Monday, March 8, 2010

Book 15: Freedom TM

A cautionary cyber-thriller rife with fodder for conspiracy theorists. That's my one sentence description of Daniel Suarez's Freedom TM.
But before you go out and pick this one up, be sure to read Daemon first ( That is critical, because Freedom TM picks up right where Daemon leaves off, and you'll be lost and frustrated without the context of the previous story.
From, This concluding volume crackles with electrifying action scenes and bristles with intriguing ideas about a frightening, near-future world. Sobol's bots continue to roam the Internet, inciting mayhem and siphoning money from worldwide, interconnected megacorporations out to seize control of national governments and enslave the populace.
I don't want to say any more than that about the plot right now because there's such intrigue and tension in the stories, that I don't want to give anything away. But I do have some thoughts.
Suarez creates some very compelling characters. Some you love to hate, some you hate to love, and some you really cheer. Suarez provides some unlikely heroes in nerds, geeks, and misfits, which is refreshing. At the same time, very unsavory characters are used to further the cause of the Daemon. He exploits the weaknesses of flawed characters, manipulating their dark tendencies to join forces with the Daemon and help launch the cyber war. And in the tradition of Machiavelli, the reader must come to their own conclusion on whether the ends justify the means.
Additionally, Suarez makes great use of setting and description. He's not afraid of violence, and the picture he paints of destruction can be, at times, a bit much. I downloaded this book from This is one that can be enjoyed just as much with a listen as a read. The narrator was great, employing accents and variations to identify the characters. It really painted a visual picture, and the emotion in the voice serves well here. I could read the book in less time than it takes to listen and in one scene of torture, I did wish I could listen faster to what was going on, but my commute did go by much faster listening to this.
This book made me think a lot about our corporate culture. In light of the financial debacle we've just experienced, Suarez's tale of destructive and deceptive practices of global corporations seems especially timely. Are we, as world citizens, giving too much power over our government, and even our daily lives to greedy corporations? I think we tend to. This is a world of the rich, where money buys power, and we will one day pay a price if we don't take some ownership for forcing these entities to take responsibility for their decisions.
It also made me think about the capabilities of technology. It is mind-boggling what might be possible. We are already seeing moral dilemmas based on what might be possible with technology. I think these instances will only grow in the future.
Finally, the book made me think about loyalty and community. Loyalty, because one of the biggest challenges in these books is misplaced loyalty to entities that should be watching out for their constituents but are not. And community, because so much can be accomplished when like-minded people come together to affect change.
There are no easy answers in Daemon and Freedom TM. But they are intense, exciting reads that challenge our technological imaginations and the boundaries in which we live. Highly recommend for anyone interested in a good thriller, and anyone with an interest in gaming.

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