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review 2017-06-08 17:40
Review: Apex (Nexus Book 3 of 3)
Apex: Nexus Arc Book 3 - Ramez Naam

Apex is the final book in the trilogy that began with Nexus.  It begins at pretty much the same instant that the previous book left off.  I thought it wrapped up the trilogy well, although there was one thing near the end that I wish hadn’t happened.  By the end, the author had addressed all of the many little plot threads and character arcs.  He didn’t necessarily tie everything up into a neat little package, which can sometimes feel unrealistic anyway, but he provided a good idea of where things would go next and left me with a sense of hopefulness.


I did have more trouble staying focused while reading this book than I did with the previous one.  The structure is similar, with short chapters that jump around between characters, but not all the plot threads in this book held my interest even though I think they were necessary to the greater story.  I wasn’t bored, really; I just sometimes had to rein my attention back in when we moved away from the characters and storylines that I was more interested in.


The trilogy brought up a lot of interesting ideas about what would happen in a world where you could take a drug (of sorts) and have the ability to share thoughts and feelings.  Throughout the course of this trilogy, we see a variety of ways in which it could be used -- both good and bad.  Considering the implications, and whether the good outweighs the bad or vice versa, was one of the most interesting aspects of the trilogy.  There were a few things I was skeptical about but, in general, I could easily picture real people reacting in the various ways that people reacted throughout the trilogy.

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review 2017-06-05 02:01
Review: Crux (Nexus Book 2 of 3)
Crux (The Nexus Trilogy Book 2) - Ramez Naam

This is the second book in the trilogy that started with Nexus.  I won’t talk about the plot, because doing so would spoil the story from the first book.  I’ll just say that the story picks up about three months after the end of the first book and progresses more or less along the lines you might expect.


I think I enjoyed this as much as, if not slightly more than, the first book.  It felt more consistently fast-paced.  One thing that helped is that, while there’s still quite a bit of moral ambiguity, the characters don’t debate it as much.  The format was also somewhat different with shorter chapters, a larger cast of point-of-view characters, and rapid changes between characters.  I know some people don’t like books that have a lot of characters, but for me it depends on how distinctive those characters are and how interesting their stories are.  In the case of this book, each character’s story was interesting to me.  The characters were also distinctive enough that I never mixed them up, although I can’t say the same for the author.


I was surprised to see several editing issues, because I don’t remember any glaring errors in the first book.  There were large sections that seemed perfectly fine, but then I’d start noticing several errors.  Poor Claire, a minor character, had a particularly rough time.  Not only did her name get misspelled, but she had to stand in for another guy’s wife at one point.  They were in bed at the time, so I’m sure that was awkward.  (No, it definitely wasn’t intended to be that way in the story.)  I enjoyed the story too much to be terribly annoyed about the errors, but they were a little distracting so I hope there are fewer in the third book.


I find myself really on the fence in regard to what I think about where things are going in the story, even in terms of potential consequences that the good guys seem to consider a good thing.  The bad things are really, really bad, but the “good things” are a bit horrifying to me also, or maybe it’s just that they’re portrayed idealistically and I think the reality would be very different.  I’m going to reserve judgment until I finish the trilogy and then I might discuss it more within spoiler tags, depending on what I think by the time I make it to the end.  Either way, I’m pretty absorbed by the story and I look forward to seeing how the author concludes it.

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review 2017-06-01 01:59
Review: Nexus (Nexus Book 1 of 3)
Nexus (The Nexus Trilogy Book 1) - Ramez Naam

Nexus is the first book in a science fiction trilogy. The term “Nexus” refers to an illegal drug of sorts that contains nanotechnology. After being ingested, Nexus creates a network that allows people with the drug in their system to share thoughts and emotions with each other. College students have secret parties where they all take Nexus and then they glory in the empathy and the oneness of it all. Evil people use it for mind control.


There are two main point-of-view characters. Kade is a brilliant college student who, along with a friend, has significantly enhanced what Nexus can do. He has idealistic visions of sharing it freely with the world so it can be used to improve society. Sam is an agent for a U.S. military organization. She works to prevent the distribution, development, and use of the drug so that it can’t be misused.


It was really an interesting story. It did lag in spots, mostly in the first half, but I didn’t have much trouble staying interested. The main parts that lagged for me were the discussions and arguments about the morality of suppressing or sharing something like Nexus. The arguments were written well enough, and would have been interesting in a smaller dose, but anybody who reads a lot of science fiction has probably seen similar arguments before in various contexts. I felt like they came up a few times too often.


In the second half, things got quite intense, and pretty violent. It's definitely not the most graphic book I've read but, if there are any particular types of content warnings that will make you avoid a book, I think it’s safe to say that those warnings apply here to at least some extent. If you don’t mind a brutal book, this one has an interesting story and is written well. I also liked and empathized with the characters, and the moral dilemmas were real enough that I often wasn’t sure what I wanted to happen or who to root for.


This book doesn’t really end in a cliff hanger; it would stand alone if you don’t mind not having all of your threads wrapped up at the end. There’s clearly much more story to tell, and I plan to move directly on to the second book to find out what happens next.

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review 2016-12-25 00:00
Nexus (Warder #5)
Nexus (Warder #5) - Mary Calmes Review will be included in a full Volume review of Warders: Volume 2.


This is, perhaps, the second best story in all the series (with Sinnerman taking first place).

Again, there was the issue with 1st person POV not being informative enough – a theme that is persistent in all the stories of this series. Unless you can remember each character by name and their association with the others in the story, then it takes far too long to learn who the 1st person POV is actually from. This one took 3 pages for us to get Marcus' name. Though knowing that it was a warder who was a lawyer helped point me in the right direction, it takes far too long to find out who the POV is for, even taking until page 2 for us to find out it's Joseph's warder mate.
Marcus and Joe are only our second established couple of the series, but I love them. I actually believed their relationship more than Simon and Leith's, which made a little more sense when we found out here (though not during Simon and Leith's story, as far as I can remember) that they'd only been together less than a year. Marcus and Joe, however, have had six years together and that was obvious from the way they worked as such a cohesive team and how much more organic and natural their relationship was. Joe was my favourite, especially with the way that he reacted to Marcus. Being a gay, interracial couple in a small 'hick' town, while Joe is blind and Marcus is black, could have spelled so much trouble, even with Joe's family. But the way he handled it was beautifully done.
I was proud, but also sad, to see the way Joe handled being around his cousin Kyle, and to learn their history. Proud because he was still strong, he hadn't let that incident define him or destroy him, but sad because he could never escape that memory with Kyle at every family gathering. At the same time, I loved the way he turned to Marcus for protection, so trusting and so sure that he'd be there. Joe sees Marcus so clearly, despite being blind. He knows and trusts everything about him, the same way that Marcus does with Joe. So when their relationship hit that rocky patch near the end, I almost died! It just wasn't fair. But then it was worked through, screamed through and resolved and I felt whole again.
The whole thing was just a master class in beautiful storytelling and masterful planning.


Favourite Quote

““A warder has to be able to return to his hearth and home to be cared for and find sanctuary and draw power. I understand my role, and it's as vital to me as it is to you. I love you and I know my value. But I can't leave my family in danger, and I know you can't, either. So let's handle this and then go home so you can fight alongside your brothers.”
He was decisive and firm and absolute. It was hard to contain my love for him, because really, the man was phenomenal.
“Just say, 'Yes, Joe, I agree.'”
“Yes, Joe, I agree,” I sighed.
“I go with you, Marcus. Don't be stupid.”
Of course he did.”
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text 2015-09-18 13:32
Google Nexus 10 woes

My poor tablet is having issues. I just tried to update it, and it gave me dramatic error messages to the point that I thought it was time for a factory reset. By the time I'd managed to get on my computer and figure out which buttons I'd need to push, my tablet was acting like nothing had happened and swearing that the update went just fine. Considering that it's been having slight issues for a few days now (Bookmarks page showing up as blank), I'm not sure I believe it.


Crossing my fingers that it behaves itself from here on out. On the plus side, it's not my primary e-reading device, although it's the only device I use to read library e-books and has all my notes for the review of The Jade Temptress I need to write.

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