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Lucky Ghost: The Martingale Cycle

(Martingale Cycle #2)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  63 ratings  ·  28 reviews

Early one Monday morning, much like today, journalist Alex Kubelick walks up to a total stranger and slaps him across the face. Hard.

He thanks her.

They've both just earned Emoticoins in a new, all-consuming game that trades real-life emotions for digital currency. Emoticoins are changing the face of the global economy - but someone or something seems to be controlling the

Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published July 27th 2017 by Hodder & Stoughton
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Matthew Blakstad No, they’re standalone books that’s you can read in any order. The stories are connected but separate. The numbering ‘book 1’ and ‘book 2’ was added…moreNo, they’re standalone books that’s you can read in any order. The stories are connected but separate. The numbering ‘book 1’ and ‘book 2’ was added by Amazon I think - it’s not on the books themselves. (less)

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3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  63 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Whispering Stories
Nov 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Reviewed by Stacey on

Firstly a confession. I think I probably took about 8 weeks(ish) to read this book. For me, that is an exceptionally long time, especially when you consider that I normally get through at least two books per week. The reason for my slow reading wasn’t anything to do with the author’s writing, nor his expertise, but down to the actual subject matter of the book.

You see, when it comes to technology I’m kind of hit and miss. Give me a computer or an iP
Liz Barnsley
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lucky Ghost (the follow up to the amazingly brilliant Sockpuppet ) is a banging speculative novel with yet more geeky gorgeous and some top notch often controversial but always fascinating characters.

Lucky Ghost certainly should not be trusted, nor should you necessarily trust anything in this game, the plotting is brilliantly done, a woven web of tech and trauma, human foibles and group shenanigans all mixed up into a beautiful hotpot of a story where nothing is ever quite as it seems. Alex as
I’ve been really looking forward to reading Lucky Ghost since winning it in a giveaway a few weeks ago. It’s a little different to my usual reads, but it had me intrigued, so I wanted to give it a try. I’m pleased to say I really enjoyed it.

I think the best way to describe this book is a cyberpunk thriller, but the kind of science fiction that feels like it is already becoming all too real, and not so very fiction at all.

At first I was fascinated by the virtual reality game, known as the Strange
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In The Martingale Cycle the spectre of the past, present and future fictionally predicts the rise of a new brand of economic and social manipulation that is lurking right around the corner. While I don’t object to cyber pioneering I can’t say I’m entirely comfortable with its potential consequences either...

This next instalment (Book 2) sees a generation of technology where ‘feelings’ become a commodity that can be traded online. The philosophy may not allow us to quite sell our souls yet, but L
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cyberpunk, thriller
It all starts with a new, innovative and modern idea. As always, the idea is something that is normally based on for the good of the people. Nice one, Dani Farr! Add to this idea a nation-worth of people who want to escape reality, mix it with digital currency and all of a sudden, sinister agendas start to emerge.

Dani Farr (jeap, the same firecracker techy coder from Sockpuppet) has yet again graced the people with one of her creations. This time it’s the Strange. A virtual environment where hum
Clare O'Beara
This is a fun post-cyberpunk read, in which a virtual gaming world is not confined to the computer any more. On London streets, players called Strangers walk around wearing hats or masks from which mesh dangles in front of their faces. The mesh is real but it projects an augmented reality for them, called the Strange. In this world people can act out scenarios and interact with Strangers. However, it doesn't end there... Strangers don't pay to be in the Strange, and while there they can gain Emo ...more
Miriam Smith
Won in Goodreads Giveaways not read - passed on to another reader
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-challenge
Man, oh man, oh man. How do I even begin? Well - first of all you should note that this is book two in the series. Now me being me, I like to do things arse about face and so I have read this without reading the first. Because I haven't read the first book, I'm not sure how much it would or wouldn't have helped me with this one but to be fair, once I have got my head around the language, the characters, the concept of the pig masks and the superheroes, cartoon characters and myriad of other oddi ...more
Molly Flatt
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Like Sockpuppet, Matthew's first novel, Lucky Ghost is scarily prescient. Fake news, manipulation of public emotion through social media, augmented reality, the gamification of life, the commoditisation of our relationships, refugees, hacktivism, political corruption... all the big themes of our times come to vivid life in this super-smart near-future book.

But it's not just smart - it's fun (and funny). In Lucky Ghost, the exuberant early promise of Sockpuppet sharpens into a tight, taut thrill
Oct 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
An interesting (and terrifying) glimpse at where tech is taking us as a society. Lucky Ghost has a language of it's own which took a little while for me to get my head around but once I had I really started enjoying the story.

Focusing on a world where most people are literally plugged into a virtual world 24/7, it isn't hard to imagine a time when this will be feasible. Using The Strange interface as an escape from the mundane reality of life, people trade using Emoticoins. This concept struck a
Susan Angela Wallace
Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lucky ghost by Mathew blakstad.
Early one Monday morning, much like today, journalist Alex Kubelick walks up to a total stranger and slaps him across the face. Hard.
He thanks her.
They've both just earned Emoticoins in a new, all-consuming game that trades real-life emotions for digital currency. Emoticoins are changing the face of the global economy - but someone or something seems to be controlling the game for their own, nefarious purposes.
A very enjoyable read. Strange and unusual. I liked ale
Megan Leigh
Jul 11, 2017 rated it liked it
This review originally appeared on Pop Verse.

Cyberpunk has, understandably, been enjoying a resurgence of late. Our lives are practically a cyberpunk reality, with net neutrality issues and augmented reality devices growing in popularity. Not only is the technology of cyberpunk becoming ubiquitous in the real-world, the thriller conspiracies no longer seem farfetched. In the age of Trump and Brexit, we can easily believe that big corporations are manipulating us for their own monetary gains.

Steph Hayward-bailey
DNF I found this book difficult to get into and after 100 pages had no link with any of the characters. This book was not for me.
Nicola Fantom
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant although didnt realise it was the 2nd in a trilogy,, will have to order the first one now lols :)
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m surprised there isn’t more hype over this book - it’s superb, a level up from it’s predecessor Sockpuppet, which I’d advise reading first to get the full effect.

Full review to follow...
Simon Leonard
Oct 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is book 3 in Matthew’s Martingale Cycle series, but you don’t have to have read either of the other books to understand this one as it is technically a stand alone book but with some people from the first books appearing in this one.

The book starts off with a woman, Alex, being told to slap a man she has never met, and act in a Virtual Reality game where you gain points for doing various acts.

It then switches to a man/boy who goes by the name Thimblerig as he instigates a group of people wi
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I won't pretend I understood all the IT references because I didn't and it did take me longer to read than my normal reads. I’m not a computer wiz at all and I tend to shy away from the fact computers are a lot more advanced in our society than I would like. Did this all impact on my enjoyment of this book? certainly not in anyway. I really enjoyed it, I did have to work harder as the reader because I choose to Google words I was unsure about, and again this was purely because I'm oblivious to t ...more
Amy Bird
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Blakstad has seized the zeitgeist and run with it. From his clearly gargantuan brain spins a future-tech conspiracy thriller that is terrifyingly apposite for our times.

What I love most about this book is the brilliantly original and spot-on ideas. Set in the near future of the 'Sharing Twenties', players on a virtual reality network called The Strange wear a face-covering mesh to game with other Strangers. They wander round the streets in an alternate world, becoming like zombies if discon
the crow of judgement
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars, read-in-2018
“‘free’ inevitably means that someone else will be deciding how you live.”

i’ve been lucky to have had a streak of four and five star books for the whole of march, and this book was no exception. it was an excellent, exciting sci-fi thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat.

the plot was very exciting, if a little confusing - there were also lots of perspectives. the main two were alex (the main character) and thimblerig (the hacker) but there are also a lot of other povs so if you don’t li
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: contemporary
I thought I would enjoy this book. I almost did. The story was quite gripping, if formulaic, but the characters were cartoon stereotypes, probably because the author (from whose bio I was hoping for better) must have listened to his agent's whisperings that his target market would double if he made the protagonist female. It was the more overt proposition of this theme that put me off reading Sockpuppet. Sorry, Matthew, I have news for you: your "female" persona is not only lacking in credibilit ...more
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-top-ten
Lucky Ghost is a fast-paced and tightly plotted techno-thriller set in the near future. It follows on from the superb Sockpuppet and while it works as a stand alone I'd highly recommend reading both. A few years have elapsed since the final events of the previous novel and the latest craze is an immersive augmented reality game called The Strange where players earn and trade in emotions. Needless to say, once something attains a value and becomes currency, whether in the real world or a virtual ...more
David Rutter-Close
Oct 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
As someone who would definitely own a ‘mesh’ (Augmented reality device) and have probably gone fully ‘strange’ I found this book both insightful and exciting.

The story revolves around a future blogger come old school journalist called Alex and her gradual realisation that things might not be as utopian in her augmented reality coping mechanism as she would have hoped

I found the near future vision of the world not that hard to imagine given where we are today and the future crimes involved were v
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaway
Well written with a brilliantly imaginative world & technology and genuinely unnerving. You may get more out of it, however, if you've read Sockpuppet first. A Good book, just didn't do it for me. But I would definitely recommend it if you like well written/ inventive Cyberpunk Sci-Fi.
(I recieved an ARC in exchange for an honest review in a Goodreads giveaway.)
Claire Sinclair
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was pretty techie and it took me a bit longer to get into and read because of this. However, once I got into it I really enjoyed it. The whole concept of 'living' in a different world as well as in the 'real' world is fascinating as so true to life in the techie world we now live in. I will definitely be giving more of this author's books a go.
B Moignard
I won this advance copy through Goodreads. I believe I may have enjoyed it more had I read Sockpuppet first and, to be honest, it was well written but perhaps a little too geeky for me.
James Robinson
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Too much jumping around of tone, etc.
Tried to finish but couldn't.
Judith Moore
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I’m going to make a confession, despite marrying a computer scientist very soon my knowledge of computers is sub optimal. Similarly, my knowledge of economic theory is a little lacking so as much as I would love to tell you all how super accurate this book is in both of those factors…I cannot, nor will I try. There is a lot of interesting knowledge thrown about in this book though which just adds to your enjoyment of the reading. It’s done in such a way that it doesn’t feel boring but you do get ...more
Daniel Smith
Won in the Goodreads Giveaways - passed on.
dale barker
rated it really liked it
Aug 27, 2018
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May 24, 2019
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Matthew writes pacy, character-driven fiction that explores the impact of technology on how we live and who we are. His first full-length novel, Sockpuppet, came out in May 2016. It is the first book in the Martingale Cycle, a series of stand-alone but interconnected novels that gravitate around a fictional computing pioneer and political radical called Elyse Martingale.

Matthew's first career wa

Other books in the series

Martingale Cycle (2 books)
  • Sockpuppet