by Paula Stokes
Read: September 22 - 26, 2016
Published: August 16, 2016 by Tor
Category: YA, Thriller, Mystery,
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.
Vicarious is a rush. Fast paced and intense. I was kept reading quickly and guessing up to the end. I was right there along with Winter trying to figure everything out. This girl has gone through a lot and because of that finds it easier to participate and record extreme sports and other dangerous activities than get close to people. It was both painful and rewarding to watch her begin to open up and face her past in this book. Especially as that happens when she discovers her beloved sister Rose had been murdered. Rose has always been the rock in Winter's life, a constant presence through everything. Winter is devastated when learns out that she's been killed, and determined to do everything she can to find out what happened.
Gideon is Rose's ex boyfriend as well as Winter's boss and owner of the company that produces ViSEs. When I started this, I was worried he was going to turn into a love interest, and I was very happy that doesn't happen at all. Gideon is like an older brother to Winter, and very protective of her. We find out a lot more about Gideon through this book too. He definitely surprised me in places, but he is one of my favorite characters.
Jesse is Winter's ViSE partner. They work together recording extreme activities like bungee jumping and shark diving. I like Jesse a lot. It's clear he cares about Winter, and I liked that when the book begins they already know each other. The romance isn't the focus of the story, though it is an important element. Jesse and Winter spend a lot of time together, and I really enjoyed seeing them begin to open up more to each other. They are both a little damaged and make some mistakes with each other, but I really appreciated the rawness in their relationship.
I didn't expect how heavy this book would be when I started it - in terms of what Winter goes through and the things she faces about her past and herself. There were some elements of this story that were hard for me, and I'm still not sure what I think about them. The revelations at the ending were also tough. It's going to be difficult to wait for Ferocious, but I am desperate to read it!
Love Triangle Factor: none (but DM me directly if you are hyper sensitive to them)
Cliffhanger Scale: Medium