Review: Nexus by Ramez Naam

NexusSeries: Nexus #1
Published by: Angry Robot
ISBN: 0857662937
ISBN 13: 9780857662934
Published: December 2012
Pages: 460
Format reviewed: eVersion
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Five out of Five

I first read this book in July 2014 despite it being released in December 2012 in order to vote in the Hugo Awards in the not-a-Hugo-award category, the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. At the time I was too busy to review, and then recently I was a little confused to see it up on NetGalley but jumped at the chance to re-read and finally review it. Turns out, in celebration of the release of the third book (Apex, due out in May) they’ve redesigned the covers – I have to say, I’m really loving the new look.

Nexus (US/Canada mass-market reissue) March 2015
Crux (US/Canada mass-market reissue) April 2015
Apex (trade paperback) May 2015

That aside, Nexus is hard to describe at first. It has one of those plots that could sound silly (like the Matrix) if you try to explain the plot, when in print it’s very well done. We have mindjacking – the ability to read another’s mind and, if you want to, force them to move and speak as you wish. All in all this part of the novel is minor, merely the setup for what the novel really explores, which is morality and what it means to be human, and the rights we all have – or should have.

We follow a young scientist who is caught improving Nexus as he believes that everyone deserves the right to such technology/ability, but who then finds himself thrown into a world of danger and international espionage – for there is far more at stake than anyone realises.

This was engaging and fun, packed into a fast-paced action novel, and I really hope the rest of the series is just as good. It is a bit problematic with a few dating issues when they explore what Nexus is capable of, but at least it’s realistic – this shows just one of the things it would be used for, and doesn’t exactly advocate its use.

One of the better things about this novel is how well the author writes about technology and the abilities it has – you really feel that the author has a tight understanding of it all which makes it so much easier to read. Also, he goes through great lengths to explore the idea of consent – it’s a shame we don’t see this right at the beginning as I know of people who put it down soon after that, rather than getting to see the change through the novel for the important messages regarding this.

All in all, this was one of my favourite novels of 2014, and one I highly recommend people pick up.

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