Vicarious is a book I've been looking forward to ever since reading the premise. It kind of reminds me of the movie Strange Days with its take on virtual reality experiences. Winter Kim is a Korean victim of trafficking and has found a new life with her sister Rose and a man named Gideon who has developed a technology called ViSE, or Vicarious Sensory Experiences. Winter and Rose wear a ViSE headset and record themselves doing dangerous things, whether making out with strangers in a club or jumping off bridges. Gideon sells these sensory experiences to customers who pay big money to experience a vicarious thrill.
The problem is Rose gets killed and whoever did it sends a ViSE recording of her death to Gideon. Winter is determined to find the killer and make them pay, and of course the ViSE's play a big role- especially when they reveal that not all is as it seems. I liked the way the technology was presented, there's a sense of tension whenever Winter puts on a headset and experiences things. And as I read this I was reminded again of Strange Days, I got the same claustrophobic vibe whenever someone put a headset on and jacked in, so to speak. And the twisty nature of the plot and the surprises also recalled the movie for me.
Having said that I want to stress that this is not a ripoff of the movie. Here we have the trafficking angle, the sisters' relationship with themselves and Gideon, little glimpses into Korean culture, and a burgeoning romance between Winter and Jesse, an ex- military guy who also works for Gideon and has a thing for Winter. She's damaged from her abuse and not ready to take that step with Jesse, and even though he's rough around the edges he waits for her and has her back. But the way the story is told you're never really sure who you can trust, and I liked that.
There's a huge twist towards the end and even though I was expecting one I wasn't expecting this. To be honest I liked this story but didn't love it in the early going but the twist shook everything up- and there's actually two twists really. I liked Winter and Jesse but had trouble with Gideon- here's a guy who rescued the girls from human traffickers and gives them a new life but also lets them take risks to sell digital experiences. So what is the deal with this guy? I was never sure what I thought about him, but beyond that he didn't really click for me as a character, he was more of a plot device.
This is the first of a duology and this one tells a complete story, which I liked, with a plot thread hanging that will be resolved in the next book. I will definitely be reading that one to see where this goes next, and while this one didn't amaze me it was a solid read. I loved where the author took the tech and I liked how tough but vulnerable Winter was. I can't wait to see the role the ViSE's play in the next one.
Great review - this one is going on my TBR. I'm glad you enjoyed it overall and it sounds like it might be something I can really enjoy too!ReplyDelete
I hope you like it if you read it! It's got a neat concept and while I didn't love it at first it's got some neat ideas and a great twist. I think it's pretty good.Delete
Thank you for your great review, Greg. I would like to read this one, and am glad you enjoyed it.ReplyDelete
Thank you for reading it, and I hope you like it!Delete
Just added it to my wishlist! Sounds too good to pass up.ReplyDelete
Yeah it's pretty good. I love the technology.Delete
Oh I love a good twist! Great review!ReplyDelete
It is quite a twist! I didn't see it coming...Delete
This sounds really, really interesting! I like that it's a duology, too; I somehow end up reading trilogies most of the time, lol, so it's nice to know that there are shorter series out there!ReplyDelete
I like a good duology now and then. And the nice thing here is the story is pretty self contained- I will definitely read the next one but even if I didn't I feel like I got a good story.Delete
This one sounds really good! I like the cover but never really thought about picking it up. I think I'm going to have to now. It sounds like a book I'd really enjoy.ReplyDelete
I haven't read any of Paula's books, but she is a traveling companion of one of my best blogging buddies, so I followed her on Twitter, just because. I am glad I did because she is hilarious. Do you follow her? I haven't read any of her other books because they weren't my cup of tea, but now, after reading your review this one sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing your review. :)ReplyDelete
I am glad you ended up liking this, even if it didn't completely blow you away. I enjoyed the twistiness of Paula's Liars, Inc. and am glad to see that the turns and twists are in this book too. I am definitely intrigued enough to read it for sure. Great review!ReplyDelete
This sounds pretty entertaining honestly with THAT twist and the unique premise! I like that it's a duology too and that this one really felt like a complete story despite that! Awesome review as usual my friend! :)ReplyDelete