by Dan Wells
Los Angeles in 2050 is a city of open doors, as long as you have the right connections. That connection is a djinni—a smart device implanted right in a person’s head. In a world where virtually everyone is online twenty-four hours a day, this connection is like oxygen—and a world like that presents plenty of opportunities for someone who knows how to manipulate it.
Marisa Carneseca is one of those people. She might spend her days in Mirador, but she lives on the net—going to school, playing games, hanging out, or doing things of more questionable legality with her friends Sahara and Anja. And it’s Anja who first gets her hands on Bluescreen—a virtual drug that plugs right into a person’s djinni and delivers a massive, nonchemical, completely safe high. But in this city, when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is, and Mari and her friends soon find themselves in the middle of a conspiracy that is much bigger than they ever suspected.
So… the book starts off with VR gaming, which is awesome. This high-tech universe is what drew me into the world and it got me really excited the way it started out: all high action and intensity. However, it turns out to not be the main plot. The main plot is something quite different entirely and I was a little disappointed about this. I felt misled.
This is gonna sound really sad and pathetic, but I was shocked by how much representation was in this book. To be honest, I’m not sure a single character in this book was Caucasian or at least, not full Caucasian, and there was representation of different sexual preferences, as well. It was so well oriented into the story, though, that it wasn’t made a big thing. These characters were who they were. No questions asked. No judgment. No big deal. It was amazing and refreshing!
One thing I commend this story for is how open and realistic and dark it is. It deals with issues such as poverty, tech-attachment, cultural aspects, drug dealing, community. It’s not a light, fluffy story. It deals with some dark stuff and I can’t honestly say whether this would be considered a ‘happy ending,’ but that’s why I rather enjoyed it. It wasn’t afraid to reach into the unspoken topics and bring them into the light.
This… took a while to get into. It was a lot of run around without any answers or any ideas and that made it difficult to get into the story. And, sadly, I wouldn’t say the pace really picks up, at least not in a realistic manner. This may be why I wasn’t really a huge fan of the story as a whole, but I liked certain details.