Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars Paranoia among the cyber-youth, 13 Nov 2008
This review is from: Little Brother (Paperback)
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It took me quite a while to get into this book due to the highly technical (nerdy) descriptions of high tech surveillance, social networking, online gaming and the like which I found quite tedious. However, I am also about 25 years older than the target audience - Facebook is as cutting edge as I get. I was also quite impatient with the high school protagonist Marcus (codename W1nst0n - that's clever!) at the beginning while he bunked off school (evading the CCTV system of course) to play a role playing game with his mates. So far, so freaking what? However, Marcus and his chums get caught up in a terrorist attack and the rest of the book tells the tale of his nightmare treatment at the hands of a mysterious para-military force and his clever and ultimately brave attempt to bring this sinister force down, using his hacking expertise to subvert "the man". The book greatly improved for me once he grew beyond being a smug geek through talking to real people, snogging a real young woman and also growing a social conscience. He is also highly impressed by reading a (real) copy of On the Road, just like every other 17 year old in history. Like, wow. I found the end of the book a bit unsatisfactory (I wish I shared the author's faith in the power of the press to do good). Some of the passages were quite clunky - for example, most readers probably don't need to be told who Kerouac is in the middle of a narrative. I also think that this book is so bang up to date it will not wear well (unlike Catcher in the Rye and On The Road which are still read by teens 40 years after they were written). In fact, events this very week in the US - the election of a black Democratic president - hopefully mean the imagined nightmare scenarios in this book will stay as fantasy. The book remains a clever update of Orwell's 1984 and is a timely reminder to young people everywhere to use their loaf and vote, particularly if living in the USA. Don't trust me though, I'm well over 30.
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4.1 out of 5 stars (118 customer reviews)
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