Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Review: Faust 2.0

Faust 2.0 by Michael Brookes has that certain ingredient which just gets me hooked. Now I'm eagerly waiting the following books in the series.
This is the first book in a while which has really got me hooked. I mean, I love reading, and I get into books easily, but this was something else. Morning, noon and night I was reading this book even if I only had time to read a page at a time. This sci-fi novel doesn't constrain itself to the protagonists and shadowy side characters. The introduction of characters to the novel who then self destruct with the help of Misty, the powerful A.I. whose hate for humanity knows no bounds, is a welcome change to the longevity of most characters in novels.
From the first to the last chapter, this book had me under a spell. I loved the first 'birthing' chapter and the way that throughout the novel Brookes' describes Misty's existence in technical terms. I feel like I would have had a better understanding of Misty's point of view if I had a little more knowledge about computers and viruses, but my near non-existent knowledge was enough for me to understand her network based existence.  So do not be put off reading this book if you don't know anything about computers. You will still be able to enjoy the story without being a professional computer programmer.
I feel like Brookes takes your basic stock character (the manipulative, dangerous woman or bullied, close to the edge student) and developments them beyond that. Even character's who do not live long in this book have a unique personality, motivation and thoughts. There are no clones, and the range of character's just makes Misty seem more horrific as her reach ranges from drug dealers, students, political candidates and even computer savvy shut-ins.
I found it a little strange that, of all the people in this story, Dan is the one to wonder if Misty is a self aware A.I. Yes, he is a computer guy, so I suppose he would be more familiar with ideas related to computers, the internet and the things that exist inside them, but it just seemed a little... philosophical for Dan. However, I can easily believe that Dan is a character who can grow well beyond his rather pitiful starting point in the novel. While clever, and perhaps even, to some degree, relatable to some people, I found Dan was truly a man-child. I don't find this an attractive feature in men - but let's remember, not all characters are meant to be our dream fantasy. That's why I like Brookes' range of characters; this isn't a story about attractive people doing glamorous things. This is a story about people dealing with something evil and something which most aren't equipped to deal with. It's a story about making deals for things typically regarded as bad - such as money, power or sex.
Sarah, the story's main character, is a likeable guide in the story. Her romance with Reynolds' is a little predictable, but, as a reader, I felt like she deserved it given her history. However, I did guess that Reynolds would be killed off before romance could truly bloom (it's called the 'Morton & Mitchell' series, after all), but I didn't want it to happen. It seems like this is important to the story, however, because without a partner like Reynolds', Dan becomes more likely as a partner for Sarah in the following books.

The bottom line is that this is a book for anyone who likes cyber set, science fiction or mystery novels. The characters are unique and have a real quality about them, even those that don't live long. Brookes' isn't afraid to take character's on a downward journey to hell from which there is no saving. For that reason the title reference to Faust is well earned. This novel is a must read for those who like their character's realistic and flawed. 

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