Author: Chuck Wendig
Rating: 4 Stars
Review By: Shana
An enjoyable near-future SF, with the focus on cyber issues, artificial intelligence (AI), and intelligence augmentation (IA). In this 2015 book, Wendig has taken a slice out of life and built the plot around five characters who represent common hacker stereotypes. You have a white hat hacker/hacktivist, a black hat, an old school cyberpunk turned conspiracy theorist/prepper, classic social engineer, and an internet troll. Though they could be rote stand-ins, Wendig has made them all more than mere caricatures. In opposition lie two potential antagonists, the government (who spirits them away to a secluded compound in the woods, half penitentiary, half think tank), and a looming technology. What ensues is equal parts action/thriller and cyber SF, replete with shady federal actions and conspiracies.
Our five central characters all have layers and secrets, and strengths that complement one another. The story has plenty of action and uses the characters and their interaction to poke fun at and highlight the dangers of our interconnected society. The book is not perfect, and the penultimate climax/resolution feels a little pat, though not exceedingly so. Nonetheless, I look forward to other books by Wendig, including the well-reviewed follow-up to this book, Invasive.
My love of reading was sparked in 3rd grade by the promise of personal pan pizzas via the BOOK IT! Program. Hmmmm... any chance that someone might give adults free food for reading? Asking for a friend...