Alice's Reviews > The Traveler

The Traveler by John Twelve Hawks
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's review
Jun 14, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: dystopia-postapocalyptic
Recommended to Alice by: Jamie
Recommended for: urban fantasy fans, hard sci-fi, privacy advocates, paranoids, internet nerds
Read in June, 2010

Excellent sci-fi thriller that would strongly appeal to fans of urban fantasy. Twelve Hawks has essentially written a paranoid fantasy about CCTV, Carnivore, RFID chips, biometrics and massive databases. Since electronic privacy is one of the fields I study in graduate school, I knew quite a lot about almost every technology Hawks mentioned. I was impressed that he didn't need to exaggerate anything to dream up a deviously panoptic nightmare (unlike, say, Cory Doctorow).(*) The main character, Maya, is a Harlequin, a badass trained from birth to fight to the death to protect Travelers, people who can transcend the earthly realm to see across dimensions. This sounds kind of cheesy (and I've read some crappy urban fantasy with similar setups), but it's not, and so excellently plotted as to be a hardcore pageturner (like Jamie, I read it in one afternoon). I enjoyed the multi-ethnic cast of characters and various strong female characters, and it made me want to go off the grid, or at least get a few alternate passports. I wanted to go to the library immediately and get the sequel. Great summer reading.

* This means that if anything in the book particularly scares you, go ahead and Google it and you'll see that it's probably just as bad as you think.
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