"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.I may or may not mention how much I love Dan Wells' stories (but now you know that I do love his stories and novels). Partials is one of my favorite Science Fiction novels, and I think I can easily add Bluescreen to the list. YA Sci-Fi with a tiny hint of horror (no, not in a ghostly or supernatural way), Bluescreen is a really enjoyable book that centers around these devices called djinni and a girl named Marisa.
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