This book has to be easily one of the cheesiest books I’ve read in a very long time. In fact, I didn’t even finish it. I made it to page 216 and gave up in disgust. It’s just so damn stupid. I don’t know how much experience the author has with cyberpunk, but she could use a few lessons.
In the future, virtually everyone in the world is connected to the Net. 24/7. And that’s all they want out of life. There are a few cranks who are disconnected, but no one pays them any attention. Jaz is a “natural,” a type of psionic who can break into networks, data, and even minds, working for an info company in Seattle. Everyone wears face rigs — all day long. One day, hers breaks. She takes it for repair, but because hers is custom made, it needs to be shipped off, so she’s left with pretty much nothing. And she didn’t realize how horrible it would be to be without the Net. She can’t pay for a bus ticket. She can’t get in her apartment building. People in rigs are staring at her. She feels different. She goes to the library and uses a public connection and starts doing some research. When she finds some relevant articles, they start disappearing before her eyes. What’s going on? More importantly, she feels something in the Net, an entity, and it soon appears before her, a self conscious, constantly growing entity reliant on ten billion networked humans for survival, and it calls itself Gestalt. It scares the hell out of her.
She calls some work friends and talks them into a disconnected hiking/camping trip weekend. She’s going to tell them she has some suspicions. For instance, no networked person has committed suicide in years. She noticed that people are more complacent. She steps in front of people to try to get a rise out of them, but they just walk off. She meets her friends and they hike to a spot out in the boondocks. She shares her suspicions and is met with a variety of reactions, and they aren’t all very supportive. However, soon some snowmobiles show up with what appear to be rangers and they say an avalanche warning is in effect and they have to evacuate. They’re not given a chance to collect their belongings and Jaz winds up with one of the rangers. The others move ahead while Jaz’s slows down. He stops, pulls out a mortar and blows up their camp, before dragging her back on the snowmobile. She’s being kidnapped.
I can’t remember, but she must have been knocked out, because when she comes to, she’s in a prison cell. A military man comes to see her. He informs her he’s a colonel with the NSA. She tells him the NSA is a research organization and he tells her he’s with their enforcement division. She’s in their prison. She has one choice. Go to Pasadena to infiltrate a break out organization that’s offline, for what purpose we’re never told, or be killed.
OK. The NSA doesn’t have an army. They don’t have prisons. They don’t have assassins. And they sure as hell don’t have witches in dungeons, which is something Jaz encounters in her ONE day of training. The two NSA agents sent previously have both disappeared, presumed dead, so she’s given one day of training. And a partner. A hacker who’s in an NSA prison. If they succeed, he gets pardoned.
I’m going to stop. They get to Pasadena, get mind read, immediately invited to join the breakaway organization and they have their own network with their own version of Gestalt. So what’s the big damn difference? I couldn’t take it anymore. What a stupid damn book! I can’t believe I read over 200 pages of it. What a waste of time. Jaz is thinking of deserting the NSA and joining this organization for real. Personally, I hope she gets blown away. She’s a damn idiot. If you like cyberpunk, this is the LAST book I would recommend.