing the game, the romance didn’t feel rushed or unbelievable, even if they couldn’t spend any of their “real” lives together. There was some mystery about Guster’s real-life identity, and a few twists and turns there that I am VERY eager to see play out in the next book!
- Twists and turns in the real world. While Ella was playing the game, there were quite a few complications going on in her actual life. Things got dicey – and while there were a few twists that I predicted, I never expected how far it would all go! Once again, I can’t wait to see what Davroe has in store for us with the second book.
- Slight confusion. Occasionally, the sci-fi elements of this book went over my head. There were some sequences in the video game where I thought, Wait, what just happened? There were threads that did what? And there were times when I wasn’t clear what Ella thought the mission was that she was fighting so hard for. But, for the most part, I have to confess that I just let those moments pass me by and didn’t worry about them too much. I’d much rather have a unique and original sci-fi premise that occasionally confuses me in small spots than a boring premise that I’ve seen a hundred times before!
If you’re a fan of mind-bending sci-fi, video games or dystopians in general, I’d definitely pick this one up! Then get ready to read a story that’s unique and exhilarating! I give this book 4/5 stars.
***Disclosure: I received this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
About the Author
A.L. (Amanda) writes both YA and adult speculative fiction. She prefers revisionist tales in paranormal, romance, Steampunk, and fantasy. She is the author of Salvation Station (adult psych horror), The City Steam Collection (adult psych horror), For Your Heart (YA Paranormal Romance) and her YA Sci-Fi novel, Nexis, is coming out with Entangled Publishing December 1, 2015!
By day, Amanda lives in Connecticut with her two feline hench-creatures. She’s a terrible blusher, has a weak spot for cuddly animals, loves Laffy Taffy and Cadbury MiniEggs, and she’s a huge advocate of alternative healing methods. Amanda also wears purple shoes and corsets…Though not always in the same ensemble. She’s a Capricorn, a Hufflepuff, a bit gothic, and a few nuggets short of a Happy Meal. Amanda also suffers from Resting Bitchface Syndrome (RBS), so even though she might look like she’ll tie you in a knot if you come near her, she’s more afraid of you than you are of her (see blushing problem above).