Bluescreen (Mirador #1)
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 (the drug) is what really kicks off the conflict in the most dramatic and scariest way possible by having Marisa's friend walking into an almost suicidal situation. Dan Wells starts off the story with suspenseful action, and the creepiness of the program (Bluescreen, the virtual drug) just gets to me and my bones. It reminds me of the day when my Facebook was hacked (back in 2011), and I have no clue to what was going on. All I know was that I was posting weird stuff on my wall at an exponential speed, and I could do literally nothing about it. I could only watch. It's exactly how I feel for these characters who are in way over their heads and are only on a rollercoaster they could hardly get out of.
The plot has a mixture of mystery and action. It involves a future version of the mob, a scary hacker(s), a puzzling world of virtual reality and computers in people's heads, and a possible romance. For me, the mystery is the foremost of my attention. It's a compelling puzzle, which I enjoyed looking over and wondering about as I read along with the story. The drug has an insidious virus within, and the factor/level of horror just sends my skin crawling. Imagine someone controlling every bit of action, seeing what you see, and pulling your strings. That's exactly what that virus does. And oh, that's a darn good virus/horror story.
Marisa Carneseca (has a very annoying last name, which is hard to type out, and) is the Nancy Drew of this book. She's the one trying to solve the virus' strangeness, and she's the one who is tracing its history. She's a very active character, going to strange places and doing exceptional things (just like Lois Lane).
The ending leaves such great potential for a sequel. Sign me up for another virtual adventure.
Overall, BLUESCREEN is definitely a worthy read with loads of action, intrigue, and suspense (with a very, very tiny hint of romance). If you love PARTIALS and other virtual reality novels like INSIGNIA, you will surely love this one.
Rating: Four out of Five
Marissa was both an interesting and frustrating character. She obviously cared about her friends and family, and she was extremely brave but she also was reckless and was blind to how her actions were affecting and influencing her family. All the teens involved were reckless, throwing themselves into real danger like it was a video game. There didn’t seem to be much growth to her character, more like there was moments of realization, and we have to wait for the next book to see if those realizations turn into growth.
I still find it hard to describe the overall plot since there was so much talk of gaming and coding and hacking and things I had zero idea about. The image I got was that everyone was like Harper from Andromeda just on an even high level of being absorbed with technology. Bao, who was my favourite character, was the only one without a djinni and that was probably why I found myself latching on to his character more than the others.
Even without quite getting the technology aspect, I could understand all the action that was happening. The book was packed with it and there were definitely some intense moments. The action and the relationships between the characters made up for the fact that I didn’t always grasp what was going on in the tech-side of the plot and made me want to keep reading.