Paperback ARC, 335 pages
Published by Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: February 16th, 2016
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, the small, vibrant LA neighborhood where her family owns a restaurant, 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, non-chemical, 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.
Dan Wells, author of the New York Times bestselling Partials Sequence, returns with a stunning new vision of the near future—a breathless cyber-thriller where privacy is the world’s most rare resource and nothing, not even the thoughts in our heads, is safe.
I enjoyed reading Bluescreen, and I loved the technological elements that were incorporated. Considering the fact that the story takes place in the future, the author did a great job making it feel reasonably realistic. I did have some major issues with this book though. My main problem was most definitely the (in my mind) unnecessarily long technological descriptions and explanations, because they were complicated enough to heavily distract my attention from the actual plot-line. Simply to understand what was going on, I had to read paragraphs upon paragraphs of info dumping, and at certain points, it just became exhausting and I felt strong urges to skim.
In addition, the fact that the book had too many supporting characters was also frustrating and added to my confusion. It's also important to note that every character had a real-world and in-game name. Plus, the side characters were all very similar in personality and lacked distinct voices, so it was difficult to distinguish and remember who was who sometimes. Personally, I'd say that at least three of the characters could have been cut and it would have only helped.
Though it sounds like I have a lot of complaints, I really did love the suspense, the unexpected twists, and especially the action scenes! Though this book's concept isn't exactly groundbreaking, the technological elements feel realistic, despite the story's futuristic setting. I would definitely recommend Bluescreen to people who want an action-filled, futuristic sci-fi novel!
1) The futuristic world-building was great and very believable, and the technology was fascinating! I loved learning the history of Mirador, specifically how many people lost their jobs due to advancements in technology.
2) The plot was intriguing, and I could really see it feasibly happening to humans in the distant future. There are always hackers and viruses when it comes to technology, and this book really managed to portray that very realistically.
3) It was action-packed, and I was never bored while reading. The author kept the story exciting with twists, suspense, and even fighting scenes.
1) I’m going to take a wild guess and say that most of the people reading this book are not hackers or coders. There were far too many technological descriptions of how the characters were hacking and covering their tracks, some of which were vital to understanding the plot. As much as it was needed, I feel like the author could have been a bit more simple with the explanations, because I needed to re-read certain parts over and over in an attempt to understand them.
2) There were far too many side characters, each given a virtual reality name and a real one, and it was difficult to follow. None of them were particularly memorable or distinctive, and it left me feeling very confused every time one was mentioned.
“You play Muffin Top?”
He grinned. “There’s nothing wrong with Muffin Top, those things are delicious.”
Marisa laughed. “Are you seven years old and forgot to tell me?”
“Is that a problem?” Saif made a look of mock concern. “Well, how old are you? Nine? The other seven-year-olds are going to be so jealous.”
“But you’ve got to do it with attitude,” she said. “You don’t just fly right at it, you look the monster in the eye and say, “Tene-mos un pollito que comernos.”
Marisa laughed. “Try it in English: “We have a little chicken to eat together.”
“That is…the worst threat I’ve ever heard.”
“What, like you’ve got a better one? The English phrase is, ‘I have a bone to pick with you.’ How is that more menacing?”
“Maybe it’s the other guy’s bone, and you’re going to pick it, like, out of his body or something.”
“That’s not what is says.”
“At least it doesn’t say you’re going to serve him dinner.” He looked at the manticore. “Hey buddy, watch out, in a minute I’m going to come over there and give you some chicken; I thought we could eat it together, maybe catch up on some stuff.”