In the domed city of Evanescence, appearance is everything. A Natural Born among 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 when their separate worlds collide, Ella will have to choose between love and survival. Because Nexis isn’t quite the game everyone thinks it is.
And it’s been waiting for Ella.
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A Tricksters Novel
By A. L. Davroe, Liz Pelletier
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 A.L. Davroe
All rights reserved.
Post-American Date: 6/14/231
Longitudinal Timestamp: 8:05 p.m.
Location: Dome 5: Evanescence
I stand frozen, my arm intertwined with my father's and my body seized tight as a thermal coil, too frightened to step beneath the arched gate. G-Corp's grand ballroom is broad and high, like the orchestra halls of old, but this nano-glass bubble held high by steel girders and thick white columns is not a place where music is born. It's a place where futures are born — where my future begins. Breathless, I stare down, taking in the perfect features, exotic touches, pale skin, shimmering fabric, and delicate details of the inhabitants of my new realm: The Elite of the Aristocracy.
Dad leans in close. "What do you think?"
"Wow." I'm not sure he can hear the word over my thundering heart.
"I know," Dad says. "Can you imagine that The Broadcast was actually concerned about whether this place was an adequate location for this year's Executive Ball?"
This year the ball is being held on the hover-station — a massive platform that hangs suspended between the city of Evanescence and the dome that protects her from the harsh world outside. I force myself to look away from the realm below and up at him, confused. "Why?"
He rolls his eyes as he guides me across the landing and toward the stairs. "Apparently they weren't certain if it would meet the expectations of Evanescence's most discerning Aristocrats. Though, I can't imagine something grander than this, can you?"
I give him an "are you kidding me" expression and turn back to the guests.
Dad clears his throat, touches the brass-colored plastic buttons on his lapel, and straightens his shoulders. "Ready?"
I pull up a cool, Aristocratic smile and paste it there. "As I'll ever be," I say through the fake expression. We descend the main staircase, the clicking of our hard plastic soles silenced by the thick pile of a green rug lining the chrome steps.
As we make our descent the spotlights swing wide and pin their heat upon us. For a mere instant, they blind me, making me feel like I've died and am walking into the light of mythical heaven — descending into the dream-realm of angels. But then my shoe clacks onto the hard white tile of the dance floor, and I'm reminded of my tangible, mortal world.
As if on cue, thousands of projected fireworks spring to life in midair — twinkling in and out of existence like vivid flowers — blooming and dying in time with the siren-song of GAGA 8.9, the cyberstar that G-Corp chose to sing for our entrance. I feel frozen again, drowned and unable to process my surroundings beyond the noise and light and all the confused emotion welling in my stomach.
As the fireworks sparkle out and I'm left standing under the bright lights, I remember where I am, and I swallow hard. Against the creamy tiles and columns hedging the staircase, against the emerald green carpet and reflective chrome, against all the clean perfection, I feel like an ugly scab. Logically, I know that no one is staring at me. My father is the one the spotlights are for, and there are so many other beautiful things to look at that the Elite couldn't possibly bother with me, but I still feel like they are glaring at me, accusing and unaccepting. I imagine the men and women are whispering to one another, their lips moving indiscernibly behind raised fans and champagne flutes, calling out and disowning my dark, imperfect Natural features.
Dad steps close and places a hand on my bare elbow. "Ellani, are you all right?"
I look up at him. My expression must tell him how I'm feeling, because his cool fingers tighten on my feverish skin and he smiles his reassurance. "It is a bit overwhelming at first. Isn't it?"
"They're staring at me," I mutter, hoping he can understand through my glued-on expression of congenial happiness.
Dad's face breaks into a broad grin as his hazel eyes flash across the throngs of Primped, Altered, and Modified Aristocrats. "As well they should."
I give a sidelong glance at Dad, uncertain if he's being cocky or honest. I can't tell. He has a right to be cocky. In less than a month, my father — a mere Programmer who once barely managed to scrape by on the fringes of the Aristocracy — has managed to climb to the top of Central Staffing's personnel list and is now one of the Elite.
President Cyr, the man who owns the whole of G-Corp, and thus all of Evanescence, steps up onto the platform centered in the middle of the vast circular room. His presence renders everyone still and quiet, as if he has the ability to control our behavior with a single thought. As expected of the President, he's perfect: tall and handsome, with hair that has been Altered to the color of sapphires and skin that glints under the spotlights. He's dressed in bright white, a color only the Presidential Family is allowed to wear. For a moment, his silvery eyes sweep over the crowd, his smile growing deeper and wider until I think that it must be painful for him to smile so enthusiastically.
Once he sees that everyone's eyes are upon him, he bends close to the sensors. "Ladies and gentlemen." As his voice blares throughout the room, he sweeps his arm wide, overtaking the crowd and holding his hand out in the direction of where my father and I are standing. The spotlights come back to us. "Warren Drexel."
The crowd explodes. As they clap and yell my father's name I ball my fists, trying to keep myself from shaking. All I can do is hope that no one notices how plain I am in comparison to my father — that my holo-mask does what I've programmed it to do: hide me in plain sight. Holding my breath, I dip into a well-practiced curtsy and say a secret prayer that I won't do something uncharacteristically stupid like bend over too far and land on my face.
As I straighten, the holo-screens hovering over the dance floor flash replays of this evening's awards ceremony where my father received Evanescence's most prestigious accolade: G-Corp's Civil Enrichment Award. He received that award for the development of Nexis, the most advanced and entertaining virtual-reality game in the known history of Post-America.
My father smiles and waves in appreciation, hamming it up for the crowd. But most of them are now focused on the screens, their internal programming telling them not to look away lest they miss something important. When The Broadcast shows a replay of the award being presented to my father, there is another round of applause and appreciative murmurs. Everyone listens to my father's acceptance speech, and they renew their appreciation when he exits the stage. Then the screens go still, their broad, flat expanses reflecting G-Corp's emblem — a silver G on a green triangle.
All eyes go back to the center of the room, but President Cyr is no longer at his podium. For a long moment, everyone seems at a loss as to what to do next. The cheering dies down and in the next instant it's as though Dad's sudden fame is forgotten. GAGA 8.9 gets back up onstage and begins another song. In a flurry of sharp brocade coattails and gossamer gowns cut in the Neo-Baroque fashion, the crowd turns back to their conversations, the perfect epitome of what all Aristocrats are like — bored and quickly dissatisfied with the latest trends.
"Sheep," my father mutters under his breath. He puts his hand to my back and urges me away from the stairs.
An android walks by, her chasis the typical service model — bland and forgettable — and her outfit a black uniform with the G-Corp emblem on the chest. She's guiding a hover-tray piled with plates of jewel-colored fruits, hearty vegetables, delicately cooked meats, and exotic cheeses.
My mouth waters as I reach out and snatch a plate.
My father does the same. "The only good part about these damned balls is the food." He turns to face me and grimaces. "Would you turn that ridiculous thing off? I want to see my daughter when I speak to her."
Annoyed and a little self-conscious, I turn my holo-mask off. Without the customized holographic projection that I've programmed into it, people will be able to see what I really look like.
I avoid looking at the people around me as I pop a grape into my mouth. With a small moan of pleasure, I close my eyes, relishing the sharp snap of the skin as my teeth clamp down and savoring the tart flavor oozing around my tongue. I chew it slowly, loving how refreshing and sweet such a small piece of food can be.
Dad picks up a piece of apple. "It's a crime how something that was once so common is now so rare," he reflects.
I nod. Most agricultural land outside has been destroyed, and hydroponic space within the dome is at a premium, making fresh produce expensive. Only synthetic and preservative laden foods are easy to come by now. "That's the case for lower-class Aristocrats, but that won't be an issue for us now, right?" I say, hopeful. "With the success of your game?"
He examines the apple, thoughtful. "You know, apples used to grow all over America. There's this fun little tale about a man named Johnny Appleseed."
I give him a pained expression. "Please Dad, not here."
He takes a deep breath and holds it, his intelligent eyes examining me. "You know, there was a time you liked my stories."
I roll my eyes. "I do, Dad. Just — not right now. It's embarrassing how you go off on these tangents about what was and used to be." I want to tell him that he sounds like a crazy man, the way he obsesses about the past, but I don't think he'd take that well.
"I'm trying to make a point, Ella."
"I know. It was so much better before the war. I get it, Dad. But ..." I take a breath, trying to collect my thoughts. "Why bother? It's not like anyone complains about it. I mean, most people don't even know what it was like before the war. The Aristocrats only know Evanescence. It doesn't matter that a chasis was once an internal frame or that it was spelled differently. And no one cares that we didn't spell things with far fewer capitals," I say, using examples he gave at breakfast this morning when a lecture on my misuse of singular and plural pronouns (whatever those are) turned into him going on a tirade about how proper grammar has declined over the last few hundred years. "That was then, this is now. A chasis is an android overlay and it's spelled with only one S and random things are capitalized. Besides," I add, getting back on topic, "the Aristocracy prefers the taste of synthetic, preservative-laden food anyway. It's not like most of us can't afford to eat such unhealthy food."
Now it's Dad's turn to roll his eyes. "Oh yes, with the advent of Custom babies, most predispositions to disease, weight gain, and slow metabolisms have been removed from the Aristocratic genome. Besides, even if Aristocrats did manage to gain weight, they could just have the fatty tissue removed, couldn't they?" There's a strange, part-sarcastic, part-bitter tone to his voice that I don't quite understand.
I squint at him, unsure of what he's getting at. He takes a bite of the apple, chews it, and then frowns. "They taste better in Nexis."
I open my mouth to respond, but a shadow manifests in the corner of my vision, and a smooth, familiar voice interjects. "I completely agree."
Dad's eyes light up. "I figured you would, Zane."
Zane? I glance up at the newcomer just as he flashes a perfect grin that I've sighed over more than once when he shows up on The Broadcast. Zane Boyd. "Of course," he says, his posture angling so that he's now standing beside both me and my father. "Though I can't say I've been quiet about my support of the game. It's simply genius."
Dad lifts his hand and raises his brows at me. "You see?"
I sigh. All I ever hear from him is Nexis this and Nexis that. He's obsessed with that game. I mean, good for him, he developed a stupid game that won him the Civil Enrichment Award. Other people feeding his obsession isn't helping. "It's just a game, Dad," I whisper.
His brows lift. "That game has done, and will do, a lot for you, young lady."
I look away, ashamed. It's not that I'm not grateful for what he's accomplished for me. The game has given me a higher social class. When it comes to arranging a marriage for me, it will be to a boy from an Elite family. With the extra credit Dad earns from the game, I can have things that I've always wanted. And, because his abilities as a Programmer are now well known, the likelihood of me getting a good job placement after school is much higher. It's everything I could ever want wrapped with a huge, silky bow.
But if time could be reversed and all those days he spent locked up in his workroom could be turned to days that he spent with me, I think I'd give up all the benefits. Even when he does spend time with me, all Dad seems to want to do is talk about programming and his game. I'm sure he thinks it's exciting for me. I am, after all, his daughter — his biological protégé — but I don't have as much interest in my abilities as a Programmer as Dad does. I'm good as a Programmer, I know that, and part of me is a little interested in the genius that is Nexis but, I don't want to be a Programmer. I want to be a Designer and my jealousy of the game is enough to keep me silent about any Programming questions I might have about it. I can't tell any of that to Dad, though; it would break his heart. So instead of saying what I really think, I say, "I know."
"Do you?" Dad asks. "Not just for you. For many people. Zane, why don't you tell my daughter about the story you're covering in the Outer Block?"
Zane Boyd looks down at me and I feel my face flush. I don't normally get attention from anyone who is Elite, let alone a Broadcast anchor. Avoiding his penetrating stare, I focus on his suit instead. Harley Dean, my favorite designer. I knew there was a reason I liked this guy — besides the fact that he's Custom stunning, has tasteful Mods, and covers his stories with admirable outspokenness.
"Well," he says, and I can't help but look back up into his Altered eyes — royal purple with luminescent flecks — "there's been talk that Lady Cyr will be funding gaming houses for the Disfavored."
I blink, stunned. I never would have expected Dad's game would be the thing that bridged the gap between us and them.
Zane continues. "I've gone out once already to do some preliminary coverage for a miniseries I'll be running later this year. I'm extremely interested in how the game will impact the Disfavored."
I cock my head, impressed. Zane isn't much older than I am. I remember passing him in the halls at school when I was transferred to Paramount Prep after my first set of aptitude tests. It's not only amazing how gifted and charismatic an anchor he is, but also how brave he is. "Aren't you frightened? Going out among them?"
He laughs at me, his whole face lighting up. "Frightened? Of what?" He sobers up. "They're just like you, Ellani."
I feel my jaw drop in shock. I'm not sure if I'm more moved that Zane Boyd actually knows my name or that he's bringing attention to my Natural features.
Dad reaches out and grasps Zane's shoulder. As if sensing my confusion, he says, "Considering the game's recent coverage on The Broadcast, Zane and I have been seeing a lot of each other lately. You've come up in conversation more than once."
Why? I don't factor into Nexis at all.
Zane narrows furtive eyes. "I've been looking forward to finally meeting the daughter of Cleo and Warren Drexel."
I hold out my hands. "Well, as you can see there isn't much to her."
He smirks. "I beg to differ."
Dad clears his throat. "I think I'm going to leave you two to —" but he is interrupted by a familiar voice. "Well, Warren, aren't you proud of yourself?"
I turn to see Uncle Simon, my father's brother and business partner, standing just behind me, a tall crystalline glass of champagne in one hand and the sleeve of an uncomfortable looking Bastian — his adopted son — in the other. Uncle Simon is dressed in a militaristic navy blue jacket that follows the Justaucorps design. The braided cord around his cuffs and lapels has been woven through with fiber-optic thread so that a constant waterfall of rainbows glistens at the slightest movement.
"Oh, I'm not sure they needed to make such a grand spectacle as all of this," Dad says. "They've never made such a big deal about the award before."
Uncle Simon drops Bastian's sleeve and claps my father on the shoulder. "Come now, this is no time to be bashful. Nexis is the most revolutionary game to hit Evanescence since the dawn of the Post-American Age. Bask in the glory, my brother." He tips his head back and downs his champagne.
"How many of those have you had, Simon?"
Excerpted from Nexis by A. L. Davroe, Liz Pelletier. Copyright © 2015 A.L. Davroe. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book was first published on Kurt's Frontier. Synopsis: Ellani Drexel is natural in the domed city of Evanescence. She lives in a world of aristocrats who alter and modify their bodies to make them more “perfect.” Naturals are those who have not had any mods or alts done to them. Ella wants to get one or two to be like everyone else. However, her father forbids it. He is honoring a promise he made to Ella’s mother before she died. There are also the Disfavored. They live outside the domed cities on a post-apocalyptic landscape. The natural world is gone, apparently forever. The air outside the domes is toxic. This is the result of a manmade disaster. Ella’s father has invented a virtual reality game called Nexis. Its popularity stems from allowing people—aristocrat, natural, and disfavored—to escape from the hellish reality they have created. People can experience the world as it was before the disaster. They can have lives they couldn’t have in the real world. When Ella is involved in a crash that destroys her legs, she finds herself alone: trapped in her house, no more than a prisoner. The game is her only escape. She can feel whole again, has friends, adventures. But, the Nexis is not all that it seems. It has a purpose, and Ella is the key. Review: Full discloser, I’ve no real fondness for dystopian fiction. At first, this book seems the same. Same old tropes: man-made climate disaster, a gap between the haves and have-nots, intrigue, and a need to escape. A.L. Davroe attempts to breathe new life into the old tropes by adding intrigue in the form of a game. Ella strikes the reader as a typical teen: moody, rebellious, wanting to fit in. When her father dies in a crash that leaves her without her legs, she finds herself with others controlling her fate. A young girl who helped her father code the game is now presumed dead. Her only escape is a game that is the key to change in her world. So, how well did A.L. Davroe succeed? We come to care for a complex teen girl for whom the world seems to have turned on. While I was able to put the book down, it still intrigued me enough to buy the sequel. It makes excellent use of what I’ve always considered a writer’s greatest tool. The question “What if …?”
"Nexis" is a fantastic and imaginative sci-fi novel. Ellani begins the novel as a petulant teenager, upset with her father for making her a "Natural" and not allowing her to get any Mods. She lives in the post-apocalyptic future where most people live in a dome, sheltered from nuclear fall-out. She has recently moved into the circle of the Elite, which are essentially the people highest up in the company that runs the dome, due to her father's role as a programmer, developing a popular game called Nexis. There is a rigid social structure, where the lowest are the disfavored and they live mostly outside the dome, suffering from illnesses due to the poor air quality, etc. The Elite are born with genetic modifiers that give them the perfect skin, hair, eyes, etc. and then as they get older begin to do even crazier modifications to look even "better" such as lights under their skin, sparkling eyes or different eye slits, and anything of which you can dream. Ellani is often picked on for not having any Mods- and being born a Natural- where she was not genetically designed. Her father wants her to stay the way she is- just like her mother, who died when she was young. The book begins with a ball and a pod accident that kills her father and makes Ellani lose her legs. Trapped in her home with a mean caregiver and without legs, Ellani searches for answers- primarily by entering the virtual reality game her father created. It is there that she learns more about her parents and the meaning of life- she also meets a young man, Gus. She also has a purpose in the game- to complete a complex quest. It's an amazing ride and certainly a very unique story. I absolutely loved every step of the journey! Ellani grows a lot throughout the book as she learns about the value of the way things were and family- and love. By love, I not only refer to romantic love, but also for her parents and her caregiving artificial intelligence unit, Memes. Although, the romantic love was pretty fantastic. As a heads up, there is sexual content (not described in depth, but it does happen) and lots of kissing, which may make it inappropriate for younger audiences. There are also some bigger themes like sacrifice and what we do/should value, which really add an extra dimension to the story. I devoured this story quickly, as it was nearly impossible to put down. I highly recommend this book- it's got a bit of everything- adventure, sci-fi, mystery and romance! An incredible story, and I can't wait to continue with this series!! Please note that I received an ecopy from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.
This story starts with what you think are the beautiful people of the future then it takes a twist that cut you in half, chops you up and throws you deep into the twisted universe of one A. L. Davroe.... I met this great young author at the Barnes & Noble in Waterbury. To say I am impressed is to say too little. A must read for the hard core SciFi next future world of AI in a bubble universe. I for one cannot wait to see where she twists us next.
I received this book for free from the publisher. It does not affect my opinion in any way. Cover: This is one of the most perfect sci-fi covers out there. It shows a futuristic city, so you know that it’s some type of dystopian world. The elaborate clothing shows an obsession with clothing. The font gives a futuristic feel. If you can’t tell, I love it. It’s a perfect addition to shelves. Characters: Ellani is the next Katniss, Tris, Katy, whatever you want to call her. She is the next IT heroine. The top dog. Throughout the novel, Ella transforms from a basic (I used it again #BasicBookBlogger) girl obsessed with appearances to someone that takes charge and does the good for the people. A female Robin Hood. She ends up sacrificing so much, and although I want to feel sorry for her, her attitude keeps me from doing that. I rooted for her from start to finish because she is such a strong leading character. Ellani will be the next big thing. Mr. Unknown. I mentioned in my last That’s What HE said post a quote from Mr. Unknown. It’s unknown because you do not discover his name until later in the novel ;) and I do not want to give it away. He did a magnificent job of revealing it though. It was very very smooth. Almost like a post on Tumblr…. The Tricksters added heart to the story. I loved each and every one of them although I did get them mixed up sometimes. They were pretty cool, and I just wanted to be one of them, you know? They were awesome. Plot: Amazing. I hardly have words to describe how much I loved it. It was so fresh and a nice break from your typical dystopian novel. There’s another book that was about a game that reminded me of Nexis, but I forget what it’s called. I love how Davroe mixes coding with beauty. It’s not common in our world, but it does happen so it’s nice to see that. I loved the whole idea of the Tricksters. They are going for something good, but are still bad. They’re not good people, they’d be the first to admit it, but they know what’s good for the greater mass. It’s an interesting concept. Ending: Can I just say I knew it? Halfway through reading Nexis, I said out loud who Mr. Unknown is. I’m good at guessing the ending, so I don’t know if it’s that obvious but I so knew it. The only thing I didn’t like was how Mr. Unknown was telling Ella about he would see her in the past and think so highly of her. That’s so overdone, so I wish that it wasn’t in there. It was still a great end to a great story. I need the next one! Overall: Davroe is a fantastic author with a great writing style. Her characters are to die for! She has such an interesting imagination, I hope she writes many more books! If you are looking for one of the best novels I’ve read this year, reach no further because Nexis is for you. You will love it. It’s amazing, and I cannot wait for more.
How much I enjoyed “Nexis” took me by surprise. Of course it sounded like something I would be interested in, otherwise I would not have read it in the first place. What I wasn’t expecting was to read the last page and five minutes later already be jonesing for the sequel. There were a few issues at the beginning. It took a little while to get into it, and the prose could be a bit flowery at times. Be patient. By the time you get into the virtual reality game called “Nexis” things pick up quickly. I really wish we had a game like that to play. It really sounded like a lot of fun. You know, aside from it tying into the dystopian outside world. That is most certainly not a place in which I want to live. There was a plot twist I picked up fairly early, but it in no way affected my enjoyment of the book. The world-building is excellent, both inside and outside of the game. A lot of time was taken to make the reader understand the society. In fact, that was a lot of the reason the beginning was somewhat slow. All of the information actually turns out to be important throughout the rest of the book. Of course there is a love story. Let me warn you now there is some instalove, but once you read on a bit you realize the game actually encourages heightened feelings. It’s a valid reason, so it didn’t bother me like that normally does. I can’t tell you how hard I shipped the two main characters. It would actually be embarrassing. What I will say is I am captain, first mate, and all of the crew of the ship, and the ship is the size of the titanic. I recommend “Nexis” for anyone in high school and up who likes dystopian books mixed with some steampunk and a large helping of romance. This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I LOVED this book! While it's completely futuristic of course, it still feels real. Everything about this future seems to have been chosen carefully and purposefully made to keep that realistic feeling throughout the book and to tie it into our current reality, basically it seems like something that really could be our future. The characters are realistic too, and they're not your typical surface feeling characters either - you get to really know Ella and her thoughts, her processes. And while at some points I wanted to be able to scream through the pages at her for her benefit, that's what made her all the more real to me. She isn't a perfectly strong person, she's not a perfect person in any category - she's just surviving, brave when needed, smart, and a natural. This book keeps you guessing with plot twists and turns you can't put it down, especially towards the end!! And it leaves you guessing at the end even, I want book #2 of the trickster series to be out soon so bad!!!
**I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review** 4 stars For Ellani Drexel, one of the last remaining Naturals, or natural born people who has not had genetic modifications, living in the lustrous city of Evanescense just got more difficult – through her father, a brilliant mind and creator of the virtual-reality game called Nexis, she is now an Aristocracy. Being a natural Aristocracy has its fair share of difficulty, but when her and her father are in an accident that leaves her father dead and her disfigured, Ella figures she has nothing left to live for. Especially when she ends up basically trapped in her own home, with everyone thing she perished in the accident as well. Ella’s only “escape” is when she begins to play the game her father created, Nexis, where she can be anyone or anything she wants to be – which includes being whole again, if even for the duration of the “game”. When Ella befriends a young man, Guster, within Nexis – she begins to hope for a “normal” life, even if it is within a game. Guster introduces her to several others that have the “Trickster” marks – a spider, fox, coyote, crow, and rabbit. Together they will be able to accomplish the unthinkable – entering the Anansi Chamber…no one knows the significance, only that the Oracle has deemed them as worthy to enter and crack the code to the Nexis world. But it comes with a price, one that may be too much for Ella to pay – even if it is only a virtual game, the consequences of the Tricksters actions may be more then they can pay in their real lives. Can Ella’s coding skills really get them past, or make them suffer? I thoroughly enjoyed this story. While it was broken into several “mini-chapters” while Ella goes between the game of Nexis and real-time, in Evanescense, it was great how Ms. Devroe was able to make the reader connect with both sides of Ella’s life. Ella becomes so engrossed in the game, that it almost becomes real to her – first loves, good friends, and a rebel with a good cause. But it really spoke to me on an acceptance level – Ella’s life in the real world is not her own…being disfigured makes her ability to open up while in Nexis a true gift for not only her, but her fellow Tricksters. While she is sad, lonely, and moping around while in her real life, she always has something to look forward to when she enters Nexis – her friends and Guster, who show her what acceptance really looks like…something she has yearned for her whole life. I think she makes tremendous progress throughout the story, but will rise and be someone the world can look up to in the next book.
My wife and I absolutely love this book. We can't wait for the sequel.
ORIGINALLY POSTED ON: http://athousandwordsamillionbooks.blogspot.in/ The world as we know today is gone. Humans with imperfections are a thing of the past. Machines that needed human help to function have been coded out of existence. And the best and brightest of humanity have been chosen to live in Domes - to safeguard their existence, and to protect them from the Disfavoured. The Aristocrats are the definition of perfection. Hair, eyes, body shape, and even their voices and laughs can be Modified and Altered. Babies can be Customized, making them perfect from the minute they're born, clothes are made of the finest materials, parties are only ever thrown in the grandest manner, and citizens are kept in line through their G-Chips. The thing with humans, though, is that we are never happy with what we have. And the Aristocrats? Nothing they do is for love, but more for standing in society. And then Warren Drexel creates Nexis. A virtual reality game of the world we lost, designed to give everyone anything they desire. Nexis is the new IT thing - what all Aristocrats must have; what they must succeed at. Exempt for the creator's daughter, Ellani Drexel, who resents the game because her father loves it more than her. Until her father dies in a freak accident, and the last thing Natural Ellani told him was that she hated him, and all that's her of the last of her family is a game she thought she would never get into. In Nexis, Ellani finds herself living a more real life than the one she was living back in the Real World. With Nadine, Morden, Opus and Gus, the Tricksters, Ellani finds herself on a quest to enter the mysterious Anansi Chamber, and falling in love with a boy she can't ever have, all while her state appointed guardian is faking her death, denying her prosthetic legs and keeping her under lock and key - a futuristic Cinderella. But Ellani is just one piece is a very dangerous game, one that is both real and not... A little into reading Nexis, I though that this book would be one I hated, or this series would be one that I didn't particularly want to follow through until the end, but Nexis and A.L.Devroe proved me wrong on all counts - Nexis was a BRILLIANT book, be it the writing, execution, storyline, twists, characters and even the love story- it was absolutely mind blowing, and I can't wait to recommend it to everyone I know. I don't know why I loved it, I just did. And by loved it , I mean I LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVED it, so much so that I finished it in one sitting in lieu of studying for an exam that was just the next day- and I didn't event feel guilty about it! I can't explain why I loved it, but I did. Even if you think gaming books are not for you, or that the description sounds way too sci-fi for you, or too out there - Nexis isn't actually like that. It's written for all YA readers, and whoever you are, I assure you that you will have the time of your life reading this masterpiece. I have just one question: WHEN IS BOOK TWO COMING?! And is there a paperback I can get my hands on?
Nexis is an unique and imaginative debut that keeps you guessing until the very end, leaves you greedy for answers with it’s many tricks at every turn and an ending that makes you question everything you’ve come to know. Nexis takes place in city called Evanescence, set in a post-apocalyptic world with two very different type of people: The Augmented and the Naturals. The Augmented are simply flawless. They are able to change their body, hair, even their laugh if they don’t like it and instead become whatever they want to be. Don’t like that pesky mole? Hate having to repeatedly shave your legs? I actually do Wish for different coloured eyes? Gone, gone and gone. All of these alts and mods do not come cheap so only the upper class known as The Aristocrats have them, they're always sporting the latest trends. Now Ella, our protagonist is a Natural and she's staying that way, although this isn't exactly her decision. Her father won’t allow her to have any body alterations of modifications, much to her humiliation. Ella is a Natural living among Aristocrats and this is not easy. The people of Evanescence have a flare for the dramatics when it comes to their appearance; like my review of Winter in regards to the people of Luna, I was again reminded of The Hunger Games. The Aristocrats were much like the people of the Capitol- to fit in you ultimately have to stand out, the more outrageous the better! Ella’s father is the creator of the hugely popular virtual reality game Nexis. After a devastating accident that leaves Ella handicapped, she withdraws from reality and instead immerses herself in the world of Nexis. It’s here that she discovers that she can recreate herself, be anyone she wants and not be expected to follow in her father’s footsteps but instead to accomplish her own dreams. Nexis provides a much needed and welcome escape for Ella and what starts as a fun, easygoing game soon starts to crumble as reality and fantasy collide. Ella must complete her mission in Nexis but she soon becomes tangled in a web of lies and must choose a side and pledge her allegiance, but in a world where everything, even the people are a fantasy. Who can be trusted? It took me a few chapters to warm to Ella, her character arc is slow and gradual- at first I felt really sorry for her but once she learned to accept herself and care less about pleasing others I was able to really get behind and root for her. In Nexis she meets the mysterious Gus who takes her under his wing and shows her the wonderful world her father created and how to survive there. She doesn’t care who he is in the real world; Aristocrat or not she has no intention of meeting him in real life after her accident but things don’t exactly go to plan on that front…. Overall this was such an interesting first book in the series, it’s introduces you to this new dystopian world and virtual reality slowly and before long you can’t get enough. However the crown jewel of this book was the ending, it was amazing. I absolutely flew through those last few chapters; it was full of action, mystery and so much intrigue. Identities were revealed, people were betrayed and just when I thought I had figured everything out another revelation managed to turn the book on it's head, which begs the question ‘What the hell happened?’ To say I need answers is an understatement. Nexis shows no signs of slowing down after that explosive ending and I cannot wait to see what Davroe comes up with next!