Apex by Ramez Naam: Can Tech Connected to Human Minds Lead To Peace?

by Mk

in Fiction,Mysteries & Thrillers,Science Fiction

ApexOften I don’t review the last book in a trilogy because it’s always so hard to figure out where to draw the line, especially knowing that some of you haven’t read the first two books. I’m making an exception for Apex, Book #3 in the Nexus trilogy by award-winning author Ramez Naam, because this is such an amazing trilogy.

In case you weren’t following my reviews when I posted the ones for Book#1, Nexus, and/or Book #2, Crux, I’d hate for you not to become aware of this storyline. It keeps getting nominated for awards, and rightfully so. Do you like science fiction that has a “this is really a likely future for us” ring to it? How about techno-thrillers, action adventure, and/or political intrigue? Are you someone like me who believes the world could live in peace if the right elements were to come together? If any of these things strike a cord then read on.

Warning: This is a trilogy that has to be read in order – it just has to. If you try to read it out of order, you may like all the non-stop action but you’ll find yourself going, “Huh? WTH are they talking about?” Seriously, do yourself a favor. There’s a link to Book #1, Nexus, at the end of this review. Read that review if you haven’t read this trilogy and, if you like it, download it and start with Book #1. You won’t be sorry and, bonus, you won’t have to wait on pins and needles for the next installment to come out. Booyah!

So, how do you write a review of the last book in a trilogy without doling out spoilers left and right. I’ve started writing this one three times and there’s just no way to prevent that, so this is going to be a really short review to avoid as many spoilers as possible. No quotes either for spoiler reasons. Sigh. It’s so hard not to spill the beans…

Using tech mind-to-mind to bring everyone together was an admirable idea and at first it was a mind-blowingly positive experience. Unfortunately, there were forces in the world that decided it could be subverted to gain power and control over the entire world (already sound familiar?). Greed and power are the ultimate corrupters. By the time the story has reached Apex’s beginning, all hell has broken loose. Rumors, innuendo, propaganda are even more easily transmitted across the world’s collective consciousness and that creates havoc; a havoc that could destroy us all if no one can find a way to stop it. What began as a way to bring peace to the world has been subverted and will destroy the planet if nothing can be done.

Children who are much more than just human children have been born around the world and are growing up. They have the potential to save the world if they can be directed along a peaceful path. At the same time, a power-hungry scientist who earlier merged with a master computer in China – and who is now completely insane – intends to seize the entire planet’s electronically-based systems. Her plan? To remold the entire world in her own insane image.

Ramez Naam knows his tech and the kinds of applications being discussed for its future. He has created a near-future world that is entirely too believable to anyone who’s worked in technology, given how tech is already progressing and enmeshing itself around the world. The world of Nexus is also a world of dichotomies and contradictions, just like in real life. Naam’s characters are highly complex, including even its most horrible villains. After all, no villain sees himself or herself as a villain. Naam clearly demonstrates how even the best and most altruistic idea can become a deadly nightmare if placed in the wrong hands. At the same time, he gives us hope and optimism about the inherent ability of human beings to do what it takes to not just survive but to thrive no matter what.

I think the Nexus trilogy will become a classic in much the same way the Dune series and other great science fiction series have before it. It’s the kind of series you carry with you after you’ve read the last page and find you have to discuss with other readers because its implications are too profound to keep to yourself. Do I recommend it – if you’re a sci-fi fan, or want an edge-of-your-seat smart-as-hell ride, definitely!

Can’t wait to read it?

Apex was published in the U.S. on May 12, 2015 and in the UK on May 7, 2015, so it’s available from your favorite online bookseller below (or in the right column for books). If you download it as an e-book, you can start reading immediately.

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I’d love to get your comments on Apex, Ramez Naam or his other work, and/or this review.

Click here to read our review of Book #1, Nexus, and click here to read our review of Book #2, Crux.

If you like this review, please contribute to our Reviewers’ Caffeine Fund in the left column. Just a cup a day, that’s all we ask.

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