Today I am thrilled to celebrate the release of Virtual Arcana: Season 1 by one of my all-time favorite authors, the just too darn awesome for words Karen Amanda Hooper! This serial novel has become somewhat of an addiction of mine these last handful of months and I am so thrilled to be part of this party!
Join the celebration on Facebook, April 8-9, 2015.
Great guests, great fun and an abundance of great prizes!
Check out my review of Virtual Arcana: Season 1, plus an ultra special giveaway below!
Virtual Arcana: Season 1 by Karen Amanda Hooper
Published by Starry Sky Publishing on April 5, 2014
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Fiction, Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Source: eARC from Author
Buy the Book • Goodreads
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
In a faraway future, Kelsey Zellar is starting her senior year at yet another school thanks to her twin sister’s troublesome obsession with outlawed virtual reality games. Every school they’ve ever attended is pretty much the same: lunchroom drama, rich kids binging on enhancement candies, and classmates rallying for or against the government’s strict control over everything from entertainment privileges to caffeine consumption.
Unlike her sister, Kelsey follows the rules and keeps her nose out of trouble and politics while sniffing out her next flavored latte and favorite novel. But when Kelsey meets a charming book connoisseur, and accepts his offering of a tarot card, she takes the first step toward two new addictions: the guy of her dreams, and his illegal dealing of virtual escapes into her beloved storybooks. Kelsey straddles the worlds of fiction and reality, but is she a fool for believing in her own happy ending?
Virtual Arcana is a series unlike any that I have read before. Not only is the book mind-bendingly trippy and twisted, but it is also the first full novel I have ever read in serial format. In case you do not know, a “serial” novel is one that is released in “parts” or “episodes”, much like the original release of a favorite graphic novel or television series. Each installment is released on a regular basis. This format works unbelievably well for the Virtual Arcana series, because each “episode” revolves around a single card in the tarot deck. Each arc moves swiftly through the story and each ending leaves you craving more.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: When it comes to her writing and storytelling skills, self-published author, Karen Hooper, can easily compete with any author backed by either of the “Big 6”. She takes you into the complicated “reality” of her story and gains possession of your heart and emotions, twisting them with every word she writes. This world is both futuristic a’ la The Matrix and yet reminiscent of a modern day society much like our own. If you are nostalgic for the very first “take me away” emotions originally manifested by that popular 90’s film trilogy, and are wanting to experience those same emotions anew – this is your series. It’s The Matrix tailored to a YA audience, seriously. (In fact, I’d love to see if you can pick out all of the sly YA references sprinkled throughout!)
Can you imagine a world where caffeine is illegal, fantasy is forbidden and heightened emotions are suppressed? That is the world in which Kelsey must live. Until the day she is noticed by a young man who promises her that there is more out there than what can be seen and controlled by the government. He leads her down the virtual rabbit hole into world that will frequently have you asking what is “real” and what is not… In between the extremely dangerous and frequently fast-paced story elements are moments of pure joy. The romance between Kelsey (a super snarky and Alice-like heroine) and Xander (the barista with an interesting deck of cards) is toe-curlingly perfect. If you know anything about Karen’s earlier Kindrily series, you’ll know that she writes YA romance well. There is nothing lacking in that department there. But even when the story takes a moment to slow down, you will never stop questioning “real?” or “not real?”.
While I did find myself somewhat lost once or twice while reading this series, this was largely due to the fact that I had a month-long gap between “episode” reads. Usually, stepping back and reminding myself what happened in the previous installment helped me to become re-immersed in the story once again. I cannot recommend this book enough, and have a feeling you will devour all 400 pages in virtually no time at all. (There’s also an ah-ha! moment near the end that had my jaw dropping lower than it ever has before in any YA series. Fellow Karen fans, I would privately love to discuss this with you if you think you know what moment I am referring to.)
Word of warning: Once you have reached the end of Virtual Arcana: Season 1, you will likely find yourself seeking out Karen’s previous works. Thanks to the major cliffhanger, you will probably also be itching for the start of Season 2…
By the way, Karen, how is that coming along, hmm? *flutters eyelashes*
Five follow me down the rabbit hole emojis!
Thank you for visiting today and joining in on the Virtual Arcana festivities! Now is your chance to win YOUR CHOICE of any product from the Bookiemoji Designs store valued at $20 or lower! Simply use the Rafflecopter form below and maximize your entries today!
This giveaway is open 2 days only – so act fast!
Open internationally, as long as Society6 ships to your country. Void where prohibited.
Let’s talk in the comments below!