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The Wired series is some of author Toby Neal's best work. The protagonist
on December 8, 2017
The Wired series is some of author Toby Neal's best work. The protagonist, Sophie Ang, is as complex as any female lead could be. Neal herself describes Sophie as the "female Jack Reacher", but the fact is, Sophie's character is more nuanced, and more driven toward good, than Reacher. Neal has created a dark, twisted, and yet hopeful character in Ang, who is just beginning to discover who she is and what she wants. This journey is carefully documented and naturally progressed through the series.
The hallmarks of Neal's writing are her ability to draw characters that are deep, layered, and fascinating, whether the characters are lead or supporting. She often features various supporting characters in her books, allowing us a depth of knowledge that most other series' stories do not offer. Neal also includes factual information about the locations where the novels are set, and it's clear she thoroughly researches locations and cultures. This creates a rich, colorful story that I as a reader thoroughly love, and it's why I am a fan of all her writing.
In "Wired Dawn", Sophie explores the island of Kaua'i, its solitude, and the many people who are drawn to the island and the ability to live completely off the grid and therefore be hidden. Fascinating stuff! A character I loved from the earliest novels in this series, Alika, returns to challenge Sophie's developing sense of self and determination to remain isolated. Another love interest, Jake, adds to the complexity of Sophie's emotions. Meanwhile, the Ghost continues to torment Sophie and drive her to try to resolve her feelings of anger, attraction, and desire for him.
Underlying all of this is the baseline story of Sophie, who is a tech genius and former FBI agent. Sophie has a complicated past that includes abuse and depression, and Neal does an excellent job of conveying the resulting damage from that past. Sophie also is very strong and determined, and is a trained MMA fighter, so she is fully capable of handling difficult and dangerous situations and people on her own. In Sophie, Neal has created a character to whom most of us can relate, and whose struggles feel real. We want to know more about her, we want to see her succeed, and we want to see her evolve.
"Wired Dawn" is an excellent addition to the series, a tightly woven, suspenseful novel, and Sophie is a hero for our times.