A fast-paced techno-thriller, this book is a product of its time. As the author notes in his Author's note, if this book had come out after Snowden'sA fast-paced techno-thriller, this book is a product of its time. As the author notes in his Author's note, if this book had come out after Snowden's leaks, this would seem way more fictional than it does now. Eisler takes the revelations we've learned about the NSA and its domestic surveillance apparatus, and shows what it could be like just a few steps further down the road.
I enjoyed some of the characters, which has some nice depth to them. I think the one real misstep here is the main villain, who comes off a bit too one-dimensional and "mustache-twirling" to be convincing. The villain's selfish motivation is clear, though, which helps keep the plot moving along at a brisk pace.
Right before I read this book, I watched the documentary Citizenfour, which let me understand most of the backstory and the concerns of all the characters. If you're like me and didn't follow the Edward Snowden leaks (or worse, just assumed Snowden and Chelsea Manning were leaking the same info), then check out the Citizenfour documentary as a good primer for the world this book inhabits....more
I read this over two days, though only because I started it so late on the first day. I could have easily read this in one sitting. Sanderson has creaI read this over two days, though only because I started it so late on the first day. I could have easily read this in one sitting. Sanderson has created yet another interesting magic system that is both simple to understand, but fascinating in the way it is used. I hope he chooses to return to this setting (perhaps in Elantris 2 his story will encompass both this culture and those of the first Elantris novel). ...more
For "The Fastest Growing Religion of the 21st Century" (as Scientology claims it to be), I knew very little about the religion. My knowledge could beFor "The Fastest Growing Religion of the 21st Century" (as Scientology claims it to be), I knew very little about the religion. My knowledge could be boiled down to: It was created by L. Ron Hubbard, a sci-fi writer who had said religions were a good way to get money, it is popular with celebrities, and part of the beliefs involve aliens.
This book serves as a great history of Scientology, from a quick biography of its founder, to the various purges that occurred throughout the decades, and into the current era of the leadership of David Miscavige. This isn't an "official" church history though, so there are certainly some value judgments made against the religion and its founders.
I came away with a better understanding of who L. Ron Hubbard was as a person. He seemed incapable of telling the truth about his life (though whether that was just due to his ego or from his mental problems is unclear). His paranoia (which helpfully add to the persecution complex that seems necessary for modern religions to thrive in America) coupled with the utter devotion he demanded from his followers led to some truly hideous practices that we still know very little about (child labor, hazing rituals, and essentially slave labor to name a few).
It seems that the modern church is suffering under the leadership of Miscavige (the church does not seem to be thriving as it claims to be), which has led to more Scientologists leaving the church to practice its tenants on their own. Public condemnations of the church leadership from such people as Leah Remini have seemed to only increase the trend since this books release.
I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in how the church of Scientology works. The book isn't a "hit piece" and doesn't seem to be filled with unsubstantiated rumors. It's a work of journalism that provides great insight into one of the worlds newer religions....more
Wow, this book is incredible. Not only is it a great story, but the way it finishes off the original Mistborn trilogy is really impressive. SandersonWow, this book is incredible. Not only is it a great story, but the way it finishes off the original Mistborn trilogy is really impressive. Sanderson was playing the long game throughout this series (even longer, now that he's moved on further in the timeline in his new Mistborn sequels). Tiny details from the first book that I dismissed as interesting, if inconsequential, character details come back here with a new spin that made me re-examine the first two books in a new way. I look forward to exploring more of the Cosmere stories from here on out....more