Tuesday, February 16, 2016

#Tuesday Review - Bluescreen by Dan Wells (YA, SyFy)

Series: Mirador # 1
Format: E-Galley, 352 pages
Release Date: February 16, 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Publisher
Genre: YA, Science Fiction

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.

Bluescreen is the first installment in Dan Wells' brand new series called Mirador. 17-year old Marisa Carneseca lives in a futuristic version of Los Angeles (2050) where nearly everyone is plugged in with a device called Djinni that is planted in their heads. The device allows the users to access pretty much everything that you can imagine. From their schoolwork, to their homes, to paying for food, and cab rides. It is also your phone, computer, scanner, and credit card. 

Marisa, who lost her arm when she was 2 years old in a mysterious car accident, and now wears a prosthetic arm, is a gamer who is a member of Cherry Dogs. She is also a programmer who can access almost any system or software, all while living in a barrio called Mirador that is ruled by corruption, drugs, and gang members who demand protection monies from all businesses within the neighborhood. Marisa's family is true to the core Hispanics who own a restaurant in Mirador, and have occasional spats with those that are supposed to protect them 

After discovering that one of her gamer friends, Anya, has access to a new drug called Bluescreen, Marisa learns the hard way that there is nothing safe about this new designer drug that is pretty much targeted towards those with lots of money. After Anya finds herself controlled by an unknown source which takes over her djinni, Marisa, along with her friends Sahara, Fang, Jaya, and Bao try to solve the mystery behind who created Bluescreen, and how many people are actually affected by the new drug.

So, I am A-Okay with futuristic novels, and stories that feature gamers, and programmers, and yes, even hackers if they are doing what they do to entertain, and not destroy people's lives by stealing their identities and credit. I am impressed with Marisa and her friends and their efforts to thwart the rush of Bluescreen into schools, and almost everywhere else. I am impressed that nearly every single character in this book has a diverse background. I am scratching my head over the ending, but that is to be expected from author Dan Wells. After all, have you read his Partials trilogy? 

While Bluescreen is a fairly quick paced novel, it is also one steeped in futuristic tech, and does spend more than its fair share on explaining the technology. How else can you understand what is happening, if you don't know what the author is referring to? One of my favorite characters is Bao. He is one of the very few to NOT have access to Djinni. He lives off the grid, as it were, and is totally OK with not being used by the technology that rules everyone's life. 

I would love to have a bit more world building, or have the author explain what happened to the country that got the residents to this point. There is a major mysterious character in this book for whom I shall not reveal. Let's just say that things are looking very interesting for the sequel. There's not of a hint to any sort of romance between any of the characters outside of Anya who is wealthier than Bill Gates. That appeals to me on yet another level since I am totally burned out by instant lust connections, and love triangles.

No comments:

Post a Comment