Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Book review - Genius

Title: Genius - The Game
Author: Leopoldo Gout
Genre: thriller
Similar books: Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
                     The Silence of Six by E.C. Myers
exciting but over-simplified

Summary(provided by publisher):Trust no one. Every camera is an eye. Every microphone an ear. Find me and we can stop him together.
The Game: Get ready for Zero Hour as 200 geniuses from around the world go head to head in a competition hand-devised by India's youngest CEO and visionary.
The Players:
Rex- One of the best programmers/hackers in the world, this 16-year-old Mexican-American is determined to find his missing brother.
Tunde-This14-year-old self-taught engineering genius has drawn the attention of a ruthless military warlord by single-handedly bringing electricity and internet to his small Nigerian village.
Painted Wolf-One of China's most respected activist bloggers, this mysterious 16-year-old is being pulled into the spotlight by her father's new deal with a corrupt Chinese official.
The Stakes: Are higher than you can imagine. Like life and death. Welcome to the revolution. And get ready to run.

My opinion: A surface understanding of computers, networking, engineering, and/or coding is helpful but not necessary when reading this book. The narrative presumes we understand these things and thus provides no explanation. While the sciences play a major role in the plot there isn't a lot of detail. For instance, we're told that Tunde builds a laser from parts scavenged from the auditorium. While there are design drawing, understanding how it works or even exactly what it does are not crucial to following the plot. Similarly, while politics and power plays are involved in the plot, they are linear, black and white. There is a clear villain, the implication that those in power are either corrupt or inept, not a lot of room for grey areas. Entertaining, decent pacing. I'd have liked to have seen the characters given a little more depth, more genuine personal conflict with others apart from that which is inherent in competition. A decent thrilling read. Just not anything you'll spend much time contemplating later.

Advanced Reader Copy provided by NetGalley.

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