Author: Dan Wells
Release: February 16th 2016
Genre: Science Fiction, YA
#1 in the Mirador series
Los Angeles in 2050 is a city of open doors, as long as you have the right connections. One of those connections 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.
Going into this novel, I expected to be absolutely blown away by it, and I am realizing now, after having finished it, that maybe I set my expectations too high. I loved Partials more than I care to admit, and with Wells writing a book about virtual reality and stuff, I thought there was nothing that could go wrong.
And nothing did go wrong. Not really, and from a completely objective point of view I can't really tell you anything bad about this novel. Sure, okay, the pace wasn't perfect, it snagged here and there and the beginning was pretty slow, but other than that?
Bluescreen is an action-packed, high-strung novel about futuristic L.A. where machines have gotten most people out of work, people are starving on the streets and still everyone's connected to the net via a device that requires brain surgery to connect to your neuro pathways. Sounds crazy? It is, and Wells executes his premise extremely well. The world is portrayed and described in depth and you get a really detailed outlook on it, besides, it was pretty original, too (At least I thought so).
Then there are the characters, who are solid and well-written as well. The protagonist, WOC Marisa Carneseca and her mostly POC gang of friends (one person of the main cast is white, one person, and she's a German living in America, so essentially, also an immigrant), goes through a stunning amount of character development that really makes you admire her, and the other characters are just as great, I kid you not. There is no romance, there are a few hints of flirtations between Marisa and one guy, but trust me, that's not going anywhere and probably won't be in the future. And you know what? I appreciated that. A time-out from all of the other YA novels out there who all have romances. I'm usually not opposed to them, but I can't deny the fact that I was impressed and relieved that Wells didn't go there.
So, what is it, you ask? I can't tell you. I wildly enjoyed this novel, I truly did. It read super fast and was engaging enough to keep me reading, but I couldn't connect with the cast and world on a deep emotional level. I don't really care about these characters, they're really well-written, yes, but I don't give a damn about them. And for me, if I can't bond with a book this way, then it's just not going to be, you know, one of my favorites or whatever. I'm still giving it, like, 4 stars, obviously, but I'm doing it with a heavy heart nonetheless. I can't even explain it, but despite the fact that I loved the book in a way, I'm also a little disappointed and mad that it didn't turn out to be a new favorite or something. I don't know, man. But that's my two cents.