Bluh. I feel like I shouldn’t even be calling this a review, because I’m not sure it’ll end up being one.
I was way into the idea of this book very early on because of that oh-so-very-intriguing tagline.
Mankind gets an upgrade
I mean…right? Yeah, that totally sounds like my kind of thing, y’know?
AND THE COVER! [swoon] Seriously, that’s an amazing cover and contributed to my whole sense of “ZOMG MUST READ THIS NAO!”
The titular (heh) Nexus is a nano-drug that allows for mind-to-mind communication, and the first few pages were kind of hilarious with our main character testing out the drug with programs that allow him to be a smooth lothario…only there’s a glitch that ends up – look, that part is pretty funny and I’m not going to ruin it for you.
…and it’s not like there weren’t other parts that were interesting, because really the story could have been pretty great.
I did say “could have been” though, I hope you noticed that.
The ideas presented were new enough that I found myself extremely disappointed when the story devolved into just another spy-thriller-zomg the government is EEEEEVIL novel and I might have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t just finished Mira Grant’s Newsflesh series, which was very similar thematically (but with zombies instead of nanotechnology).
I felt like the fact that much of our (as readers) knowledge of this future society came to us through infodumps taking the form of “interviews” and “briefings” and that was just sloppy worldbuilding. No, really. If I’m reading something where each line is denoted with who is speaking, I’m going to get annoyed and bored REALLY FAST. I think that’s why it took me SO LONG to finish. Nexus was a book that I kind of enjoyed while I was reading it, but getting to the point of picking it up was a chore.
I didn’t hate it, I just couldn’t bring myself to care. I read fiction to lose myself in the characters and worlds I’m reading, and I wasn’t able to do that with this one. I probably won’t be picking up the sequel, but since I enjoyed the sciencey bits (in particular the notes at the end) more than I did the narrative, I’ll be checking out Ramez Naam‘s non-fiction title (More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement) and I think I’ll find that to be more what I was expecting. For realsies, I look forward to reading that one – so I’m not counting this as a loss since I wouldn’t have known about Naam’s non-fic if it weren’t for this book.
Would I recommend it? At the beginning, I thought I’d be telling Trev and Yogs to read it, but now I’m not so sure. If exposition doesn’t bother you and the thought of a futuristic spy thriller makes your knees weak, then definitely check it out. If that doesn’t sound like your thing – don’t bother. I’m not about to get all shouty about this one either way.
Thanks (once again) to Angry Robot for the eARC. [crosses fingers that the next one will be more her cuppa]