Top positive review
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Fast-paced, entertaining, but lacking soul
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.