I received this book for free from Tor Teen in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Vicarious by Paula Stokes
Series: Vicarious #1
Published by Tor Teen on August 16th, 2016
Genres: Sci-Fi, Thriller, YA
Source: Tor Teen
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Winter Kim and her sister, Rose, have always been inseparable. Together, the two of them survived growing up in a Korean orphanage and being trafficked into the United States.
Now they work as digital stunt girls for Rose’s ex-boyfriend, Gideon, engaging in dangerous and enticing activities while recording their neural impulses for his Vicarious Sensory Experiences, or ViSEs. Whether it’s bungee jumping, shark diving, or grinding up against celebrities at the city’s hottest dance clubs, Gideon can make it happen for you, for a price.
When Rose disappears and a ViSE recording of her murder is delivered to Gideon, Winter won’t rest until she finds her sister’s killer. But when the clues she uncovers conflict with the neural recordings her sister made, Winter isn’t sure what to believe. To find out what happened to Rose, she’ll have to untangle what’s real from what only seems real, risking her life in the process.
If you read Paula Stokes’ guest post on the blog the other day, you’ll know that it is not secret that she is a talented writer but Vicarious blows that out of the water. Liars, Inc. was the last thriller she wrote and one I rated 4.5 stars because of how amazing it but Vicarious is EVEN better and kept me EVEN more at the edge of my seat and holy crap the climax of this novel almost killed me.
5 Reasons Why You Should Read Vicarious
1. The main character. Stokes’ always writes great characters and this book is no exception. Winter is a complex character with a backstory that will make you want to shelter her from the world. Winter is BADASS but her past has left a mark on her and it does affect how she functions as a human being. I guess what I am trying to say is that Winter is a flawed character but in a realistic and understandable way and her flaws don’t make her any less badass.
2. The secondary characters. Omg, there are so many secondary characters to love. From Gideon (MY FAV) to Jesse (the love interest) to Rose. All of them are complex characters who are capable of doing the wrong thing but still admirable as human beings. Their relationships with Winter are also super interesting intricate.
3. How the book deals with mental illness. While I do think that there could be a little bit more finesse with some revelations, I think Stokes does a great job of being respectful while dealing with mental illness. It’s a hard thing to do, given the things Winter has suffered through but Winter has a good support system even if her own relationship with her mental health is complicated (DOES THIS EVEN MAKE SENSE? IDK. I feel like I am rambling.)
4. The sci fic elements. VISEs allow people to experience things vicariously. You name it, a VISE exists for it (except for the really horrible things.) Do you want to vicariously experience swimming with sharks? Do you want to experience the feeling of running away from the police? VISEs exist for most things. Winter is one of the few people who are part of a team of recorders. They record experiences that you can vicariously experience.
5. The plot. This book is Intense (with a capital I.) There are lots of twists and if you are an anxious reader like me and always jump to conclusions, trust me, there will be a surprise or two waiting for you. The book is set up really well though so the twists aren’t random. The pacing is also fantastic and the tension builds at just the right pace so that suddenly you are freaking out because THINGS are happening and YOU JUST WANT ANSWERS.
Overall, this book was absolutely worth the read and I would definitely recommend it if you love thrillers that will keep you on the edge.
4 Hot Espressos