Saturday, April 2, 2011

BRAIN JACK by Brian Falkner

Author: Brian Falkner
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 28, 2010
Number of Pages: 349
Source of Book: Library Check Out
Author's Website:

Goodreads Summary:
In a dystopian near-future, neuro-headsets have replaced computer keyboards. Just slip on a headset, and it's the Internet at the speed of thought. For teen hacker Sam Wilson, a headset is a must. But as he masters the new technology, he has a terrifying realization. If anything on his computer is vulnerable to an attack, what happens when his mind is linked to the system? Could consciousness itself be hacked?

Brian Falkner, author of The Tomorrow Code and The Project, delivers an action-packed and thought-provoking sci-fi thriller in which logging on to a computer could mean the difference between life and death.

BRAIN JACK is a great boy book, especially for those into computers, code, or the hacking world.  I've always been intrigued by those who have the technological skill to be hackers and this book showcases them in an exciting way. This book is an exciting, don't-want-to-stop-reading, dystopian, techno-thriller full of action. The interesting thing the author did is created the action through much of the hacking moments by writing the coding actions as if they were a battle themselves, thus making it more exciting. This world Falkner created where neuro-headsets are used to make your computer usage faster by skipping the brain to hand keyboard and mouse step, is a scary vision of where technology could go. It's definitely a commentary on how far we should allow technology to go - and is there a time where the technology could get smarter than the people using it? This book has a future world where online gaming is now an addiction as we see drug use in today's society - people can't unplug and it ruins their lives. There are terrorist attacks all the time (in fact Vegas is now a radioactive wasteland) and there are secret and not-so-secret government groups protecting the people and looking for the terrorists - by trying to find the computers from which they are hacking in. It's a book that makes you question who is good and how do you know?

I never knew what was coming next and each time a plot point felt wrapped up and I couldn't imagine where he would take it next, a twist would be thrown in that I was never expecting. It kept is exciting and made me not want to put it down and stop reading. There wasn't too much character development compared to stories that I'm used to, but as far as thrillers go, I think it was fairly typical - this book is more about the action and excitement and suspense. However, I did love Sam and Dodge was great comic relief. This book is one to read, but with the caution that there are some very technical terms, so if you're not familiar with coding/computer technology, it may take a little getting used to, but it's worth the effort.


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