If you're looking for my Writer's Voice Contest Entry, it's the previous post.
I rarely ever do this. As in, I think I only have two or three total book reviews up here. So very rarely does a book so completely captivate me that I feel compelled to tell the world about it.
Before Friday, if you had asked me what my top three favorite books ever were, I would have said:
Even if you're not a numbers person, you probably see the flaw with my answer. But now, Little Brother by Cory Doctrow has made the top of the list.
It's David Brinn meets William Gibson, but in a YA setting.
Okay, maybe that's not the most compelling or descriptive description for some people. Here's the (pretty apt) description from Amazon.com:
Marcus, a.k.a “w1n5t0n,” is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works–and how to work the system. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems.
But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days.
When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself.
This isn't just about the story, though it was a well told story. It was about the voice and it was about mastery of the subject matter. The main character, Marcus, is actually kind of an entitled litte brat, at least looking back on it I see that. But when I was reading, none of that occured to me. Because his voice was real, because I believed the narratorw as this kid and I was sucked into his story.
And the back story and technology...I hate watching movies with hackers in them, or even extra smart computer people. Because in an effort to dramatize the story, they always take so many liberties with technology that it becomes completely implausible.
That wasn't the case here. There were a couple of instances of how the information went viral that was a bit of a stretch, but the technology itself was, to me, pretty decent.
And since this kid is essentially declaring war on the US government, it examined the line between terrorism and freedom fighting, and even though he was very distinctly on one side of the argument, it tried (didn't quite succeed, but tried) to present both arguments evenly.
So, I wouldn't recommend this book to everyone, but the world-building is well-explained, so the technology isn't that hard to follow, and it was a fantastic social commentary and an intelligent read and even though I can see the flaws now that I've had a few days to ponder it, I didn't think about any of that while I was reading. It was engrossing and compelling and I devoured it in under a day. It's an excellent cyber-punk story with a good underlying social consideration.