Freedom (TM) is an excellent sequel and a fantastic book in its own right, but I don't want that to detract you from reading Daemon first (so make sur...moreFreedom (TM) is an excellent sequel and a fantastic book in its own right, but I don't want that to detract you from reading Daemon first (so make sure you do that). Needless to say when I finished Daemon I'd was very eager to read its sequel. As soon as I saw that Freedom (TM) was released I snatched at the opportunity to listen to the audiobook version, which is just as excellent as the first book, and I found that I was in for more than I expected.
Any good book can be entertaining, a truly excellent book will draw you in and take over your thoughts for the rest of the week. I think that I can safely say that Freedom (TM) has done that for me and I'll be lucky if I only continue thinking about it for the rest of this week.
Freedom (TM) delivered on all the things that I loved about Daemon - there's cool technology, videogame-based action and characters, the story is brilliant, engaging and extremely suspenseful, and the plot as a whole isn't predictable; but it certainly is plausible. What I couldn't have expected was that the main concept that is presented in this story is so intriguing that I actually want to try it out.
Building on the structure that was introduced in Daemon, Daniel Suarez developed the dark net into a new self-sufficient societal model that incorporates advanced technology and social media. The best way to compare it would be to say it is a cross between Facebook, Digg, YouTube, a farmers market, and Star Wars (crazy I know but trust me it works). Against this Suarez places the capitalist, corporate environment that controls food, security, and influences government as the very real-life villain. While the depictions of this villain are certainly extreme, again what makes this book so fascinating and worthwhile is the plausibility of it all. Reading this book you have to wonder just how controlled by corporate interests we all are... And whether or not freedom really is trademarked.
I hope everyone gets a chance to read and enjoy this book; I plan on rereading it a few more times.(less)
Thinking about how I've told people about this book, as "a geeky action flick of a book" doesn't really do it justice, although I can't really put it...moreThinking about how I've told people about this book, as "a geeky action flick of a book" doesn't really do it justice, although I can't really put it any more succinctly. The truth is that this is probably one of the best books I have ever read, and finishing it was extremely bittersweet because I really wanted to read more.
What Daemon does is mix suspense, action and technology into a story that is rich with heroes, villains and a surprisingly plausible plot about a computer script taking over world corporations. Admittedly what kept me turning the pages was that a lot of the power for the computer script came from a videogame that in turn it used as a model to organize its operatives in a "dark net". The appeal to my "videogame addled" mine is an easy one, and I hesitate to say that this book would probably appeal most to the tech and videogame crowd rather than a more general audience.
That is unfortunate though because a lot of what makes this book so interesting is its plausibility and the fact that a lot of what is mentioned inside its pages shows just how affected by videogames and technology everyone on this planet really is. In a world where your credit, your medical information, and just about everything else about you is stored digitally, it doesn't really take much to show how vulnerable we all are to something that we understand very little about. Our entire identity is integrated in a shockingly dependent way on computers, the Internet and databases of institutions to we probably don't even know the names of. What's more, our government is increasingly dependent on those same systems as well. On top of all of that the people most capable of understanding this new system that we are all dependent on are the geeky kids who play a lot of video games.
To say that we hold the reins on such a dynamic and growing system shows how naïve we probably all are about the way this world is evolving. The idea that a daemon could possibly gain such a foot hold that it can control corporations, affect lives of everyday citizens within the bleak of an eye, and if necessary eliminate threats to its processes isn't that far-off a reality.
Fantastic book - hands down a must read, or listen in my case. In fact, I highly recommend checking out the audiobook version because the narration is top notch. Listening to Jeff Gurner perform the characters is almost like sitting down and watching a full cast act out the scenes in a blockbuster movie.(less)
This book is probably best seen as a companion to the Jumper movie, and anyone who found that movie enjoyable will probably find something to enjoy in...moreThis book is probably best seen as a companion to the Jumper movie, and anyone who found that movie enjoyable will probably find something to enjoy in Griffin's Story.
Griffin's character certainly takes on a much more developed and intricate background than even the movie's main character, David Rice. In fact, that's what really pulled me into the story more than anything else. I get the feeling that Gould was eager to explore the world he was given from the movie and set out to see just exactly how varied and diverse he could get with setting up Griffin's background.
The narration in the audio version is performed well, but the actor's version of different accents seemed too transparent for my tastes. I think what really nagged at me throughout was that the character's inner monologue was spoken in a solid American English accent, yet his voice wasn't.
Minor criticisms aside, I was hoping to get more after I finished up the book. It'll be interesting to see if Steven Gould can bring in more new and original story lines to the Jumper universe; I'll be keeping an eye out for them if he does!(less)
I took a plunge into an unknown author (for me) and found that I wasn't the worse for wear; Beat the Reaper is entertaining all the way through and ac...moreI took a plunge into an unknown author (for me) and found that I wasn't the worse for wear; Beat the Reaper is entertaining all the way through and actually really...there's no other way to put it; cool! The tone of the entire book is sarcastic and gritty, but very educated as a contrast. At times, you do feel like you're sitting through the main character give you a science lesson, but the effect isn't boring, it really is well done, and is very much along the lines of a Chuck Palahniuk novel.
The voice acting, done by Robert Petkoff, is really well done as well - he's performed a great representation of the character. Anyone interested in the audiobook version might take note that it does include music and sound effects in some of the more intense parts, but I personally didn't find them at all distracting - I think they add a right mix of ambiance. Are they necessary? Probably not, but I'm not going to recommend against the audiobook because of it.
If there is anything about the Odd Thomas books I really enjoy, it's the characters. Each book has characters that are well fleshed out and so strange...moreIf there is anything about the Odd Thomas books I really enjoy, it's the characters. Each book has characters that are well fleshed out and so strangely mixed together that the cast really drives home how "odd" the books can be.
In Brother Odd, for instance, you have a former school counselor turned nun, a mob hit man turned monk, a Russian librarian who ends up being...well, I won't ruin it. Add to that the main character being a fry cook who sees the departed along with shadowy harbingers of disaster, who also happens to be followed around by Elvis Presley's ghost and you can see what I'm talking about. Koontz could very well have been flicking through the channels when he decided his character backgrounds, and it's delightful to read.
Why only three stars? I could spoil the book by saying exactly what bothers me, but truth is that I was hoping for more of a down to earth threat looming over the monastery in Brother Odd, and what I got is a bit of science fiction. With the previous books' antagonists being troubled humans doing evil upon the world because of troubling beliefs, Brother Odd's villain had something akin to the villains in a Flash Gordan or Dr. Who episode.
Does Odd Thomas always need to fight off Satanists and Voodoo Witches? Well, no, but I came to expect that the villains were the very example of evil doers, and Odd was battling for good, albeit reluctantly. Book three of the series has Odd fighting evil of a different sort, and perhaps I was expecting something more in line with the previous books.
Perhaps the strongest criticism I could hold out is that Odd Thomas's third book only glances the surface of Odd losing his only love. That story arc is something I'm eager to see more of, and all I seem to get is more of Odd's sense of loss while he happens to be dealing with averting disaster for everyone else. I suppose I can't expect much more than that, but my sense of the Odd Thomas series as a whole is that Odd is slowly marching to be reunited with Stormy; so how do books two and three speak about that eventual reunion in a way that is captivating, dramatic, and makes me worry that it might not happen? So far, I don't question that it would, and these books following the first book seem a little emptier because of it.
While this Odd Thomas book was a good and entertaining read, I say so resignedly.
Everything is here to make this as solid a book as the first; interes...moreWhile this Odd Thomas book was a good and entertaining read, I say so resignedly.
Everything is here to make this as solid a book as the first; interesting plot, great supporting characters, etc. Additionally Odd's wit in Forever Odd seemed a bit more refined than the first book, and I enjoyed it a bit more because of it.
What I found unfortunate was that Forever Odd seemed stitched on to the first book in what I felt was a forced way. I couldn't escape the feeling that Odd Thomas was intended to stand alone, and these sequels were only drafted in response to the character's appeal. True enough, that's no reason to hate the book, and I don't - I just wish there were a few things that tied the plot more to the first book.
I wanted this story to really address Odd's interactions with the other people in Pico Mundo, and develop Odd's character even more after the events of book one. Instead, I think of book two as a side adventure in the overall story. It's certainly an entertaining and engaging one, but not to the extent that I'm wowed. Hopefully the third book ties things together in a more satisfactory way. (less)
This was my first Koontz book, and I read it on the recommendation of a friend. After reaching the last page I have to say that I'm surprised at how g...moreThis was my first Koontz book, and I read it on the recommendation of a friend. After reaching the last page I have to say that I'm surprised at how good the book ended up being!
For me, the book really took off at the end, and when I reached the more exciting parts I was more accepting of the bulk of the previous parts which set up the big climax. Aside from one single plot point, which I assume is explored more in the later books, everything tied together in an interesting and original way that left me happily engaged, if not a little sad at the end. Usually I find certain plots predictable, but Odd Thomas was anything but.
My only criticism is with the writing itself, which is verbose to a fault at times. However, knowing that the book is not only first person, but written as if by the main character leaves my criticism sitting on the fence. Like I said, this is my first Koontz book, so I don't know if his writing style is usually so wordy, but assuming it's the writing style of Odd Thomas only adds to the character.
Some lines were downright cheesy, and I won't say that it could be done better simply because I like the idea of a paranormally gifted fry cook sitting down and writing this stuff out. If fits.