Review: Nexus (Nexus Book 1 of 3)

Nexus (The Nexus Trilogy Book 1) - Ramez Naam

Nexus is the first book in a science fiction trilogy. The term “Nexus” refers to an illegal drug of sorts that contains nanotechnology. After being ingested, Nexus creates a network that allows people with the drug in their system to share thoughts and emotions with each other. College students have secret parties where they all take Nexus and then they glory in the empathy and the oneness of it all. Evil people use it for mind control.


There are two main point-of-view characters. Kade is a brilliant college student who, along with a friend, has significantly enhanced what Nexus can do. He has idealistic visions of sharing it freely with the world so it can be used to improve society. Sam is an agent for a U.S. military organization. She works to prevent the distribution, development, and use of the drug so that it can’t be misused.


It was really an interesting story. It did lag in spots, mostly in the first half, but I didn’t have much trouble staying interested. The main parts that lagged for me were the discussions and arguments about the morality of suppressing or sharing something like Nexus. The arguments were written well enough, and would have been interesting in a smaller dose, but anybody who reads a lot of science fiction has probably seen similar arguments before in various contexts. I felt like they came up a few times too often.


In the second half, things got quite intense, and pretty violent. It's definitely not the most graphic book I've read but, if there are any particular types of content warnings that will make you avoid a book, I think it’s safe to say that those warnings apply here to at least some extent. If you don’t mind a brutal book, this one has an interesting story and is written well. I also liked and empathized with the characters, and the moral dilemmas were real enough that I often wasn’t sure what I wanted to happen or who to root for.


This book doesn’t really end in a cliff hanger; it would stand alone if you don’t mind not having all of your threads wrapped up at the end. There’s clearly much more story to tell, and I plan to move directly on to the second book to find out what happens next.