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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 3 April 2015
This novel roused my interest from the start. Every page revealed something new. My mind expanded to take in the future from the viewpoint of a citizen living in a protected dome after a great onslaught. But right away, he's cast out, separated from his family, and on the run to discover everything isn't as he'd thought.
The author writes well enough to involve me in the increasingly difficult subject of computer manipulation linked directly to his mind. The plot involved me enough to understand expanding viral barriers, trace patterns, and ways of deleting rogue files and codes.
I read like an eager child turning the pages of an exciting adventure story.
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on 20 April 2017
A decent read. Good ideas and story.
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on 4 August 2015
Good story. Different feel to it. Looking for number two
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on 29 December 2014
This is, for want of a better description, a cyberpunk novel with a limited amount of "punk". An easy-reading, technobabble-infused, high-speed jaunt through a future world which has elements of 1984 and Mad Max.

It doesn't get close to the level of emotive detail and crazed fashion-consciousness of the works of someone like Gibson, preferring a narrative fast-forward more akin to a film script than a book with deep meaning. There are some nods to other works here, some so blunt as to border on derivative. The general style of the whole content is likewise quite forthright, with little deviation from the main action thread or exploration of secondary characters.

The author earned his writing credentials as a journalist, an occupation which requires getting words on a page as quickly as possible and immediately forgetting about them, ready for the next work. Perhaps that explains why this book feels like it was written by starting at the beginning and just typing until the end was reached with little planning or review. Of course, that could be a carefully-crafted spontaneous style that some authors strive for, but the author's own website suggests that he is churning out books at a rate at odds with careful crafting. In common with many self-published books, the work would benefit from an editor, spotting the occasional inconsistencies, incorrect grammar and spelling, and reining-in some of the excesses. In fact my main complaint with the book is the repetitive over-excited verbal crescendo of mixed techno-metaphors which accompanies each "hack" sequence. This aspect plays more like a computer game than a book.

Yet, despite having some grumbles about the work, it was in fact an engaging read, has some originality, made me care about at least one of the characters (Petal) and, it has to be remembered, was free of charge. I'm certainly tempted to explore the next book in the sequence.
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on 24 March 2014
Gerry lives a high tech, cyber-connected life as a programmer in the comfort of a huge dome run by "the family". He wakes up one morning to find he has only 7 days of life left, a victim of the death lottery he himself administrates. Kismet I'd have thought but he is helped by two odd hackers and becomes a fugitive. Gerry is forced to leave the comfort and security of the dome for the badlands created by the "cataclysm" and finds himself joining the hackers in hunting a rogue AI.

I enjoy a bit of dystopian cyber-nonsense but I couldn't get on with Colin Barne's terrible writing style, a confused rush of gore, bad dialogue and two dimensional characters. Much of this is blatantly culled from well known movies and books. One to miss.
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on 29 August 2016
This was an intriguing read because it felt 'different' and original in some ways.

A post-apocalyptic novel which explores the idea of humanity and artificial intelligence. The Death Lottery was an unusual concept, if not original - the irony wasn't lost.

Reasonable characters and plot. Not badly written, if in need of a little editing and tightening of structure; but then I think many books could do with that, regardless of where it was published.

Worth a look.
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on 9 March 2014
Artificial Evil is set in a dystopian society, City Earth, in a post-apocalyptic era. The main character, Gerry, works diligently for the dystopian regime. Having designed the algorithm for the Death Lottery (the dystopian population control measure), Gerry was supposed to be exempt from the premature death sentence. So, when his name is drawn and the countdown period for putting affairs in order begins, his world is rocked. Given his technical abilities, he is one of the few people to be able to challenge the dystopian regime, run by The Family. And so his journey begins. To tell anything more would be a spoiler.

I am an avid reader of post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction, and I really enjoyed this book. It didn't have the most detailed descriptions of the posed world, which some people may specifically want. But the society was an interesting one and the characters were great. I wouldn't compare in terms of storyline, but I felt excited to have chanced upon such a readable trilogy, in the same way as I did when I first read Jeff Noon's Vurt or Michael Marshall Smith's Clones.

I read the book on holiday, by the pool, and when I finished the story, I immediately bought books two and three. I was grateful for e-books so that I didn't have to wait until I got home to find out what happened. Great cyberpunk. I shall be keeping an eye on Colin's further publications.
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on 16 May 2016
Just to be Clear, I downloaded the entire series so this review is for the entire four books.

The first book is good, some new ideas and old ones written quite well helps the book carry along. A few points that didn't gel very well was this ability of the main character being able to convert from humble office worker being terrified to shooting his best friend in the head within a couple of hours.

There are a number of typo's in the books, at one point characters being referred to by another characters name.

By book four with the sudden introduction of one of the main characters best friends, who's not been mentioned in the previous three books felt forced into the story only to cover the gap left in the team by the removal of other supporting characters.

There are also a number of continuity issues that crop up in the last couple of books, at the end of book three Petal and Gabe have not been to city earth by the beginning of book four, set three months later, they have items that could only had come from the city yet when Petal returns to the city she reflects on this being the first time she has seen it since she left to look for Gabe, which means that they couldn't have returned to the city to pick up the items they were using at the beginning of the book.

The final book just feels like it was forced to finish off all the plot points left open from the first three books and to add a happy ending for the main characters.
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on 7 February 2014
Initially I didn't think I was going to enjoy this book, the first few chapters felt somewhat forced and lacked depth of both environment and character. I kept wanting to know more about what was going on and why, I just felt there was so much more about the world we were in that could have added to the story.

Having said that, after a couple of chapters I was looking forward to finding time to read the next chapter. The pace of the story made for a quick and easy read but still with enough originality to be entertaining. I still left with a sense that the book was rushed, the closing chapters were somewhat bizarre with a complete lack of explanation but I decided that was maybe the point.

Overall I rated the book four stars because it was free and overall it was a book I enjoyed. The best compliment I can offer is that I enjoyed it sufficiently to purchase the second book. I do recommend you read this book though and make up your own mind. If you enjoy cyberpunk style novels I am sure you will find something you like.
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on 9 October 2014
I don't normally write reviews, but this book I enjoyed so much that I thought I should comment. With a similar feal to Neal Stephenson this L33t H4x0r romp whizzes along with the hero enjoyably identifiable with. Anyone who liked Snow Crash, Reamde or early Gibson will get along just fine with this novel.....
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