Series: Vicarious #1
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult
Published by Tor (8.16.2016)
Hardcover, 336 pages
Source: From Publisher
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.
Before I picked this book up, I was in a massive reading slump. (No seriously, I’d picked up like 5 different books in succession with no luck, I didn’t finish any of them.) Perhaps all I needed was to step outside of my genre comfort zone!
I love Paula’s writing, and this one was no different. And such a cool concept, too! I loved the idea of ViSE – Vicarious Sensory Experience – basically, you can live vicariously through someone else’s experiences! Skydiving, bungee jumping, swimming with sharks, you name it – you can experience it like you were actually there. Awesome, right?! Our main character, Winter, is a recorder; which basically means she does all that crazy shit so that people can experience it vicariously. (I SO WANT THAT JOB.) I loved the concept of it!
The mystery aspect was pretty awesome, too. I was curious about the murder mystery, and it kept me intrigued. Even when there was a lull in the plot I was still interested in the endgame.
“Fingers to fingers and thumb to thumb, a pair of sisters like matching gloves.”
What struck me the most about this book is that Winter is a very tragic heroine. She’s got a very dark past, so she carries a lot of that darkness within her. She’s damaged and she has issues. I liked that she wasn’t perfect. Throughout the whole story I was very curious about her past. There’s hints at hospitalization, and therapy for PTSD, but you only get snippets. I couldn’t help but wonder, what the heck happened to her? Did she try to kill herself? View Spoiler »The truth was even crazier! I started to suspect that Rose was a figment of Winter’s imagination when she stumbled on her recording with Jesse and thought it was her sister. So I had already guessed the twist by the time it was revealed. But that didn’t make it any less crazier! « Hide Spoiler
Also, MISO. I loved him so much! I love that there was a cat character in the book. (And that Jesse called him Moo!)
The only complaint I have is that I didn’t connect to the characters as much as I’d hoped. I didn’t have much of an emotional response to things that I should probably have made me cry. View Spoiler »I mean, Gideon died and I didn’t even bat an eyelash. Eeeek. « Hide Spoiler
Writing style: 4/5
Overall rating: 4/5