Liz's Reviews > Little Brother

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
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Sep 03, 10

bookshelves: unputdownable, 2010, crime-detective-heist-etc, sci-fi-fantasy-etc, ya
Recommended for: anyone who liked V for Vendetta or The Matrix

Wow. This book is definitely an unputdownable. Basically after a terrorist attack in San Francisco(sp?) the US government goes overboard monitering and controlling its citizens in an attempt to find the terrorist. Seventeen-year-old Marcus, who knows computers and security systems inside out, decides to bring down the system after personally being jailed and tortured by said government.

PROS:

Like I said, Little Brother makes you want to keep reading
The writing in most places is really good, especially the torture scenes and the emotional scenes from the middle onwards. Doctorow can really catch a vibe of a scene and send it on.

Computer tricks and cryptography and everything that goes on in here is fascinating.

Kids beating the government is actually made believeable.

Stuff happens at every turn that makes you want to keep reading. I read way too late last night, trying to finish this.

Cory Doctorow also doesn't describe his sex scenes in detail: I appreciate this for two reasons. Firstly, I really don't want to read about it, and secondly, I've had the misfortune to come across a sex scene in a Cory Doctorow novel before, and man, that is not a place you wanna be.

It sucks you in. I started to get really outraged over the scene in the school with the teacher spouting propaganda--then remembered it wasn't real.

Marcus as a character was likeable: compassionate, smart, and not big-headed at all.

CONS:

One part was really unemotional: where Marcus decides that he's going to bring the DHS down felt really meh to me--like after everything they've done to him, he suddenly makes this decision over a minor thing that happens because of them. Tamora Pierce did it a lot better in Trickster's Choice.

I liked Ange, but she was all over Marcus straight away from the time she met him. It's like this guy fantasy: get with the cute chick straight away, and then find out she's smart and funny and has a good personality. Oh, and horny. Extremely so. So I didn't find the beginning of the romance too realistic, but I did enjoy the book as a whole.

I felt like things didn't get bad enough for Marcus. He should've had a few more things happening to him, like betrayal. Especially betrayal. The consequences of the DHS's trap survey and infiltration of the Xnet never hit the main characters, and in some cases never affected anything at all. It didn't bug me at the time, though.

I never knew whether this was only happening in San Fransisco or in the whole of the US; it was never discussed.

There was also no closure for the terrorist attacks; we never find out who did it. I guess in one way, it wasn't important, because the original incident was only there to spark the rest of the novel. Still, it's a book, it would've been nice for Doctorow to tie up a loose end.

Overall rating: 4/5 stars. Little Brother wasn't perfect, but in no way did I have the sense that it should've been so much more. It's enough of a mouthful as it is, and a book you'll really enjoy reading.
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