Title: NirvanaAuthor: J.R. Stewart
After leaving Ernest Cline’s thrilling novel Ready Player One, I was so excited to pick up Nirvana, another book that explores virtual reality. In this novel, Larissa is mourning her husband, who vanished without a trace not too long ago. She finds him in the virutal reality called Nirvana, and thus truly believes that it is impossible for her soulmate to be dead, despite what everyone is telling her.
Unfortunately, this book cannot be compared to RPO. I feel like a lot of this book had so much potential (and so many people will pick it up purely from the beautiful cover and gripping synopsis) but did not deliver. There is a lot of world building, but it all feels too much and not enough — there is a lot of telling and not that much showing through the book. Sometimes it feels like I was reading a philosophical essay on the consequences of the extinction of bees rather than the fast-paced novel I thought I had requested.
Also, this book is sombre, and not in a chilling or inspiring way. It’s downright depressing. Larissa is very depressed, and most of the time, she only argues that Andrew isn’t dead. In the first chapter of the book, we meet this interesting character, and by the 50% mark, I was mourning her. She promises in the first chapter that she would never depend on Andrew, but the rest of the book is just about her moping that she can’t prove Andrew is alive. I didn’t like Larissa, I didn’t like Corporal, I didn’t like Serge… Even Andrew was flat. I never felt like I knew these characters enough to identify with them. Thus, the plot and the characters were very forgettable.
There is potential to this book; I just hope there will be some serious rewriting before it’s published. I understand why some people liked it, but to me, it didn’t hold my attention. There were some good parts to it though — I couldn’t give it only one star. The love story between Andrew and Kenders is very passionate and endearing, and it’s the book’s redeeming quality.
I would like to thank Blue Moon Publishers, as well as Netgalley, for the free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.