Saturday, December 26, 2009

Little Brother

Little Brother Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Book 19 of 55 for the Countdown Challenge (2008)
Book 50 of 50 for the New Author Challenge
Book 4 of 4 for the YA Dystopian Reading Challenge

Awards: Kirkus Editors Choice; Golden Duck Award; Booklist Editors' Choice; White Pine; SLJ Best Book; Publishers Weekly Best Book; YALSA Best Books for YA; Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novel (2009); John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (2009); Emperor Norton Award (2008)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a YA dystopian novel set in the near future after a terrorist attack on the Bay Bridge in San Francisco. Seventeen year old Marcus and his friends were skipping school when the attack happened and they were caught by the Department of Homeland Security and sent to a prison where they effectively disappeared. They were inhumanely interrogated and their parents were never notified of their whereabouts. Two weeks later, Marcus is allowed to go home, but he holds onto his secret after being threatened by the DHS. Instead, Marcus designs a series of hacks to get back at the DHS for his treatment and for infringing on the privacy of citizens after anti-terrorism measures go too far.

I heard a lot of great things about this book and I have to agree that it has a very interesting premise. Some readers have criticized the explanations and techie discussions, but those were the parts I really loved. I feel a little bit smarter about national and private security issues and hacking for having read this book.

However, the book is too long and is badly edited. The author repeats himself there were spelling errors and inconsistencies. I felt like Marcus made some odd choices and the sex scenes made me squirm with the immature way they were handled. The other problem I had with this book is that it was very preachy. It's clear that the author has strong feelings regarding surveillance, personal liberties, Fox News, and the state of our government in general. While I think it is good to question our beliefs, having a characters that encourages open rebellion through illegal means with only minor consequences really didn't sit well with me.

I think the author brings up some great points to ponder. I just didn't enjoy the execution of the story as much as I was hoping to.

Download the entire book (legally) for free here.

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Source: BookMooch


bermudaonion said...

Thanks for your review. I think I'll skip this one. I just don't think that's something I want to read about.

Shweta said...

This one doesn't meet my reading taste so I might give it a miss . But when a book imparts knowledge on stuff we were unaware of before is always a good read :)

Stephanie said...

Thank you for your honest review. It sounds like the author had an interesting premise but the execution was clumsy.

Corinne said...

I was already ready to pass on this one, based on the reviews at amazon, and now you've clinched it for me. I trust you, friend :)