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Suri Five Kindle Edition
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|Length: 310 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Whaler's an author to keep an eye on, and I intend to do so. If you remember the classics (Ben Bova, early Gibson, Clarke, Heinlein, maybe Dickson...) you might want to look here for an updated vision of the old greats. If he keeps producing at this level, he'll be admitted to the Pantheon in short order.
First, the setting, which in SciFi is a major character. The whole juxtaposition of wealthy islands in seas of poverty is overdone and difficult to pull off. I'm not entirely sold on the authors' handwaving solutions to the inherent conflict between getting in food, manufactures and raw materials while keeping out undesirables, but overall it's good enough to not detract from the story. Given today's progress with 3D printing in food industries, it may end up being more practical than I credit, but I shan't say more. The technology essential to the story I thought they handled extremely well, smoothly balancing requirements of the story with hard SciFi science. I was impressed, both with the technology and with the description of the Mesh, their evolved Web.
Characters run from casual but plot-necessary (her teacher) to her inner circle. Suri herself is the most interesting and most complex. Her little brother is also well-drawn and plausible both internally and as a forcer for Suri. Their father is more sparsely drawn, but in enough depth that by the time his behavior is explicitly explained it had become apparent. Richard is more sparsely drawn as well; we see a great deal about his capabilities, with his motivation explained only obliquely. The other hackers are not detailed except as required to effect their parts. The only cardboard character is the government bureaucrat - but then, that's exactly how we tend to see them.
The crisis is surprisingly believable given its scope. Its resolution seems balanced and reasonable also - believable enough and well-paced enough to be nail-biting, but with plausible reasons to not fully trust what we are told until the last act unfolds. The authors work the trifecta - Suri against man, Suri against herself, and Suri against her environment. (Of course, we know up front that the last two are entertwined, but they skillfully make them separate conflicts as well as one conflict.
So, how much did I like the book? Well, as mentioned initially I was given a free copy to review, but having read it I immediately spent $3 to buy it just so my review would count for the official review ranking. I really, really liked it and it left me pondering some questions obliquely raised. I judge it suitable for ages ten or so up to senility; although very few young readers are going to pick up the nuances of societal issues and what it means to be human, it's still a good action story with characters that should be relatable to kids. I highly recommend it.