[Photo and first part of the review taken from the Photo-A-Day blog.]
Being stuck in bed post-op my oral surgery meant plenty of time to finish my newest book from the library: Homeland, sequel to Little Brother by the same author. Both were excellent reads, very interesting and believable commentaries in fiction form about the United States today, often using true events or creating fictionalized versions of true events.
I read Little Brother first, and enjoyed it. There were a few moments where I was frustrated by choices or believes which the narrator made, but felt those actually made the book stronger, because they were all keeping in with the character of a teenage boy. The other interesting thing about the story was to keep in mind when it was written (about four years ago, I believe) and remember how much has changed since then. The ending wrapped things up a little quickly and neatly for me, which made knowing there was a sequel even better.
Homeland was published just this February, making the events in it that much more immediate and real. It was an excellent follow-up, beginning the story a couple years into the future of the same characters. It showed the fall-out of events, and brought new challenges. The changes in the characters’ personalities and reactions, their growth and set-backs since the last book, all felt real and well thought out, making them even more real. The twists and turns, the challenges and action and motivations, the interactions and reactions, all kept me very engaged with both the plot and the characters. And the ending felt less ‘neat’ that the first one, more of the mess and mystery a real-life ending contains.
Something I loved about both books is the way that Cory Doctorow weaves narration out of both story and exposition equally, creating something both educational, accessible, and still fast-paced. This books make a great introduction to technology, cryptology, practical paranoia, and hacking — both computers and life — and each have excellent afterwords with further reading, websites, and other resources.
Seriously, I’d consider buying the books just for those, if I hadn’t been taking photo-notes the whole time with my phone… Geek Girl though I am, I’ve never been a hacker-type IRL. These books have given me a real desire to fix that problem, pointers on how to get started, and a whole novel of convincing reasons why I should really get on that immediately.