Sunday, August 12, 2012

Review: Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

For the most part, I tend give blurbs on book jackets only a cursory glance, but when I saw that Neil Gaiman's blurb at the top of Cory Doctorow's young adult techno-thriller, Little Brother, I paused. I have long professed my fanboy status of Gaiman's work, going back to his days on Sandman, and my respect for him and his work nudged me towards picking up this particular novel. I'm incredibly glad I did. (Good call, Mr. Gaiman!)

Marcus (known online as w1n5t0n) is a seventeen year old living in San Francisco post 9/11. When an attack on his city forces everyone into shelters, Marcus and his friends are caught above ground and held by the Department of Homeland Security. After lengthy interrogation using "enhanced" techniques, Marcus is released only to find that San Francisco has been turned into a police state reflective of Orwell's 1984. Shocked and horrified at the changes wrought in his city, Marcus realizes that he has virtually nowhere to turn; that no one would believe his story and the chances of holding those responsible for his captivity and torture are nil. With the help of a strong but silent underground movement, Marcus decides there is only one course of action: take down the DHS, by himself if he has to.

Written with an intensity that crackles and moves you forward at almost a breakneck speed, Little Brother should give any reader pause to consider our post-9/11 world and what we have given up in the name of "freedom" and "safety." More frightening still is that Doctorow's novel serves as a grim prediction of an all-too-likely scenario, the shadows of which can be seen in the world today. Highly recommended for...well...everyone.

From Tor Books and available from your local, independent bookseller. (Make a difference in your community: shop and buy from local, independent retailers!)

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