Monday, June 20, 2016

Review: Unplugged

Unplugged by Donna Freitas
The Wired #1
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: June 21st, 2016
Source: ALA Midwinter
Date Read: 6/16/16 to 6/17/16
448 pages

Humanity is split into the App World and the Real World—an extravagant virtual world for the wealthy and a dying physical world for the poor. Years ago, Skylar Cruz’s family sent her to the App World for a chance at a better life.

Now Skye is a nobody, a virtual sixteen-year-old girl without any glamorous effects or expensive downloads to make her stand out in the App World. Yet none of that matters to Skye. All she wants is a chance to unplug and see her mother and sister again.

But when the borders between worlds suddenly close, Skye loses that chance. Desperate to reach her family, Skye risks everything to get back to the physical world. Once she arrives, however, she discovers a much larger, darker reality than the one she remembers.

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

I've always been interested in a virtual world setting. Although I tend to lean towards reading about video games (which I have YET to do!), Unplugged focuses on a virtual world designed for living. I found the novel to quick and entertaining, yet it lacks some major, major worldbuilding.

Skye is a "single". Her family besides herself have volunteered to become Keepers of everyone connected to virtual reality. But because they want Skylar to have a better life, they send her into the App World, leading her to lead a life as a single. Although she has a surrogate family, Skye longs to see her family again even though it's been many years. But when her only chance to unplug is gone, she turns elsewhere. As a result, this leads to being caught up in politics between the Real World and the App World. And of course, getting close and personal with Rain Holt, the uh...leader's son (basically all you need to know is that he's super important and super good looking, the usual).

This novel would have been much better if the world wasn't half developed. There were many, many questions that arose as I read. As the reader, we're told that the ones with a lot of "capital" can live life luxuriously with "apps". Apps in the App World can change someone's appearance, can transport you into a game, a new location, create food, clothes. The catch is that it's time sensitive. In order to always have the ability to download apps, you need capital. But where does the capital come from? How do you get more? It doesn't seem like anyone works in the App World. Are you just assigned capital, and once it's all used up you're done? Then what happens next?

And then there's the Real World. Where does New Port City take place? Is the rest of the world just as enamored with virtual reality? What is the form of currency there? Trust me, I have so many more questions than just these.

Skye is boring. Of course, when she emerges in her new body, she's the most beyootiful. Wow I did not see that coming. And apparently, everything they learned in the App World is transferred to their real body, because the brain assimilates everything from the virtual world. I understand how this would work for certain skills, like driving, but strength? No, that doesn't transfer. You need to physically work on your strength. If you've been laying there for 10 years, your muscles will not be toned. (Then again this is science fiction, and this has never been tested, so I'll let this slide).

Let's not talk about the relationship. There's nothing to talk about.

Wow I should talk about the positives! Honestly I felt just meh about this, but it didn't bother me enough to rate it 2 stars. The fast paced plot kept me going, a reason why I finished this in only 2 days. Other than all of my questions, which may hopefully be addressed in the second book, Unplugged kept me entertained.   
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