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on 30 May 2014
Il loved Daemon and Freedom, Daniel Suarez's first two books. So I jumped at the chance to read this one. I enjoyed all the twists and turns as well as the cinematic type action, much like his other two books. The only thing I didn't like was that much of it was just too unbelievable, more fantasy than what I like in science fiction novels. There's nothing wrong with that if you like a lot of fantasy, and I do enjoy that too sometimes, but it's not what made me choose this book. Although this started out with a lot of seemingly logical tech talk and action, Suarez soon went too far with scenes that had me rolling my eyes and not believing that they could sorta-somehow take place.

I've often compared Suarez with Michael Crichton. Crichton is one of my all time favorite science fiction writers because his books were so believable with just a few leaps of faith here and there. Daemon was like that, plus it had a lot of computer high tech and AI stuff in it which I loved. This book may have been a page turner for me, but it was missing the "Oh yeah, this could really happen" quality which I loved in his first two books.

I was provided with a review copy of this book.
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on 18 May 2015
We are told to never judge a book by its cover and that certainly includes any quotes that should adorn the front. Since his debut novel, all the Daniel Suarez books that I have read had a quote suggesting that he was the legitimate heir to Michael Crichton. To compare your work with one of the best techno thriller writers of all time is never going to be easy and time after time, Suarez fell short. That is until ‘Influx’, a book that finally puts Suarez in the same illustrious company as Crichton.

When physicist Jon Grady invents a mirror that reflects gravity he imagines a world that will have cheaper energy and the ability to travel through space. However, unbeknownst to him there is a shadowy government organisation whose job is to quash any technological advancements they believe society is not yet ready for. Therefore, rather than finding himself on stage receiving a Nobel Prize, Grady is thrown into an advanced prison with seemingly no means of escape.

In previous Suarez outings, such as ‘Daemon’, it sometimes felt that the author took a bunch of great ideas, put them in a bag, shook it and then let them all spill out onto the page. The same can be said of ‘Influx’, but for the first time all these great ideas are wrapped up in a coherent action adventure with characters you can really root for. Grady is a maverick scientist who can smell colour and see music. His unique outlook on life makes him an unusual scientist, but a very interesting character. Behind the science, is also a good man; Grady’s strong morality really enhances the novel as he chooses prison over giving his ideas over to an organisation he does not trust.

The entire world of ‘Influx’ is an intriguing one. Set in an alternative present day America, it is just like today, but with hundreds of hidden advances locked away. What would happen to us if immortality became common, or food was no longer scarce? Would we become a ‘Star Trek’ style universe of peace for all, or a dystopian planet overcrowded with billions of people refusing to die? It would appear that the apparent villains in ‘Influx’ actually have a valid reason for intervening and this makes for a much more interesting dynamic than a straight forward black versus white conflict.

Despite the foundations that the shadowy government agency are built upon being grey, there actions are anything but. There is a streak of darkness in Influx that raises it from a competent techno-thriller into the realms of a real page turner. A futuristic prison full of geniuses sound like a great idea and good fun, but Suarez does not play it for laughs. Instead, Grady and his fellow inmates are all housed separately from one another with only a cruel AI for companionship. The struggle that Grady has to go through parallels that of ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ and just like in that classic, you feel his later vengeance is just.

By adding much needed grit to his writing style, Suarez leaves the reader unsure what is going to happen next. Events do not always unfold as you would imagine and characters that you believe will be key towards the end may not even make it that far. This all combines to create a tension that only the best thrillers are able to achieve. Throw in several intelligent and interesting science fiction ideas into the mix and you have one of the best near future thrillers I have read in a long time – perhaps since ‘Jurassic Park’? Original review on bookbag.co.uk

Sammy recommendation
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on 9 March 2014
I'm a fan of Daniel Suarez's previous 3 books and very much looked forward to this one. Didn't seem to have quite the gravitas of Daemon but all the same, nailed this in 2 sittings! He seems to get that balance between technical content (to a lay man anyway) and good sci if fiction paced storytelling just right. Can I gave another please?
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VINE VOICEon 15 April 2016
Daniel Suarez is billed as the new Michael Crichton. While a few of his novels have come onto my radar, this is the first I have read. Based on this showing there's a great deal of promise, but the fairly derivative nature of the plot suggests that at least for now the pure inventiveness of Crichton has yet to be matched.

The basic precept is this: imagine that many of the key inventions we have been patiently awaiting for the last 50 years – controlled fusion, quantum computing, reliable cloning, a generic cure for cancer – have actually been found, but are hidden from the world at large. What warped power and societal structures would that drive? It's a great precept, although here it's turned into a recognisable and predictable plot, with a heroic inventor on the run, while dark forces try to suppress inventions on behalf of the status quo. In some ways it's reminiscent of Chain Reaction, and by pure coincidence I had also just read Catalyst by Boyd Morrison, which while markedly less futuristic tells a similar tale.

My other slight gripe is that this suffers in a few places from "techno-babble", short sections which appear to just be a dumping-ground for a large number of technical terms, which just about boil down to "magic". I know the author is trying to establish the BTC's technological superiority, but that's adequately done by the more detailed examples in the main flow of the text.

That said, this is a clever piece, challenging preconceptions and frequently, even literally, turning them on their heads. As a techno-thriller it's well written, keeping the reader's attention fully engaged from the first page, and I will certainly be reading more of Suarez's books.
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VINE VOICEon 17 March 2014
I've read all four of Daniel Saurez's books to date and this is the first that doesn't make the grade for me. With his previous three books (Daemon, Freedom and Kill Decision) he combined an entertaining and well-planned plot with interesting characters and a writing style that sucked me in and kept me reading.

However the best way to sum up Influx is that it feels... rushed. The writing style is still there but the characters feel under-developed in comparison to his earlier books. I have to level a similar criticism at the plot too. This moves at an inconsistent (and sometimes much too rapid) pace and introduces several convenient twists that allow the storyline to be resolved in the way the author intended. However I was left with the impression that too many deus ex machina were harmed (OK, used) during the writing of this story.

The strength of Daemon, Freedom and Kill Decision is that they were all well researched, well developed, and based on technology that is only a generation or two away at best. Unfortunately Influx is none of these. I'm hoping for better next time.
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on 7 March 2014
I read Daniel Suarez's previous 3 novels and enjoyed them. Influx has clearly benefited from good editing - the story runs along at a great pace, the characters are clearly defined, and the plot is developed without any needless sidetracks.

There are some interesting ideas in the book - both big-picture and more technical. Is technological progress always good? Who benefits, who loses - and do those wins and losses add up to a net benefit? However, rather than explore the ideas, the book became a fast-paced techno-thriller. That's okay - it's what the jacket promises - but it leaves the book at "airport purchase", rather than something more engaging.

The characters are interesting - but again, the traits that made them interesting weren't really explored in any depth.

So, an okay book to while away a long flight, but I doubt I'll remember much of it in a few weeks time.
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on 12 March 2014
I have read Daniels previous 3 books and loved them. The one is a bit slow to start, but once it got going I couldn't put it down, and read cover to cover in under 3 days.

It is a thought provoking, conspiracy theory read and I enjoyed it.
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on 26 January 2016
I was a little bit disappointed by this book - it's not a bad book, exactly, quite an enjoyable read - but I was a big fan of his first 2 books, particularly Daemon, which was one of the better sci-fi/tech/post-cyberpunk books I've read. I just had the feeling that the author never quite finds the right voice I this one, and the result is a novel which doesn't quite have the quality of his earlier work. That said, it's not a bad way to spend a couple of damp/cold winter evenings.
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on 2 October 2015
I've read nearly all of Suarez's books, and this one is definitely amongst my favourites. I can't say that at all points I completely understood the science behind it but despite that it was the usual gripping, fast paced, inspirational read that characterises his writing and for me this book was a better piece of literature. I look forward with great anticipation for future works.
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on 16 May 2015
I rarely give 5 star reviews but I've given Daniel Saurez two now. So many of his ideas kind of ring true, who wouldn't believe that a government agency is keeping technology secret? I goes without saying that every nation would, if they could benefit from it. High technology, future tech and a sickening prison that Joseph Mengele would be proud of.
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