- Series: Twinmaker (Book 1)
- Hardcover: 496 pages
- Publisher: Balzer + Bray (November 5, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062203215
- ISBN-13: 978-0062203212
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.5 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 44 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,188,047 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Twinmaker Hardcover – November 5, 2013
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“Real or Fiction? Things I Didn’t Make Up” by Sean Williams
You’d think a novel about teleporters (a.k.a. “d-mat”) would be totally sci-fi, but it’s not, I swear. Just about everything in this book either exists right now or is right around the corner. For instance:
1. Put “teleportation” into Google, and you’ll find hundreds of links to real science experiments showing that in principle it’s possible. The only thing separating us from d-mat is engineering. (Truly a humungous amount of engineering, but we’ll get there. Trust me.)
2. One of the truly cool spin-offs of d-mat is fabbing—taking a pattern of something that’s gone through d-mat and re-creating it from that pattern over and over again. This might sound amazing, but again it’s not fundamentally different from 3D printing, which we have right now.
3. Then there are Clair’s lenses. Contact lenses that work like miniature TVs or telescopes exist today. With a built-in gestural interface, this could give us a Google Glass that works. From there it’s just a short step to using the equivalent of Facebook “likes” to change the world.
4. What else? Oh yeah, the Skylifter. There’s a company that makes UFO-shaped blimps for cranes, cargo lifters, even palatial passenger transport. I want one. (Hint hint, if anyone from Skylifter is reading.) Then there’s beaming concentrated solar power down to Earth from satellites in space, reading speech directly from the mind, having one time zone for the entire planet, and surveillance drones—all things that are entirely possible, if not happening right now.
6. Not all the news is good, of course: the Water Wars are obviously one downside of the impending eco-apocalypse, along with higher sea levels and flooded cities. But there really are schemes to relocate endangered species to environments far from where they evolved. Elephants in Australia could happen one day.
7. Lastly, one of my favorite things in Twinmaker is the Sphinx Observatory, with its Ice Palace and an elevator that goes up the heart of a mountain. It sounds too cool to be true, but I assure you it isn’t. Look it up and marvel, as I often do, at the beauty of all things science.
*Starred Review* Best-selling sf author Williams borrows elements of the world he created for his adult novel The Resurrected Man (2005) in his YA debut. Thanks to D-mat technology, teen Clair can jump around the globe in a matter of minutes simply by entering a booth. Along with her best friend Libby’s boyfriend, with whom she shares an attraction, Clair is trying to join an elite party crew by using D-mat’s Lucky Jump feature. They initially dismiss Improvement, a way to transform yourself through a series of jumps, but then Libby uses Improvement to remove her prominent birthmark, and as the disturbing consequences roll out, Clair digs for answers, along with a cult that believes D-mat steals souls—and much more. Williams is adept at weaving together the disparate story strands: the sociopolitical implications of a giant corporation that has access to the very code to your being, and the frantic lives of teens caught in the middle of a devastating conspiracy. In the masterful hands of Williams, the technology, which has eerie parallels to contemporary life, provides a solid platform for great storytelling, and teens will revel in the drama, Clair’s tenacity, and the memorable characters who discover that their utopia isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Readers looking for another strong Katniss-type character to follow through a treacherous near-future will hope for a sequel. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: New York Times best-selling author Williams’ plunge into YA is big news, and a full-scale, multiplatform marketing campaign is ensuring that the word gets out. Grades 9-12. --Erin Downey Howerton
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TWINMAKER is a futuristic sci-fi thriller that captures readers' attentions from the very first page. In this day and age you can travel anywhere you want through a "d-mat." It breaks apart your data and reassembles you somewhere else. After a friend decides to use this technology to request an improvement to her facial features, Clair's world turns upside down. Libby no longer is herself and Clair has found out the true dangers of this Improvement. It's now up to her and a couple of skeptics of the whole d-mat thing to enlighten the world on what can happen if you use this machine too much and for the wrong reasons. It's action-packed and Clair's adventure becomes more and more terrifying. Improvement isn't just about changing your appearance anymore, someone is out to take over the minds of bodies and replicate them all over the world for their benefit.
Yeah, I'll be the first to admit that this book was really confusing at the beginning. We're thrown into all this complicated technology and the explanations for them are not the most helpful. I tried to envision how d-mat and these lenses that everyone wears worked. The lenses basically connect you to the internet and allow you to make calls and such. It was only after a couple of chapters in and getting to witness Clair using these things that I could start to understand them. Even after finishing the book, I still really can't tell you how these work but I do have enough of an idea that I could follow along with the story. As more and more revelations about the world in which Clair lives in came to light, the more over my head d-mat was. But! Not fully understanding the ins and out of this technology did not end up taking away from the story. I still really enjoyed reading this.
We are instantly sucked into this exciting world where one simple sentence can transfer you to any part of the world that you can imagine. You obviously get a good grasp on the appeal of this machine and its capabilities. Slowly but surely, though, we start to see what could go wrong, and just how wrong it can get. The plot was immediately enticing and had me eager to read more. I really flew through this book. Each new chapter brought some exciting and thrilling drama that I had to see played out. The action gets amped up about halfway through and keeps you constantly on your toes.
Jesse and Clair were both very interesting characters. Jesse grew up in a home were d-mats were not allowed. His father calls people like Clair, who do use the d-mats, "zombies." You can tell that their interests are on a completely different spectrum. Their dynamic together was perfect and I loved seeing their "friendship" go from two people very wary of each other to two people who realized they couldn't be fighting this problem without the other. The other characters, however, were never exactly developed. If one of them died, I didn't necessarily feel anything. But the two most important characters to the story were developed well!
Overall, I think that despite the couple of issues I had with the technology specifics and the secondary characters, TWINMAKER was a thrilling and enjoyable read. The ending happened fast and left me sort of confused but I hear there is going to be a sequel. I'm hoping that the questions I was left with at the ending will be answered in book #2. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens.
Right away this book reminded me of The Uglies series -- there is a lot of lingo and background information that you have to catch on to by intuition and context clues. For someone like me who has read a lot, I was able to pick up the intentions pretty quickly. Plus I'm used to books like Feed and Uglies where there is a different set of parameters for everyday speak. If you aren't, don't worry, you'll catch up. It is probably the reason people said they had a hard time in the beginning of the book.
I loved the world that Sean Williams created. It was rich in technology and pretty vividly imaginable. The world is now run by d-mats, or devices that will transport you anywhere on earth. You and your best friend can live in different countries and go to the same school half way around the world together. What an amazingly brilliant concept! Along with d-mats, there are fabbers which can reorganize particles and create items (food, clothing, stuff in general). The rule is once the item has been in the fabber, it can be recreated.
Of course, with every good technology, there is a downside. In this instance, there is the fact that you body is being particularized every day. When Clair looks to a boy from school, Jesse, for help, we get to learn a bit more about Abstainers (or Stainers). These are people who are off the grid and don't use the d-mats to jump. Jesse talks about how his father believes that even going through one time actually breaks apart who you are as a person, killing you in essence and removing your soul... This concept was pretty thought provoking and made me think on a different level about what makes us who we are.
From the synopsis, you should be able to glean that Clair's friend is in trouble. She is beautiful, but of course sees her one blemish as something hideous that needs fixing, so when she is offered Improvement, she takes a chance to fix herself. This idea of body image was thrown out in the first few chapters, but I wish we could have seen a little more inside Libby's mind -- getting to the root of the body issues. Instead, we see things from Clair's POV, understanding that she hates things like her nose, but would not try to change who she is. She doesn't seem to understand Libby's plight against her issues.
I read a lot of reviews before I picked this one up and a lot of people don't seem to like Clair. I do, but not because she is some great person -- she is a real girl and her flaws just made me like that. She doesn't always make great decisions, and is jealous of her best friend, but those are things that make her human.
If you're looking for romance, then you should probably move to another book. There are romantic issues, but it isn't a focus, which is pretty great because there is already a LOT going on in this book.
There are a lot of REALLY cool things happening in this world. There is action and a lot of the crumbling facade of the 'perfect world' our main character has come to know. This is one of my favorite aspects of dystopian novels -- how we can build up a society and trick the people into believing the world is perfect -- and that it only takes a handful of people to knock that world on its side.
For me the best part of this book is the science -- it's fresh, original and kept me glued to the book. We created a world that didn't rely on economics and what should be a better society is still just as screwed up as we are. There are people that use the technology to make life better, but then there are people that use the technology to create chaos and terrible things. This is a great lesson for teens (and adults!) to learn.