Bluescreen (Mirador #1)
By: Dan Wells
Publisher: 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. 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.
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.
Bluescreen starts off with a bang, or a pulse blast if you will, and doesn’t calm down. There are enough double crosses, secret identities, tech jibber jabber, and creepy sleep walking drug users to keep you entertained. Mari is a fantastic heroine, she’s brilliant and funny and cares deeply for her family.
The part of Bluescreen that I found the most intriguing, however, was its complexity. Not only did it have a group of tech savvy teens saving the day and they actually sounded like they knew what they were doing, but Wells delves into gang politics and family drama as well. As I mentioned, Mari’s discussion of the djinni and how it worked and how she navigated the technology of her life made sense. It wasn’t glossed over or mentioned flippantly to legitimize her actions or purpose for being there, it functioned as part of the plot, pulling it along and was a solid and believable part of Mari’s characterization. The story isn’t a simple good versus bad guys, either. There are gang politics thrown in that push and pull the story in their own way, and the war that Mari is trying fight is a lot closer to her front door than she thinks. Her family issues also play a role, her relationship with her siblings and her parents are key components of the story and all those characters make multiple appearances.
Bluescreen’s plot became consistently more and more involved, but not enough that it felt unresolved in the end or that there was nowhere to go for the sequel. I also have to applaud how well the deceptive people in Mari’s life were done, some were not who she thought they were, on several occasions with some characters even giving repeat performances that I didn’t fully see coming. I did enjoy the fact that, and I don’t view this as much of a spoiler, Wells kept Mari’s main group of friends solid from beginning to end. After all she’s been through, I think she deserves at least that.
Dan Wells is a thriller and science fiction writer. Born in Utah, he spent his early years reading and writing. He is he author of the Partials series (Partials, Isolation, Fragments, and Ruins), the John Cleaver series (I Am Not a Serial Killer, Mr. Monster, and I Don’t Want To Kill You), and a few others (The Hollow City, A Night of Blacker Darkness, etc). He was a Campbell nomine for best new writer, and has won a Hugo award for his work on the podcast Writing Excuses; the podcast is also a multiple winner of the Parsec Award.
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Disclaimer: The synopsis, author image and bio, the giveaway, and more were provided by Fantastic Flying Book Club. A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.