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Digital Divide

(Rachel Peng #1)

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  517 ratings  ·  68 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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4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  517 ratings  ·  68 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
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
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
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, t
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 kno ...more
May 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wetdryvac Wetdryvac
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Well thought out socks-rocking goodness.
Jul 15, 2017 rated it liked it
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.
Mar 06, 2019 rated it liked it
It was an okay book, I might even read the second part one of these days.
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
Aug 14, 2016 rated it liked it
In the near future there are a few hundred cybernetic "Agents," leftovers from a government program, who are among other things infinitely talented hackers*. This makes them scary and scary gives them more enemies than they need, as they already have straightforward bigots and some government types arrayed against them.

Rachel Peng works with the Washington police department, trying to win allies over to their side by doing a good job and dealing with the overt dislike as best she can. The main s
Mar 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Nice book with a great main character to make things interesting. The book doesn't delve too deeply into the Police side of things so while it might lack a little bit of that authentic feeling at times it makes it easier on the readers as a whole who don't want to get bogged down in the little details of how police and government agencies of their jobs.

Rachel was a great main character and definitely held my interest throughout the books. The only issue I had was concerning her disability. Not t
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I absolutly love this book, it's one of my all time favorites!
There has been a murder that should have shown up on camera, but hasn’t. There's a cyborg in the Police force. The evidence keeps adding up and lots of people want them to be connected, but Rachel Peng, the cyborg, has to prove that they aren’t. And she has to do it without giving anyone an excuse to throw her and the rest of the cyborgs to the wolves. After all, they’ve been through a lot together, more than the world knows. So even
Apr 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
In addition to an interesting world and a brisk plot, DIGITAL DIVIDE has an absolutely charming protagonist in cyborg Rachel Peng ("Penguin" to her friends, natch). In fact, pretty much all of the good guys are charming, especially her fellow cyborgs (except for Jason. Jason kinda sucks). You want to know what happens to these ink-and-paper people--and people they are.

My only real complaints are that I wish Rachel wasn't the only female character of significance (the narrative explains this by
Oct 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was a bit tentative about this book to begin with - cyborg, lesbian, cop - but then the cat and mouse action began and I was quickly immersed in this world. The secondary characters were all very well drawn - and I appreciated how not all the characters particularly liked each other but were willing to work together.
There were a lot of political undercurrents and hidden agendas as the sub-plot - cyborgs trying to be accepted by the world at large - which added a lot of dimension to the story.
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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)
“Santino nodded. Sometimes owls happened.” 1 likes
“It was one of those conversations that moved in fits and starts. The heavy stuff had been thrown into the open and they were trying to pick up the pieces, gently, carefully, wary of the exposed edges.” 1 likes
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