Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Book Review: Daemon, by Daniel Suarez

Daemon is a high-tech thriller that certainly gets one thinking about the security of society's many electronic systems.

The country has pretty much been taken over by a daemon -- a computer "virus" that has infiltrated every computer system, whether it's government, business, or private. This daemon was created by Matthew Sobel, a wizard in the computer gaming industry who has recently died of cancer. That's right -- the perpetrator of this complex crime is dead.

My husband recommend this book--it's one of his favorites, and he's been asking me to read it for a while now. The premise is interesting and riveting. The execution left me a little wanting. I listened to the audio book, and I think if I had read the book instead it would have been one of those where I would skim a lot of the descriptions. Not just the technical descriptions (and there were many of those) but Suarez is too heavy on the descriptions of people and the rooms they are in, and the chairs they are sitting in, and the cars they are driving. It took me out of the story at times. There are A LOT of characters, and the plot changes the point of view rapidly and often. I didn't mind this technique--I kind of like it--but I know this will bother some readers.

Even though the descriptions were somewhat complex, the technological ideas that Suarez has created are fascinating and ripe for discussion. The ending was disappointing, but now that I've found out there's a sequel (Freedom, available now), I'm not as upset. (I'm not sure how soon I'll be tackling this one, though.)

The narrator of the audio book does a great job. There are many characters, but he manages to distinguish their voices without sounding ridiculous. I did notice a couple of times when he used the wrong voice for a character. It made me wonder if editors "proof" the audio books.

This is a book for a special reader. One who is interested in an exploration of technology and society gone awry. Much of the daemon's behavior mimics a complex computer game, so serious computer gamers will have a special relationship with this book. There are a select number of teen boys to whom I can recommend this, but not a lot.

A note to authors: please be careful how you name your characters. Two main characters, repeated over and over, are named "Sobel" and "Sebek." This was so confusing for a while. Please, authors, be nice!

Published by Dutton Adult, Penguin Audio, 2009
Audio book obtained from the library
448 pages (qualifies for my 350 Page Book Challenge!)

Rating: 2.5/5

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