Hey, all, it’s Alexa! And today, I’m here to offer my review on the first book in the Tricksters series, Nexis by A. L. Davroe.
Nexis (Tricksters, #1) by A.L. Davroe
Release Date: Dec. 1, 2015
Genre: YA Sci-Fi / YA Science Fiction
Published by: Entangled Teen
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.
This book is quite the ride. It begins in a unique setting that immediately draws you in with lovely writing and cool, sci-fi concepts, then slowly unfolds into something that I never could have expected. I don’t want to give spoilers for anything, but, while I did predict a few of the smaller surprises along the way, the bigger plot twists came out of nowhere, whiplash changing the whole story in a couple of pages. When I finished, I spent half a day feeling like I just woke up out of a dreamworld, lol. The process of the story was that epic.
My two problems with the plot were, one, Nexis and the real world didn’t seem to meld quite as well as they could have. Ellani had serious problems in her life in both, but so much focus was on Nexis, that the real world often slipped out of focus, even though—seeing as they were, in fact, real—those problems should’ve been a little more pressing. To be fair, the reasons for that were explained to a certain extent; but I still felt like, especially considering the way things turned out, the real world problems could’ve gotten more attention and been better intertwined with Nexis to help the story come to a more full and complete ending.
My second problem was that I thought it tried a little too hard to fit into dystopian genre conventions, when the idea was so well-written and so different, that it could’ve spiraled off into something completely other, rather than returning to the same dystopian ideas. Still, it was quite the page-turner, a gripping mashup of dystopian and gaming genres.
Plot: 3 1/2 stars out of 5.
There’s actually a rather large cast of characters in this book, but only a few whom you get to know really well: mostly the love interests, Guster and Ellani. I liked Ellani for the most part: she was insecure, but innovative and intelligent. Smart as she was though, she tended to make some pretty major mistakes when her feelings got a hold of her, often letting them make her decisions before she could actually think about them. Still, hers was quite the character journey and watching her come out of it to accept herself for herself was pretty beautiful to read. I’d post the quote here… but I think I’ll let you read it for yourself instead. 😉
Guster… Guster was a kind, funny, interesting, and frankly, hot guy. Though it took me a while to decide whether or not he could be trusted, he certainly made each of his scenes amusing and exciting.
Characters: 3 1/2 stars out of 5.
The writing in this book is amazing. It’s written in a style that should feel kind of beginner because of the occasional telling and info-dumps from Ella’s mind, but it’s got this lovely touch that serves to show Ella’s personality, using that, along with the dialogue of other characters, to flesh out this uniquely atmospheric sci-fi world in a perfectly complementary way. And the way she described things like rain and flipping grass in the world of Nexis… it just makes you realize how incredible these simple things really are and how much we do tend to take them for granted.
I crash through an actual stream with water so clear and pure that I can see the rainbow-colored pebbles at the bottom. Shafts of true sunlight break through the bright green canopy, casting motes of dust and the tiny bodies of insects in golden relief against the woody undergrowth, warming my skin when I pass beneath them. I suck in air that is hot but moist and has a taste of something rich and secret—as if simply breathing it in might be the cure for all ailments.
Also, the spider theme tie-ins were brilliant.
Writing style/setting: 5 stars out of 5.
And so we come at exactly 4 stars out of 5. Like I said, this book was a ride to read and, though I’m not sure how I feel about the ending, I certainly enjoyed the experience of the story. If you’d like to pick up a copy for yourself, you can find it, on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and its Entangled Page.
And now for some info about book 2:
Redux (Tricksters, #2) by A.L. Davroe
Release Date: March 21st, 2017
Genre: YA Sci-Fi / YA Science Fiction
Published by: Entangled Teen
The domed city of Evanescence is in ruins. With nowhere to go, prodigy hacker Ellani “Ella” Drexel and a small band of survivors flee to the Undertunnel below their city.
To escape the wasteland she unknowingly created.
But sanctuary is hard to find. With malfunctioning androids and angry rebels at their backs, the group hopes to press on for the neighboring city of Cadence. But Ella’s chosen path is challenging…life-threatening, even. Worse, the boy she loves is acting distant, and not at all like the person she first met in Nexis.
But then Ella learns a secret…and it changes everything.
Ella knows she needs to turn back and make a stand to reclaim her home. She’s determined to bring a new—and better—life to all who’ve suffered.
Or die trying.
About the Author:
A.L. (Amanda) Davroe 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 and makes cheese. 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.
So have you ever read a book with gamer tie-ins? Hope you enjoyed the review, and don’t forget to check out the other stops on the tour!
~ Love, Alexa ❤
Notes: I voluntarily reviewed a free ecopy of this book.
Content: Some cursing and sequences of intense violence; sexual content.