Review: Vicarious by Paula Stokes

26114131Vicarious by Paula Stokes

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: August 16th, 2016
Publisher: Tor Teen
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 13+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Mystery, Science Fiction, Family

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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. But they’ve escaped the past and started over in a new place where no one knows who they used to be.

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 is devastated. She won’t rest until she finds her sister’s killer. But when the clues she uncovers conflict with the digital 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.

Well that was… immensely intense.

I just can’t believe human trafficking is something that exists and everywhere in the world at that. Not only is it illegal, but the thought of someone claiming another person’s life the way they want is absolutely repulsive and enraging and scaring and it shouldn’t exist.

Luckily, Winter escaped the men who kidnapped her and her sister. Now, she works for Gideon as a ‘‘recorder.’’ In this futuristic world, experiences/situations can be recorded with a headset for other people to buy and experience. They can, for instance, swim with sharks vicariously through the ViSEs (Vicarious Sensory Experience).

This is a creative idea. The execution is well-done, though I did find a lack of action when there should have been quite a lot of it. The beginning and ending are actually my favourite parts, because of how action-packed and interesting they are. What is in-between is way slower, but still worth reading since the mystery took over the action and that, too, is an attention-grabber.

I liked how the author developed a mystery case in this science fiction book. It worked quite well, although I must admit I’m still unsure of how I should feel right now, knowing I’ve been played with super hard. Really, really hard. I mean, that revelation. Damn.

Winter is such a strong heroine. Not only that, she is also extremely likeable and somehow soft in the right places. She is broken, and I know usually broken characters turn into clichés, with the ‘‘not able to love’’ thingy, but in this case it made so much sense and it was so greatly developed that I didn’t mind it.

However, I didn’t find the secondary characters as enticing as Winter. They’re okay, and they do have their little back story, but it wasn’t enough to make them memorable to my eyes. Something was missing. In my opinion, the plot could have benefited of another point of view, though that would have messed the revelation up, probably.

Original story, fabulous heroine, good writing and mind-blowing twist.

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10 thoughts on “Review: Vicarious by Paula Stokes

  1. I’m sorry you didn’t love this as much as I did, but I’m glad you enjoyed most of it, aside from the secondary characters. I actually found Jesse very interesting and Winter’s guardian quite compelling. I can’t wait to see where Stokes might take things in the next one.


  2. I’ve read Liars Inc by this author so I am pretty interested in trying another one of her novels. This one sounds quite good and like it addresses a very important theme. I have to agree – human trafficking is disgusting and enrages me so much. It’s good to raise that subject in YA, like Stokes did.


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