Nexis (A Tricksters Novel) by A.L. Davroe
**I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review**
For Ellani Drexel, one of the last remaining Naturals, or natural born people who has not had genetic modifications, living in the lustrous city of Evanescense just got more difficult – through her father, a brilliant mind and creator of the virtual-reality game called Nexis, she is now an Aristocracy. Being a natural Aristocracy has its fair share of difficulty, but when her and her father are in an accident that leaves her father dead and her disfigured, Ella figures she has nothing left to live for. Especially when she ends up basically trapped in her own home, with everyone thing she perished in the accident as well. Ella’s only “escape” is when she begins to play the game her father created, Nexis, where she can be anyone or anything she wants to be – which includes being whole again, if even for the duration of the “game”.
When Ella befriends a young man, Guster, within Nexis – she begins to hope for a “normal” life, even if it is within a game. Guster introduces her to several others that have the “Trickster” marks – a spider, fox, coyote, crow, and rabbit. Together they will be able to accomplish the unthinkable – entering the Anansi Chamber…no one knows the significance, only that the Oracle has deemed them as worthy to enter and crack the code to the Nexis world. But it comes with a price, one that may be too much for Ella to pay – even if it is only a virtual game, the consequences of the Tricksters actions may be more then they can pay in their real lives. Can Ella’s coding skills really get them past, or make them suffer?
I thoroughly enjoyed this story. While it was broken into several “mini-chapters” while Ella goes between the game of Nexis and real-time, in Evanescense, it was great how Ms. Devroe was able to make the reader connect with both sides of Ella’s life. Ella becomes so engrossed in the game, that it almost becomes real to her – first loves, good friends, and a rebel with a good cause. But it really spoke to me on an acceptance level – Ella’s life in the real world is not her own…being disfigured makes her ability to open up while in Nexis a true gift for not only her, but her fellow Tricksters. While she is sad, lonely, and moping around while in her real life, she always has something to look forward to when she enters Nexis – her friends and Guster, who show her what acceptance really looks like…something she has yearned for her whole life. I think she makes tremendous progress throughout the story, but will rise and be someone the world can look up to in the next book.