Review Blog

Apr 21 2010

Brainjack by Brian Falkner

cover image

Walker Books, 2009. ISBN 9781921150951
(Age 13+) Recommended. On the shortlists for both the NZ Post Children's Book Awards and the Sir Julius Vogel Awards (for Science Fiction books), Brain Jack is a suspenseful story that I could hardly bear to put down. It follows Sam Wilson who is a brilliant computer hacker. His illegal activities bring him to the attention of Homeland Security after he manages to hack into Telecomerica, the White House and then hack his way out of detention. Employed by the government to watch out for nasties, he and the team uncover a plot where neuro-headsets have been used to take over the world.
This is a fast paced action thriller, set in the near future in a United States where a bomb has razed Las Vegas and technology is taking over. Falkner has come up with some great technology and ideas about computers that I found fascinating to read.  Sam manages to steal a neuro-headset for his friend Fargas and himself, and suddenly a keyboard and a mouse are no longer necessary. Fargas, in particular, gets immersed in an online game run by a computer body called Ursula, but when Homeland Security is threatened, Sam realises that the neuro-headsets are plugged into so many minds that they could be dangerous.
Exciting escapes, intrigue, car chases and danger kept me on the edge of my seat as Sam, Dodge, Vienna and Ranger race to try and save the world from mind invasion and war. Sam's character is well-developed and believable and secondary characters well rounded. The conclusion is especially thought provoking and would engender a lot of discussion.
I loved The tomorrow code by Falkner and this book is even more exciting. Recommended for readers who like adventure, computers or those who enjoyed Little Brother by Cory Doctorow.
Pat Pledger

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