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The Digital Sea Paperback – December 19, 2010
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About the Author
Tom Carpenter resides near St. Louis with his wife Rachel and their two children. He's written a multitude of short stories and several novels based on the infinite possibilities of augmented reality. When he's not busy writing his next book, he's updating his blog The Future Digital Life (www.thomaskcarpenter.com), or the leading blog about augmented reality - Games Alfresco (www.gamesalfresco.com.)
Top customer reviews
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The year 2052 is certainly not far away at all and the thought of augmented reality being so prevalent is very exciting to me. I certainly love "real life" but I also feel that computers, the internet, various applications, can enhance our lives and experiences in ways we can't even comprehend yet.
The other reviewers (at least the ones up through 05/26/11) have hit all of the points that I feel are important and I especially feel that the review entitled "I want more!!" from May 26, 2011 by Melissa, a Reviewer for 1000 + Books to Read, reflects how I feel about this book and thus I won't rehash what she has so eloquently written.
This may be a bit overreaching but the character Zel Aurora reminds me of Lisbeth Salander from Stieg Larsson's trilogy that started with "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", as does the writing in general.
Very well done book, thank you Mr. Carpenter!
The story is about our world in the future where "Sagan's Law" has been enacted, a world-wide one child policy. The population is still too high and there are many devious plans to lower it further. The cost of health care is only available to the rich. Limbs can be regrown. ARNet computers ( the Digital Sea ) are embedded into the body in order for a person to change their outward appearance and viewed surroundings. But can you now be controlled and monitored by unknown forces? Can some people take this a step further and become invisible at times? These are some of the questions in this new complex world. Mr. Carpenter weaves a unique tale that tries to unravel this complicated and puzzling dilemma that man has enacted on himself. Well done, Mr. Carpenter, you had this reviewer guessing, chapter after chapter.
Our heroine is Zel Aurora, a reality hacker savant, who has fashioned her own augmented reality system called the Pandora. Her child lies in bed dying from a shaking sickness. She contacts the crime lord Djed, whom she has betrayed in the past, to seek employment in exchange for enough of funds to get hemangioblast therapy for her daughter, Liala. The Djed, who speaks to her as a projection, wants to find out who is trying to start a war between India and Pakistan. They are interfering with his business. She agrees to take the job, but must take Djed's Russian assassin, Sasha, with her. Meanwhile, a Japanese politician is beheaded by an invisible assassin and a seasoned reporter named, Jartelle, suspects a bigger situation brewing and starts to follow leads ( don't worry about all the "ands", I'm invoking polysyndeton syntax ). Jartelle stays one step ahead of Zel and Sasha as they seek the answer to the plot against humanity, seemingly from a mysterious corporation called Ecoverse. Carpenter writes some of the chases like it's an episode from the Keystone Cops! For example, Zel and Sasha arrive in a now dead New Orleans to see Quicksilver Spider, then to New York to see TenNinety and the Unseen gang, only to be sent to Siberia to see Fat Tennessee ( and he is super fat! ), and then sent to Free Africa South. And guess who was there first? Yes, Jartelle! Now the story gets exciting, and this is where I stop. Now that you have tasted a little of the plot, I suggest you grab your own copy of this China Mieville-like weird fiction novel, sans the neologisms.
One flaw I find in books of this type is that the author writes-in too many sidebar characters with names. It gets too hard for the reader to remember all the character's names, only to find out that they were menial at best. I haven't even mentioned: Mekena Dembo ( he's not one of the menials ), Kaydar Ayasha, Ava, the Jackal, Cutter, the twins, NURBS, or Ubiq to name a few. The reader will have a lot more empathy for characters when he can concentrate on three, or four people. But this was a enjoyable novel, even though I didn't like the theme.
The characters are not all introduced together, but each is featured in his/her own chapter at the beginning which also includes some backstory for each member of the vast cast of this novel. This type of construction makes the story difficult to follow in the beginning, but perseverance is worthwhile. Readers having difficulty with the number and mission(s) of the characters may wish to make a cheat sheet.
While reading this novel, I noted that some of the transitions from one chapter to the next were not as smoothly accomplished as I could have wished. This is particularly true in the beginning, but I also noted a similar effect between the last few chapters. It is less apparent in the middle of the book. The rough transitions did not detract from my over-all enjoyment of the book.
Note for those intending to read the next two novels in this series: Start with The Digial Sea, so that you will have sufficient indoctrination into this world to enjoy the followups.
This review also appears on Dragon Views and LibraryThing, as well as on any other appropriate site I may find to post it.
FTC regulations require the following disclosure: This novel was received free from the author in exchange for this review. Despite the above statement, I want the reader to know the following as well: I chose to read The Digital Sea because I wanted to read it. I was not obligated in any way to accept the author's offer of the free copy. The above review (excluding this paragraph) is worded exactly the same as it would have been worded had I chosen to purchase my copy of this book. Receiving a free copy of the novel has not altered my opinion of the author's work. This review contains my honest opinion of the book, for which I have received no financial compensation.
Most recent customer reviews
I enjoyed this book. The world building was fantastic, and Carpenter did a great job showing and not telling.Read more