Series: Virtual Arcana #5
Also in this series: The Fool, The Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress, The Emperor, The Lovers
Genres: Dystopian, Mystery & Detective, Romance, Science Fiction, Social Issues, Young Adult
on March 15, 2015
Amazon • Goodreads
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?
This series is straight up cray-cray.
Hooper really raised the stakes with this installment. In comparison to The Hierophant, previous books have been Kelsey and Xander traipsing through a world of wonder. Things get really serious in The Hierophant, and it smacks you in the face, no apologies necessary.
As Kelsey continues to dig deeper into the world of VR, we start learning more about our mysterious and rag-tag band of heroes, especially Xander and Devlin. It is still completely impossible to tell what is real and what is a VR scenario, though we are pretty sure (maybe like, 87.5% sure?) that Kelsey is still just being tested by the aforementioned heroes. However, things get super serious when an outside force interferes.
And by super serious, I mean, nightmarishly so. Oh yeah, Hooper decided it was time to throw down the gauntlet.
Kelsey goes through some rough stuff in this book, and this time, Xander isn’t there to protect her. Xander wasn’t in this one as much, which was good, I think. He’s always so quick to swoop in and save the day, that forcing Kelsey to be on her own really raised the stakes. She didn’t do too well by herself; it doesn’t help that she remembers less than the reader. Seriously though, I would like a tiny bit more information to know what is actually going on. Sigh. I suppose I’ll just have to wait till The Lovers comes out.
I’m starting to think that eventually, Kelsey is just going to wake up and discover she’s been living in the Matrix her entire life. EVERYTHING IS A LIE. I’m calling it, right here, right now. The life she thought she knew before wasn’t real at all.
If you’re looking for a mind-bending, sci-fi touting, romantic good time, you can’t do better than Karen Amanda Hooper’s Virtual Arcana series.