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Digital Divide

(Rachel Peng #1)

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  577 ratings  ·  73 reviews
Rachel Peng misses the Army. Her old life in Criminal Investigation Command hadn’t been easy, but she had enjoyed it. Now, as the first cyborg liaison to the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police, Rachel is usually either bored senseless or is fighting off harassment from her coworkers. When she and her partner, Detective Raul Santino, stumble into a murder investigation wit ...more
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published April 2nd 2013 by A Girl and Her Fed Books
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Average rating 4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  577 ratings  ·  73 reviews

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Oct 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Digital Divide is a police procedural mystery with a twist. Rachel, the protagonist, is assigned to a police division in Washington, D.C. and is met with hostility and prejudice. But it's not because she's female, or Chinese (view spoiler), it's because she's a cyborg.

Most cyborgs in fiction have superhuman strength, healing, or other physical enhancements, but the cyborgs in Spangler's world are enhanced primarily with the ability to interface with technology and th
Jean Johnson
Apr 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
As someone who makes her living off writing, I don't have a lot of time for leisure reading, like maybe a new book squeezed in every 2-3 months. So when I do make the time for a fresh story, I'm hoping it will be good. I'm praying it'll be worth my time.

DIGITAL DIVIDE is that good.

I was already familiar with Spangler (aka Otter) and her work through her webcomic, A Girl And Her Fed. While the artwork started out literally sketchy (she has been slowly updating the original archive of pages with h
Allison Hurd
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a very fun book. It had some ups and downs for me, but this roller coaster was much more about ups than downs.

First of all, I love this world. It's been five years since every cyborg in the world - all 350 of them - came out and said they were here, they were made by an act of Congress, no other country has people with computer chip brains, they came in peace but oh, by the way, no information is beyond their grasp.

How great is that?

It carries through, too. We get lots of delicious mom
Nov 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good (and quick) read. Don’t buy the first Agents being an initial round of FIVE HUNDRED of them, vs just a couple preliminary test subjects, or that they’d be the best of the best given how (presumably) experimental - but putting that aside, decent enough cyberthriller.
Niall Teasdale
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
A lot of reviewers have made reference to 'A Girl and Her Fed,' which tells other parts of this story from different perspectives, as a web comic. I haven't read it, though I may go take a look. You don't need to know the background to enjoy this book.

I like detective stories with a technological twist. I enjoy the Eve Dallas 'In Death' books. This one should be a shoe-in. I was pleased to discover it was. I wasn't sure how it was going to be, but the character of Rachel Peng and the story dragg
Tony Hisgett
Mar 20, 2018 rated it liked it
An intriguing start to the book which held my interest for nearly half-a-dozen chapters, but I found the story began to drag after a while. At times it felt like there was too much detail and too little story. I also felt like I was missing things, I suspect I needed to have read the online comic A Girl and her Fed to fully understand some of the background to the story. Fortunately once the investigation got into full swing the pace picked up again.

As the story progressed we find out a lot more
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
I'll be honest: I picked this book up because I liked Spangler's posts on Twitter. Yes, social media CAN make a difference, at least some times!

I liked the writing in this book very much. The author's style is compulsively readable. It is, however, one of those books where a sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. I had a few moments where I just had to cling tightly to my WSOD, and was sorely tested. But I liked the story and the characters well enough to let it all go
Allison Henle
Aug 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Really clever SF/mystery, with a kick-ass half-Asian heroine who has no interest in hooking up with her partner (thank heavens). The pacing is all over the place, which is why I'm knocking it down to 4 stars. Also, you'll do better in this book if you've read her free webcomic, A Girl and her Fed, which is very good in its own right.
Kevin Turner
Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been a fan of the author's web comic A Girl and her Fed for some time, so I was already versed in the lore of this world and the group of digitally-enhanced people trying to find their way in it. But this is the author's first novel. Can she tell her stories in this format as well?

The answer for me has been a resounding yes. I'm having some trouble doing this review because the book's got that you-can't-put-it-down quality, and I'm up far too late to be writing as a result.

Rachel Peng,
Shayla Gibson
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone with a sense of humor and a love of science fiction.
I've long enjoyed KB Spangler's webcomic (A Girl and Her Fed) so these books based on characters from the comic seemed like a shoe-in for enjoyment. And they are! Rachel Peng is not a major character in the webcomic, so it was nice get to meet new characters, though my true loyalty will always lie with Hope and Speedy. Yeah, Speedy, not Sparky. If you read the comic, you'll know who the really dangerous ones are. If you haven't read the comic, go do so! What're you waiting for? It's easily avail ...more
Beats House of Cards hands down for excitement in DC.

The relationship between protagonist Rachel Peng and her partner is somehow optimistic even though they are both functional alcoholics. Given their circumstances, that might not be such a bad combo.

I'll be back after Maker Space.

Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I haven't seen her webcomic so I figure I'll check it out.

As far as the book? I liked it. A lot. I was quite taken with her smart ass protagonist and the sparkling bitter humor is nicely in line with my own.

Off to procure #2 in the series now.
Carsten Friedrich
Oct 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Nice story and nicely written. Nothing exceptional though and somehow very similar to the X-men set-up where misunderstood super humans (with implanted chip instead of mutation granting superpowers) fight against crime and for their acceptance into society.
Army of Penguins
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
I have a lot of fun describing the webcomic A Girl and Her Fed to friends and coworkers - "Oh, it's a comic set in today's post-9/11 world. He's a government agent with an implant that lets him access police databases through an Augmented Reality user interface that looks like a chibified George W. Bush. She is a millionaire martial artist who cares deeply about civil rights and talks to the spirit of Benjamin Franklin. Then things get weird." - even though my track record in keeping up with it ...more
Dec 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
Not recommended - promising series goes downhill.

If the government modified a group of people so that they could trivially break into computer systems and compromise all security and privacy standards, what would the reaction be? If these people were all willing volunteers but also were deliberately not informed about the devastating side effects, how would that change society's obligation to them? If some of these people joined the police, how would we deal with their powers that are blatantly
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Kind of a review for the series, attached to the first book:
I came from the webcomic audience, and while this series is fairly different in tone from the comic, and has a bit more of a narrow-scope plot (not too much narrower, but enough to make the story really feel personal) I find Rachel's perspective to be just wonderful and honestly the narration in the books suits my sense of humor even more perfectly than the comic does, while of course being balanced by serious moments as the story calls
Miss Ginny Tea
I liked this a lot. I still like A Girl and her Fed the best, but I think that's because of Hope & Sparky's ah-may-zing chemistry, and also the charming visuals. I'm garbage at strategy, so I don't guess things in advance (view spoiler), so I didn't really try to piece things together. In a story about very smart people saying to other very smart people the equivalent of "do you know wh ...more
May 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Learn about Rachel’s background

I read the entire comic before I found these books, so I had some spoilers. But it’s really cool to get more of Rachel’s background, and see the events from another point of view. Plus, the book really stands alone too, though I recommend the comic if you aren’t reading it already.
Mike W.
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An excellent sci-fi/crime thriller. It's a great book on it's own, but also a nice tie-in to Ms Spangler's "A Girl and Her Fed" graphic web novel.

I found the characters to be great fun and well written, including the villains. Very nice world building and dialog.
Apr 26, 2020 rated it liked it
I’ve read and finished the book, and still I’m not sure if I really got “into” the story. It was a nice read, but it just didn’t hook me and I can’t really say why. It was not a bore at all, good pacing.
Dan Hawks
May 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Well written, good characterization

I'd give it 3.5 stars. It was enjoyable. Good concepts and pacing. I'll read more. Santino and Peng make a good duo.
Jul 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Excellent concept in that the plot and technology remind me of Ghost in the Shell. However, too much unnecessary physical detail, background, and side plots slow the story down to a slog.
Emilious Tarr
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A good read, highly recommended!

A good read for everyone, not just fans of a girl and her fed. Rachel is a wonderful character, and a welcome addition to my view of our universe.
Virginia Peters-Schultz
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Murder and Kidnapping and Cyborgs

Describing this book is tough. The premise is a bit odd but just go with it and you'll enjoy the story.
Mar 06, 2019 rated it liked it
It was an okay book, I might even read the second part one of these days.
Jul 04, 2020 rated it liked it
A bit slow at times, but overall enjoyed it.
May 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
When the first chapters came out (I've been following this in serial, waiting anxiously for each new part), I wrote this to the author: "The prose writing is not only stunningly consistent with the characterization in your comic dialogue, but it's also plain fun without taking away from the fact that you're dealing with a pair of detectives who are actively working to shift a long-held paradigm (several, actually)."

It only got better. One of the things we lack in the comic (of which I have been
David Bonner
Jun 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I've been reading A Girl and Her Fed since within a week of it usual, I've forgotten who turned me on to it, but it was almost certainly another webcomicker. It's been one of my favorites ever since. So full disclosure, I'm familiar with the world Digital Divide is set in, and I was predisposed to like it. Hell, I bought one of her in-progress versions as a way to support the comic (waited for the full version to read it). But honestly, I was not expecting this.

The story in Digita
Explaining my tags, because some fit, but not accurately and I can't think of a way to tag them other than to use tags I have that sort of make sense (I also don't want someone to see my tags and assume something about the book that is not totally accurate):

--empath- I didn't know how to tag the fact that she could see emotions, energy and other things in colors. She can see anger, for example, in reds around a person's body. Or blues when they are calm.
--Psychic powers - again, not really acc
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K.B. Spangler lives in North Carolina with her husband and two completely awful dogs. They live in the decaying house of a dead poet. She is the author and artist of the webcomic, "A Girl and Her Fed," and author of novels and short stories. All projects include themes of privacy, politics, technology, civil liberties, the human experience, and how the lines between these blur like the dickens.


Other books in the series

Rachel Peng (4 books)
  • Maker Space (Rachel Peng, #2)
  • State Machine (Rachel Peng, #3)
  • Brute Force (Rachel Peng, #4)

News & Interviews

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