Book Review: Nirvana


Nirvana (Nirvana #1)
Author: J.R. Stewart
Published By: Blue Moon
Publication Date: 10 Nov 2015
Page Count: 186 
Buy it at Barnes & Noble or Amazon
Source: Galley kindly provided by publisher
Audience: Young Adult - Dystopian

It always intrigues me how many authors create Dystopian societies in their books, and how they are all a different beginning, but in the end the world is always so desolate and dried up, usually humanity at fault for the world's destruction.  The imagination behind each one is truly unique to that author.  J.R. Stewart has created yet another of these end-of-civilization possibilities, one that starts with bees and supposedly ends with corruption and greed.

Nirvana is a Dystopian story about what the earth would be like if bees became extinct.  Nothing would be pollinated, bees wouldn't carry the pollen from flower to tree to bush... Tree and plant life die out, crops die, livestock slowly dies off, and soon there is a society left in a world full of mostly dust and technology.  One big corporation, Hexagon, runs and controls everything.  There biggest project and most successful is Nirvana, a virtual reality system that lets you go anywhere, be anything, remember past events and see long dead loved ones...for a price.

Kenders is a seventeen-year-old punk musician and animal rights activist.  Though, she and her friends work for Hexagon, they are also trying to take them down because people are disappearing, and they know something sinister is going on behind the scenes.  When her fiance goes missing, Kenders goes on a hunt to find him, always getting cryptic virtual clues from him on what to do or where to go next.  She is soon running for her life and doesn't know who she can trust anymore.

This story truly intrigued me because i have heard before that bees are vital to our survival.  To read a book based on that theory is a bit scary, seeing what can happen to the earth.  In a lot of other Dystopian stories you have biological weapons released, a drug released, disease spread through animals, alien attacks, war; and every single one of them devastates the planet.  Some even seem plausible, but nothing as simple the extinction of bees.  It's a scary eye opener, one that seems very possible.  It makes me want to become a bee breeder, or endorse somebody to do it.

The story is not necessarily about the bees' extinction, it's more about the world after; and to be more specific the virtual world after the extinction.  The world has gone almost completely digital, no trees to create paper, but it was already headed that way before.  Virtual Reality is what the world is about now, it's what the people pay to use because the real world is so bleak.  I can see this happening in the real world, Virtual Reality becomes their drug.  That's another scary picture the author has thrown into the story.  These are such realistic possibilities it's easy to imagine them happening some day in the future.

I enjoyed reading this story very much.  As I said before, even though it's a futuristic Dystopian world, it's one that could very easily happen where technology is leading now and people are eagerly following, waiting for the latest and greatest.  As well as with the environment these days, bee extinction could happen.

I will admit, I would love to visit the virtual world in this book.  Go on virtual adventures, see virtual sights I most likely will never see in real life.  It would be quite the experience.  I would not want to visit the reality of the book, however.  It does not sound like a great and inviting place to live.

Stewart captured the virtual and real worlds quite expressively, and I enjoyed imagining them.  I would have liked the characters fleshed out a little more.  You don't really get much of a sense of their lives before the extinction of the bees, except little snippets of Kenders' past.  I wanted more, I wanted to connect more with the main characters and even the lesser characters.  I wanted to feel something when people Kenders knew died.  I wanted to feel more for what Kenders and her friends believed in.  There needed to be more passion in their beliefs.

Even though I didn't connect as much as I would have liked to the characters, I am still looking forward to reading the continuation.  The bee extinction and the virtual world have me intrigued enough to continue on.

One Last Thought: The plot line seemed a bit chaotic at times and random. It was sometimes hard to differentiate between the dream world, virtual, or reality.  Maybe that was the point.

Favorite Thing About This Book: Even though it's not a happy picture, I liked the reality of this Dystopian society.

First Sentence: Eight-year-old Larissa Kenders pulls a doll tighter toward her and opens one eye.

Favorite Character: Kenders

Least Favorite Character: Paloma


When the real world is emptied of all that you love, how can you keep yourself from dependence on the virtual?

Animal activist and punk rock star Larissa Kenders lives in a dystopian world where the real and the virtual intermingle. After the disappearance of her soulmate, Andrew, Kenders finds solace by escaping to Nirvana, a virtual world controlled by Hexagon. In Nirvana, anyone’s deepest desires may be realized - even visits with Andrew.

Although Kenders knows that this version of Andrew is virtual, when he asks for her assistance revealing Hexagon’s dark secret, she cannot help but comply. Soon after, Kenders and her closest allies find themselves in a battle with Hexagon, the very institution they have been taught to trust. After uncovering much more than she expected, Kenders’ biggest challenge is determining what is real – and what is virtual.

Nirvana is a fast-paced, page-turning young adult novel combining elements of science fiction, mystery, and romance. Part of a trilogy, this book introduces readers to a young woman who refuses to give up on the man she loves, even if it means taking on an entire government to do so. 


  1. I'm not sure I can read this because this is such a scary scenario, and too close to being true. This is a new one for me. Thanks.


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