Dystopian Game: Nexis

ARC Review + Guest Post + Giveaway: Nexis by A.L. Davroe

Title: Nexis
Author: A.L. Davroe
Pages: 304
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publish Date: December 1, 2015
Genre: YA Science Fiction

Synopsis: In the domed city of Evanescence, appearance is everything. A Natural Born amongst genetically-altered Aristocrats, all Ella ever wanted was to be like everyone else. Augmented, sparkling, and perfect. Then…the crash. Devastated by her father’s death and struggling with her new physical limitations, Ella is terrified to learn she is not just alone, but little more than a prisoner.
Her only escape is to lose herself in Nexis, the hugely popular virtual reality game her father created. In Nexis she meets Guster, a senior player who guides Ella through the strange and compelling new world she now inhabits. He offers Ella guidance, friendship…and something more. Something that allows her to forget about the “real” world, and makes her feel whole again.
But Nexis isn’t quite the game everyone thinks it is.
And it’s been waiting for Ella.

I received this book for free from the publisher. It does not affect my opinion in any way.

Cover: This is one of the most perfect sci-fi covers out there. It shows a futuristic city, so you know that it’s some type of dystopian world. The elaborate clothing shows an obsession with clothing. The font gives a futuristic feel. If you can’t tell, I love it. It’s a perfect addition to shelves.

Characters: Ellani is the next Katniss, Tris, Katy, whatever you want to call her. She is the next IT heroine. The top dog. Throughout the novel, Ella transforms from a basic (I used it again #BasicBookBlogger) girl obsessed with appearances to someone that takes charge and does the good for the people. A female Robin Hood. She ends up sacrificing so much, and although I want to feel sorry for her, her attitude keeps me from doing that. I rooted for her from start to finish because she is such a strong leading character. Ellani will be the next big thing.

Mr. Unknown. I mentioned in my last That’s What HE said post a quote from Mr. Unknown. It’s unknown because you do not discover his name until later in the novel ;) and I do not want to give it away. He did a magnificent job of revealing it though. It was very very smooth. Almost like a post on Tumblr….

The Tricksters added heart to the story. I loved each and every one of them although I did get them mixed up sometimes. They were pretty cool, and I just wanted to be one of them, you know? They were awesome.

Plot: Amazing. I hardly have words to describe how much I loved it. It was so fresh and a nice break from your typical dystopian novel. There’s another book that was about a game that reminded me of Nexis, but I forget what it’s called. I love how Davroe mixes coding with beauty. It’s not common in our world, but it does happen so it’s nice to see that.

I loved the whole idea of the Tricksters. They are going for something good, but are still bad. They’re not good people, they’d be the first to admit it, but they know what’s good for the greater mass. It’s an interesting concept.

Ending: Can I just say I knew it? Halfway through reading Nexis, I said out loud who Mr. Unknown is. I’m good at guessing the ending, so I don’t know if it’s that obvious but I so knew it. The only thing I didn’t like was how Mr. Unknown was telling Ella about he would see her in the past and think so highly of her. That’s so overdone, so I wish that it wasn’t in there. It was still a great end to a great story. I need the next one!

Overall: Davroe is a fantastic author with a great writing style. Her characters are to die for! She has such an interesting imagination, I hope she writes many more books! If you are looking for one of the best novels I’ve read this year, reach no further because Nexis is for you. You will love it. It’s amazing, and I cannot wait for more.

Davroe's Guest Post

The Bio-Nuclear War, the Post-American Domes, and Evanescence

The Bio-Nuclear War first began in the year 2032 CE. Little is known about the cause of the war. Though, it is believed that the war began following a series of escalating terrorist attacks that culminated in the timed release of a number of deadly biological agents in cities across the world. The resulting chaos that ensued became the Bio-Nuclear War, which became the biggest, most brutal World War – involving nearly every country in the world and resulting in the devastation of the world economy, the overwhelming desecration of all arable lands, and an astronomical decline in the human population.

Just before the war, a large American corporation had begun building a series of large domed communities that would be advertised as tourist destinations. With the advent of the war, this corporation chose to capitalize on the growing hysteria and began to sell off the properties to other wealthy investors. These investors quickly began altering the domes in order to create “safe havens” from outside threats. Not a penny was spared, no technology unused. The intent of these new investors was to capitalize on the fears of the American citizens, selling residency to the highest bidders.

Little did they know that these bastions of salvation actually became the front line in protecting the American people from complete Post-Apocalyptic annihilation.

When the war finally ended, the landscape of the world had changed. The United States was merely a shadow of what she had once been. In fact, she wasn’t a country at all – to call a place a country would imply some sort of unity and structure. This once-country was now a wasteland studded with refuse, warring human settlements struggling to survive, and the monolithic, impenetrable structures of the domes.

We had entered the Post-American age.

Post-America is comprised of ten domed cities. Each city is financially backed, owned, and operated by private investors. These private investors were also the ones to choose who was selected to live in the domed cities before the country fell. The selection process ranged from anonymous drawings, lottery, paid bids, and “intelligent selection.”

Those who were not selected were left outside to fend for themselves in the wake of the Bio-Nuclear War. These people – those who survived, anyway – are called Disfavored by the inhabitants of Evanescence. They receive little to no aid from the Domes, yet they somehow manage to cling to life – mostly by living close to the domes where they survive off of the waste of the Domites, as well as live under the residual protection of each dome’s external defenses.

Evanescence was acquired by and is still owned and operated by G-Corp which, in turn, is controlled solely by the Cyr family. While Jackson Cyr, the original owner, sought to make a profit from selling positions within the city, he also understood the importance of keeping the city alive. So, in additional to allowing for paid bids, he also employed “Intelligent Selection” which was a method of recruiting the most gifted and talented Americans as citizens.

It was these people who were going to make the city something great. In Cyr’s eyes, his citizens would be both the best and the brightest – everyone was an Aristocrat. This is why he believed he needed to restructure the social system within Evanescence – making all citizens equal from day one. In order to do this, Cyr devised a simple system. Acceptance into Evanescence required two things: One: all occupants had to surrender personal holdings to the city upon their admittance. Two: all occupants were required to hold a city-selected occupation -- for which they would be paid according to merit.

A staggering number of people were willing to adhere to these rules if it came to survival.

After all residents were admitted and the dome was sealed, Cyr redistributed part of the wealth evenly among the citizens. When it came to assigning occupations, those who were intelligently selected were given positions in their field. The once-wealthy occupants were given jobs alongside these citizens. The once-rich had to learn from the intelligent or risk being out-performed and forced into poverty. At first, this arrangement leveled the playing field. However, Cyr left out the important calculation that some of the most intelligent are also the most wealthy. This smaller subset that straddled both worlds soon started out-performing the rest and quickly rose to the top – becoming the Elite among the Aristocrats.

Short Historic Points About Evanescence

Three years after Evanescence was sealed a parasitic infestation led to the eradication of all animals within the city.

The city experienced almost a century of technological stagnancy. It took quite a few years for the occupants to settle into dome living. And after that, most innovation went into fine-tuning the city so that it could support its occupants. Once the city managed to operate, almost on its own, the great minds of the Aristocracy began to focus on its citizens…

In PA 125 genetic Customization of unborn children became legal.

The first G-Chip was implanted PA January 1, 133. By PA 138, citizens were required to receive the chip or face expulsion. There are only three people on record who took this course. In PA 139 all memory and documented history of the compulsory implantation of the G-Chip was erased from the main frame archives. Some surmise it was also erased from every citizen’s memory (via the G-Chip) as well.

By PA 150 99% of newborns were Customized. It took less than two generations for the citizens to become bored of their perfections and begin demanding new ways to stand out in the crowd – it’s at this time that the terms “Modify” and “Alter” are coined.

The first android companion became available in the year PA 171. It was nothing like the current androids used today, but it was always meant to act as a servant to the city’s occupants.

Despite having such incredible technological sophistication and promise, research tends to focus most specifically on the frivolous and self indulgent – homage to the social roots of the Aristocrats.

In Evanescence, there is no such thing as race, ethnicity, or religion. Religion lost its footing after the war. Ethnicity had no meaning to people who had all lived the same lifestyle. Race became irrelevant after Customization became popular.

In Evanescence, the style of the day is Neo-Baroque. The trend was brought into high fashion by a brilliant young Designer named Harley Dean. He just happens to be Ella’s favorite Designer…

During the year PA 231 (Which is when NEXIS takes place): The most common Body Alteration is the fiber-optic hair follicle. The most common Body Modification is the corneal implant. The average Primper sells for 435 credits. The most common preference for Custom babies in Evanescence is green eyes and red hair.

Only once, in the history, of Evanescence has the G-Corp main frame ever contracted a virus.


About the Author

A.L. (Amanda) Davroe writes both YA and adult speculative fiction. She prefers revisionist tales in paranormal, romance, Steampunk, and fantasy. She is the author of Salvation Station (adult psych horror), The City Steam Collection (adult psych horror), For Your Heart (YA Paranormal Romance) and her YA Sci-Fi novel, Nexis, is coming out with Entangled Publishing December 1, 2015!
By day, Amanda lives in Connecticut with her two feline hench-creatures and makes cheese. She's a terrible blusher, has a weak spot for cuddly animals, loves Laffy Taffy and Cadbury MiniEggs, and she's a huge advocate of alternative healing methods. Amanda also wears purple shoes and corsets...Though not always in the same ensemble. She's a Capricorn, a Hufflepuff, a bit gothic, and a few nuggets short of a Happy Meal.



  1. Plot line sounds great, I haven't read a dystipia lately and this sounds worthwhile

    1. It is great! I loved it, and I'm asking for it for Christmas! Nexis is just one of those books that sticks with you.

      Thanks for stopping by!