05 November 2014

Review: The Silence of Six

The Silence of Six
The Silence of Six by E.C. Myers

My rating: 0 of 5 stars

Cory Doctorow, in a lot of ways, has the market cornered on sort of technopunk/cybersecurity issues tales, so seeing someone else enter the space and give things a shot is welcome no matter what. That EC Myers, who wrote the solid Fair Coin series, the one who made the jump is even better. That the book is actually a really solid, suspenseful tale? Further icing on the cake.

The story starts with a hack into a political debate and an on-screen video chat suicide. With a question about "the silence of six" and a reactionary government in place, a former hacker teen is dragged back into the culture to try and solve the issue as to why his friend offed himself and what the government is hiding.

There's going to be unavoidable comparisons to Doctorow's Little Brother, and they're fairly well deserved on a whole, as they are, at its basis, about the era of privacy in a world where it's disappearing fast. Where Doctorow's books invariably devolve into advocacy, however, Myers keeps it simple by presenting the sorts of apps and programs and activities a privacy-minded person would use as simple plot points rather than paranoia. It works well as it allows the story to remain just that even when more savvy readers might know where things are headed.

The downside? The pace is almost too breakneck for its own good at times, meaning the slower points feel really draggy in comparison. There's the occasional issue of the government agents both being far too competent and bumbling all at once, and I can't say the ending felt all that realistic, but in what is a book that celebrates paranoia a bit, it works in the setting.

Overall, if you're looking for lighter fare that hits upon a lot of notes we don't see too often in YA or otherwise, this one is worth a look. Certainly one of the better reads in the genre as of late.

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