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5.0 out of 5 stars Blockbuster Technothriller
Two senior technical people from a leading online gaming software publisher have been killed in mysterious ways, but at first are deemed to be accidents. Further investigation by a local police detective traces the deaths back to computer bots that in turn activated booby traps by remote control turning both deaths into premeditated murder. It soon becomes clear that more...
Published 14 days ago by Nyssa

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's good until the end
This book is good 80% of the way through. The tech aspect of the book is spot on except for the fps gaming section. It's a really good until the last chapter, it feels like you missed a bit and then it just ends, leaving everything unanswered. Very disappointing end.
Published on 29 Feb. 2012 by Amazon Customer


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's good until the end, 29 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: Daemon (Kindle Edition)
This book is good 80% of the way through. The tech aspect of the book is spot on except for the fps gaming section. It's a really good until the last chapter, it feels like you missed a bit and then it just ends, leaving everything unanswered. Very disappointing end.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice idea, but too many problems., 10 April 2009
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Steampunk "JS" (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Daemon (Paperback)
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(No Spoilers)

I really wanted to like this book, as it's the kind of story I normally love: Hard-edged, convincing geeky-tech stuff. When it comes to technology, it's clear the writer really knows what he's talking about. In fact, this is sometimes a problem, and the occasional (long) technical descriptions may knock a lot of readers right out of the story.

However, while the writer has a good grip on information technology, it soon becomes painfully clear that this is a first novel, complete with a lot of common first novel flaws.

For me, the biggest problems were with the pacing of the story. A couple of times you turn the page and read something like "Six Months Later".

There are also a lot of places where pruning would have made the story stronger - for example, one wonders what's the point of giving a one-page mini-biography of a character, if their only function in the story is to be killed at the top of the next page.

But worst of all, as the story progresses, it's hard to avoid the feeling that the author has just lost control of where it's going, and things get far-fetched to the point where it's impossible to suspend disbelief any more.

To be honest, if I hadn't been reading this book for review purposes I would have quit somewhere in the last hundred pages.

And when I got the the end... there really wasn't one. The story just (IMO) stopped.

I hate writing a harsh review of this sort of book. I can only hope that Suarez (and his editor!) learns from the experience of writing this one, and that the next will be better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ghost in the Machine, 15 April 2009
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This review is from: Daemon (Paperback)
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`Daemon' is a book full of great ideas and poor execution. When a software programming genius dies it seems that his end of his life is only the beginning of his legacy. Before death Matthew Sobel integrated AI into the internet that would trigger on news of his death. This Daemon software interacts with real people found through his own MMORPGs and preys on their greed, working independently these minions act to undermine the super companies that currently dominate the world. It is up to small town Sheriff and a computer genius to destroy the Daemon before it takes over the world.

The idea of an AI controlling big business was a brilliant imo. With today's global markets and a closer connection between state and industry than ever before the use of viruses etc to blackmail a company is becoming increasingly likely. Malware regularly imbeds in people's PCs and goes undiscovered until an anti-virus upgrade some months later. Daniel Suarez has created a book with big ideas, but unfortunately he seems unable to handle them. To start with it appears that `Daemon' will be a thriller, but as the book progresses it becomes increasingly a disaster novel. When the book maintains the smaller aspects of investigation it works, the bigger elements fall flat and feel fanciful.

As the novel progresses the book weakens. The idea of AI controlled SUVs is acceptable, but by the end Suarez takes the idea to a ridiculous level. It became apparent as I rapidly came to the end that there was no conclusion in the book and that it felt like the first of a series. Suarez is too happy to kill off characters and leave the reader with no closure. The last 50 pages in particular were confusing and a little ridiculous. This is a real shame because for the first half I really enjoyed the intense standoff between the alleged AI and the police. The slow and insidious climb of the Daemon is a good read, it's a shame that we never find out who wins in the end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not too bad, worth a read, 12 April 2009
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Mr. T. S. James (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Daemon (Paperback)
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I was quite excited to receive this book as I usually love to read tech-thrillers, which is what I would class this book as.

In general the book goes at a good pace and can be a page turner in places. For me it went through stages of wanting to find out what happens next and then it would fall flat for a few chapters and I tended to lose interest. The story is a familiar one, ghost in the machine kinda thing, but seemed to have been refreshed slightly for today's audience.

The book did tend to delve into various character histories, which eventually turned out to be for no reason at all if the character was killed off fairly shortly after. Leaving me wondering what was the point. But on the whole I can't complain. The only let down was the ending, where it was kind of like a bad ending to a film, it just stopped. Normally you would expect a big ending or some big twist to the story line, but I was left disappointed in this instance.

Overall, I can recommend for a light read or if you're into tech-thrillers, but bear in mind that the ending isn't all that if you're expecting something to satisfy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting concept - not quite delivered, 11 April 2009
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Mr. J W "john_w" (Glasgow) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Daemon (Paperback)
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I am a bit of a 'techie' so enjoy books of this type. For me, the original classic is 'The Cuckoo's Egg' by Clifford Stoll. In a lot of ways, this is the 'internet enabled' version, updated 20 years after Stoll's. I really enjoyed the concept of the book with a crazy millionaire unleashing a software program that can control lives and corporations despite the death of the creator. I would agree with other comments though, that no single characters really get the space to stand out, and I think the book is worse off for that. The closest is Jon Ross, but he disappears for large periods of time. The final straw to knock this down to 3 stars is the fairly timid ending. I can only assume (and hope, because I would read it) a sequel is in the pipeline.

Overall though worth a read. If you haven't done so though, I would recommend Stoll's book above.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Blockbuster Technothriller, 19 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Daemon (Paperback)
Two senior technical people from a leading online gaming software publisher have been killed in mysterious ways, but at first are deemed to be accidents. Further investigation by a local police detective traces the deaths back to computer bots that in turn activated booby traps by remote control turning both deaths into premeditated murder. It soon becomes clear that more bots are loose across the Internet, but what is unclear is their purpose and whether more deaths or tragedies will be unleashed.

Most of us have seen the classic monster movies that have a giant reptile or other beast attacking a major city and embarking in out of control mayhem. This book turns the classic monster into a digital one that is unleashed not only on a city, but on the entire computer-connected world.

The author is clearly someone who has worked in the computer world because his terminology and projections of what might be done with the right combination of programming and networking by someone who has the right genius to manipulate the system are technically correct, which is refreshing since too many computer-based technothriller plots seem to be created by writers with only fair to middling knowledge of the field.

The world of computer science has expanded greatly to the point that having one person knowing it all in depth, from low level hardware controls, to security, to artificial intelligence, and so on is not very likely, but might just be possible if that person had been a genius in the field as the book's antagonist, Matthew Sobol was. Missing from the book is a clear picture of why Sobol has an ax to grind against humanity to loose these plots upon the world, and how he had time to conceive of the attacks, to design, program, and test them, even with help from his senior technical staff. But looking too closely at the evil genius would take away a lot of the fun of the technoride the book takes the reader on.

Two of the main characters who uncover the murders, Detective Pete Sebeck and computer consultant Jonathan Ross are contrasts. While Sebeck is fairly computer illiterate, he is a straight-forward detective from the old school who knows how to investigate the case and does so methodically. Ross is the computer and gaming expert who turns out to be not so straight-forward guiding Sebeck through the technical aspects of the investigation while the case becomes more and more complex revealing that there is more going on that simply two dead techs. The two characters work well, both in their respective roles in the plot and as partners in the continuing investigation.

There are a bevy of bad guys to choose from in the book as the bots recruit the scum of the criminal ranks, out of work engineers, and the overly ambitious to aid in the spread of Sobol's plots. Mix in a cornucopia of remotely controlled robots and machines of mayhem, and you've got the bloodiest of computer game environments brought into the real world as a playground.

Recommended for those who enjoy technothrillers, especially ones that involve computers, gaming, and really bad bad guys.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Fun and Inventive Read, 17 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Daemon (Paperback)
As the internet grows and technology advances, it's seems there is nothing you can't do. Recent innovations mean you can operate appliances in your own home from another continent and cars are more automated than ever. Huge online games allow users worldwide to interact and play against each other in huge arenas. Thanks to social networking, the internet can be addictive and, yes, I'm aware of the irony in writing that here.

''Daemon'' brings all of these ideas together in a very readable way. Computer genius and game designer Matthew Sobol has died of brain cancer, but death hasn't stopped him being the chief suspect in two murders. But is seems that he prepared for this, even from beyond the grave and when the F. B. I. attempt to search his house for evidence, Sobol becomes responsible for the deaths of many more. But murder is not Sobol's aim, merely a means to an end and his end is control.

Sobol recruits a number of people to his Faction from all occupations; a recently deposed entertainment news reporter, a computer hacker, a prisoner he releases from prison. No matter what the F. B. I. come up with, Sobol seems to have anticipated every move and despite their best efforts, Sobol not only has plans to stay one step ahead, but also to frame others for his crimes.

The main idea is nothing new, John McLaren's ''Press Send'' is more than a decade old and has a similar basic plot, but Suarez has seemingly grasped the current trends and advances in technology. He embraces the current obsessions with MMORPGs and social networks and Sobol's character works wonderfully within the endless supply of information around on the internet. Anyone who has turned on a computer in recent years will recognise something here, although there is perhaps the minor worry that the whole story may date badly with future technological advances.

The pace is always high, although the plot does sometimes have a tendency to wander. During some of the more computer-based scenes, Suarez does get a little too detailed, as if he's keen to show off a lot of his knowledge. This does slow things down a little, but fortunately there are plenty of action scenes to pick it up again and there are some incredible set pieces and the further the story goes on, the less the detailed pieces of computer knowledge interfere with the readability of the book.

This is very much a plot driven story in which machines take more of a part than the people. None of the characters are well drawn, presented only in the most basic brush strokes. This means neither come across as terribly emotional on either side, which in Sobol's case is understandable, with him being a dead computer construct, but Suarez hasn't done a much better job with many of the others. Fortunately, as with the computer sections, the driving pace and the general excitement of the plot helps the reader put this to one side and just enjoy themselves.

Suarez's imagination seems to be endless and there are none of the endlessly repeated shootouts that are often found in stories like this. Despite all the major scenes of destruction, there is something different every time. The tricks and traps of Sobol's mansion are particularly clever, as is Merritt's quick thinking in defeating many of them.

The one thing that did interrupt the flow of the story for me was where the narrative jumped forward several months in a couple of points. Whilst I suspect the parts in between would only have involved Sobol setting up his Faction, given the way he pulled together the members we got to hear about, this could have proved interesting. The main concern I had with these jumps were that characters were acting in different ways on either side of the jump and it took a little while to settle down after each one.

Ultimately, however, I did enjoy the story. There were a few aspects that interrupted the flow of the story, but the inventiveness of the plot and the generally high pace helped overcome these and turned it into a fascinating and enjoyable read.

This review may also appear, in whole or in part, under my name at any or all of www.ciao.co.uk, www.thebookbag.co.uk, www.goodreads.com, www.amazon.co.uk and www.dooyoo.co.uk
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4.0 out of 5 stars The end of the world as we know it, 4 May 2009
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This review is from: Daemon (Paperback)
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... and how it is brought about: the titular "Daemon" refers to a computer process that runs in the background. This is the tale of computer genius Matthew Sobol working his will beyond the grave using daemons.

On the book's cover, a reviewer compares "Daemon" to "The Matrix"; it also brings to mind "The Terminator" films. It is a different version of a future that we are making for ourselves. This book looks at the extent to which we rely on and have allowed computers to infiltrate our lives by posing the bleak possibility of someone using that dependence to control our futures and rid us of choice. "Daemon", however, is not so much Man against Machines as it is the Status Quo against Master Programmer. A large part of the daemons' effectiveness stems from Sobol's knowledge and use of weaknesses in humans and human systems as much as his knowledge and use of computers.

In the end you have some sympathy for Sobol/the Daemon because you can see where he's coming from and going to with his plan. But you find yourself divided between understanding his reasons, admiring his deviousness, and disapproving of the brutally efficient way he goes about realizing his master plan. Those who do not buy willingly into his schemes are railroaded into doing what he wants or killed.

Suarez writes this like a computer game come to life, and although I found it a bit difficult at the beginning, the pace picked up soon enough. And once it did, putting the book down proved difficult. "Daemon" involves you with its well-fleshed-out characters, whether despicable or heroic, and by the ingenuity of its twists and turns.

This is a pretty impressive first novel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing, convincing and highly entertaining, 22 April 2009
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Mr. P. HAIGH (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Daemon (Paperback)
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Daemon is a thriller set in an environment of computers, gaming, networks and the internet and potential future technologies that are, for the large part, viable with current technology or well-funded R&D. As a self-confessed geek I enjoyed this angle of the storyline immensely because at no point was I left thinking that Mr Suarez had reached beyond the technically feasible into the totally unbelievable.

Although the early pages of the book are quite technology-centric, the wider vista in which the plot is set takes over fairly quickly. This means that although technology is important to the plot, it is gently but firmly overlaid and expertly intermeshed with a more dominant and very human storyline and it is this that drew me into the book. In this I am reminded of Little Brother which achieves much the same thing albeit with more technical content.

I had initially planned to read Daemon during my daily commute but after the first day I found myself picking it up whenever I had some spare time. The more I read, the more I wanted to read, and to find out what happened next. Once I'd completed the book itself I read some of the jacket notes and found that Daniel Sarez is a former IT Consultant and a first time author. His style of writing has an occasional wobble in the early pages (on a couple of occasions, upcoming events in the storyline are revealed too early through clumsy writing) but this is a very minor flaw in an otherwise superb book. I am particularly impressed that the author's previous occupation has not caused him to fall into the trap of placing the technology ahead of the plot.

This book will appeal primarily to technophiles from their mid-teens upwards but can also be enjoyed by anybody who likes a good thriller, as long as they can tolerate a degree of technical content. There are a number of graphically described (but not over-done) scenes of violence that mean I wouldn't let my kids read it until their mid-teens.

The story is well developed and wraps up in a satisfactory manner but, tantalisingly, there is scope left for at least one sequel. If one appears, I'll be snapping it up as soon as it is available, and as books go I can't give higher praise than that. Except perhaps to say that I think it would transfer very well to the big screen.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Debut Novel, 12 April 2009
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Planet G "stendec-306" (Berkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Daemon (Paperback)
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The reviewer's names on the back cover of this book point to the fact that it's somewhat unusual - One William O'Brien, Director of Cybersecurity at the White House, Rick Klau, Strategic Partner Development, Google. Not your normal list of paperpack reviewers. I picked this book up wondering what I'd find inside.

And Daniel Suarez's start doesn't disappointing - it tears off at breakneck speed, the first chapter seemed to fly by and had a hook that left me wanting to read on, even though the hour was late. Exciting stuff.

The subject matter is topical - with Conficker sitting idle on several million PCs (and now starting to wake up and receive its next set of instructions) - and Suarez treats it well with a good grasp of the technicalities for the most part (he does make one mistake by referring to a local radio navigation system as a GPS system).

If Suarez does have a weakness in this first novel it is towards over-complicated plot and characterizations - I would have liked to stay with Sebeck (the policeman) and Jon Ross (the technical expert) more as they had an interesting and conflicting relationship that I thought should have been built on.

But this is a good first novel - Daniel Suarez's style of writing is fluent and exciting and he has a good grasp of dialogue, something that a lot of authors struggle with.

If you would like a techno-thriller with some thoughtful touches, with a fair dollop of fantasy thrown in and something a touch more stylish than normal then this might be for you - give it a try. I'll definitely try the next novel that Suarez writes....
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Daemon
Daemon by Daniel Suarez (Paperback - 7 Jan. 2010)
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