Book Reviews: Daemon and Freedom

Daemon (Daemon, #1)Daemon by Daniel Suarez

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An interesting read that took me a while to get into and left me feeling rather frustrated. Despite that, I enjoyed it. First, the frustration: this book is part 1 of a two book series. You won’t see that anywhere on the cover, and it very much leaves off right in the middle of the action. I don’t mind series, but I’d appreciate to know when I’m reading one, so that I don’t expect an ending. (Although in this case, the “ending” is more just a convenient pause in the action, not a real tying up of anything.) Since this is Suarez’s first book, I suspect it and its sequel were written as one volume, and the publisher decided to cut it in two. Fine–just let me know!

That said, it’s an interesting premise. A big name video game designer dies, and suddenly chaos runs rampant. It’s discovered that he wrote a nasty program designed to go into effect on his death. It searches news feeds for key words, then puts into play the next step of the designer’s plan, essentially allowing him to continue to influence the world after his death. Seen from another angle, he takes video game mechanics and applies them to reality, with the ultimate goal of destroying major businesses and governments.

If you can get beyond the technobabble that pops up now and then, and you’re willing to give the very large benefit of the doubt to the idea that this man planned for so many contingencies, then the book’s a good read. It’s fast moving and interesting to think about what would or could happen with the proper coding, preparation and foresight. Is the book entirely believable? Not really. But could it happen? I suppose it could.

Recommended to those of you who aren’t too persnickety about your science fiction–it’s more mainstream than sci-fi, anyway. But if you read it, be sure to have the sequel handy–I’ll review that in a moment, since I’ve finished it, too.

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Freedom (TM) (Daemon, #2)Freedom (TM) by Daniel Suarez

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The conclusion to Daemon–it has most of the same strengths and weaknesses of the first book. Jumping forward a few months after the end of the first novel, Freedom brings everything to a fitting conclusion, more or less. As with the first, I wasn’t really convinced by a lot of the tech side of things, and I can’t help but feel like there were some major issues Suarez was ignoring. That said, if you read it as a piece of fiction and forget about being too critical of the science, then it works quite well.

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