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Brain Jack by [Falkner, Brian]
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Brain Jack Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up–Seventeen-year-old Sam single-handedly hacks into a large telecommunication company (thought to be impenetrable) and inadvertently takes out the world's infrastructure in his attempt to cover his tracks. He is recruited by a secret government department staffed by former hackers to protect the Internet and is taken to San Jose, CA. They find a malicious presence on the web that could destroy the world and must work as a group to preserve life as we know it. The story takes place in the near future, and the technology has some interesting new enhancements, most notably neuro helmets that allow one to control a computer with one's mind. On occasion the author provides too much detail about San Jose. Occasional use of non-American slang by American characters also detracts from the dialogue: “mates” is used instead of “friends,” food is described as being “tinned” rather than “canned.” Still, the nicely paced plot and well-crafted story arc make this a title worth recommending, particularly to boys who like technology or science fiction. This book will also have broad appeal since, despite the age of the main character, the content is appropriate for younger readers.–Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

In a not terribly distant future, teen Sam Wilson catches the eye of the Homeland Security Cyber Defense Division because of his preternatural hacking instincts; he is given the classic work-for-us-or-go-to-prison-forever nonchoice. The department is reluctant to use the newfangled neuro-headset technology (which lets users interface directly with their computers and the Net through brain waves), but the advantage they give to the bad guys is too much to discount. What they don’t fully consider, though, are the implications of such unfettered access to the human consciousness. The hacking scenes are relentlessly paced, and Falkner’s stimulating mix of technobabble (“I’m going to crash the shell with a buffer overflow and get in via the rhosts file”) and metaphor (“A trapdoor in the firewall, Sam thought as he hurled a frag grenade at a murky pool of the intruder’s code”) should appeal to geeks but carry the less savvy as well. Think of this as the high-octane, adrenalized sibling of Cory Doctorow’s more lesson-laden Little Brother (2008). Grades 9-12. --Ian Chipman

Product Details

  • File Size: 2639 KB
  • Print Length: 370 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (September 28, 2010)
  • Publication Date: September 28, 2010
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003F3PKD6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #602,062 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. D. Hamilton on October 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a computer USER, not a techie, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I am reminded that when Jules Vern wrote about what we know as submarines today, people probably thought it was pretty far-fetched. I would say that Brain Jack is in that category -- it may not be happening now, but could it really happen in the future? Something to think about. I especially recommend Brain Jack to computer gamers who don't *think* they want to read. They may be surprised!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Brain Jack is a great book and I plan on reading more books by the author, Brian Falkner. I've read this book from several places I've lived in the past and finally decided to purchase the book. I give the book 5 stars on the basis that I can relate to the storyline very well, the characters are neat and always have a few witty remarks, and it is just a nice book altogether.
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Format: Hardcover
BRAIN JACK is a great boy book, especially for those into computers, code, or the hacking world. I've always been intrigued by those who have the technological skill to be hackers and this book showcases them in an exciting way. This book is an exciting, don't-want-to-stop-reading, dystopian, techno-thriller full of action. The interesting thing the author did is created the action through much of the hacking moments by writing the coding actions as if they were a battle themselves, thus making it more exciting. This world Falkner created where neuro-headsets are used to make your computer usage faster by skipping the brain to hand keyboard and mouse step, is a scary vision of where technology could go. It's definitely a commentary on how far we should allow technology to go - and is there a time where the technology could get smarter than the people using it? This book has a future world where online gaming is now an addiction as we see drug use in today's society - people can't unplug and it ruins their lives. There are terrorist attacks all the time (in fact Vegas is now a radioactive wasteland) and there are secret and not-so-secret government groups protecting the people and looking for the terrorists - by trying to find the computers from which they are hacking in. It's a book that makes you question who is good and how do you know?

I never knew what was coming next and each time a plot point felt wrapped up and I couldn't imagine where he would take it next, a twist would be thrown in that I was never expecting. It kept is exciting and made me not want to put it down and stop reading.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My 11 year old son has really enjoyed this book! He was given this as an option in his middle school "great books" class. He is so engaged in the story that he reads until his eyes hurt. It is not easy to pry a preteen away from the TV/video games but this book has accomplished this task. Thanks, Brian Falkner!
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Format: Paperback
Brain Jack
Sam Wilson is the one of the best hackers in the new world where online gaming is the new drug. Keyboards are now inferior to the new technology of neuro-headsets which allows you to close your eyes and the computer screen becomes your mind. Sam was invited to neoh@ck an international hacker convention for the best of the best. However it was a part of a test and he was sent to juvenile but he broke out and was later picked up by an old friend. Now Sam, his reunited friend and other people are all a part of a secret government service full of hackers whose job is to protect the U.S from cyber terrorist.
I absolutely loved this book because the reader was so vivid and descriptive in his writing. I felt enjoyable tension while reading this book. I felt this way because there was a lot of action and I felt very much like I was inside the book battling off DoS spiders and file predators. I think I can relate to Fargas who is Sam's long time friend who has fallen into the trap of video games. When Sam left Fargas he had nothing to reinforce him to not play video games resulting in him to become an addict. I can relate this to me because when I got my first gaming console when I was probably nine. I admit played it way too much and it continued on when I got my Xbox playing hours at a time but my mom put me in her own rehab. I was finally unhooked and was able to live without thinking about my score on a game.
A novel a reader of this type might also like is "Beneath the Ice". One might like this because it is another action thriller however the themes are totally different. This novel is about two scientists who go to Antarctica who are just getting samples of ice for research. However, they find something else while digging in the snow.
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Format: Hardcover
Sam Wilson is a hacker; perhaps one of the best in the world. He can hack into any computer system, no matter what type of security is used. Your information is definitely not safe from him. The government knows this; their solution - put Sam on their team.

Sam and his group of hackers work to keep "them" out of the United States Internet system. No one actually knows who "they" are, but they're out there and are constantly trying to get at classified information. One entity, known as Ursula, wants more than information. She wants total control of the human consciousness.

Sam and his cohorts won't let that happen.

Not unlike Cory Doctorow's LITTLE BROTHER and FOR THE WIN, Falkner presents a scenario that deals with cyber-terrorism/espionage. If you aren't a techie, don't worry; context clues are a wonderful thing, and Falkner makes the story accessible to all readers. Much of what he discusses read like Sanskrit to me, but it didn't matter because the story itself was so engaging.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, and am excited to see what the author has in store for us next!

Reviewed by: LadyJay
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