I received this book for free from Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Day One by Nate Kenyon
Published by Thomas Dunne Books on October 1st, 2013
Genres: Adult, Cyberpunk, Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
THE FUTURE IS HERE AND IT DOESN’T NEED YOU
In Nate Kenyon's Day One, scandal-plagued hacker journalist John Hawke is hot on the trail of the explosive story that might save his career. James Weller, the former CEO of giant technology company Eclipse, has founded a new start-up, and he’s agreed to let Hawke do a profile on him. Hawke knows something very big is in the works at Eclipse---and he wants to use the profile as a foot in the door to find out more.
After he arrives in Weller’s office in New York City, a seemingly normal day quickly turns into a nightmare as anything with an Internet connection begins to malfunction. Hawke receives a call from his frantic wife just before the phones go dead. Soon he and a small band of survivors are struggling for their very lives as they find themselves thrust into the middle of a war zone---with no obvious enemy in sight.
The bridges and tunnels have been destroyed. New York City is under attack from a deadly and brilliant enemy that can be anywhere and can occupy anything with a computer chip. Somehow Hawke must find a way back to his pregnant wife and young son. Their lives depend upon it . . . and so does the rest of the human race.
When I was invited to review Day One, I wasn’t sure it would be a good idea, as it’s not the kind of book I typically pick up (a.k.a. it’s not young adult). However, I thought maybe it would be a good thing to try something totally different and see how it worked out for me. The plot at least sounded pretty interesting, and I’ve been curious about the concept of “cyberpunk” for a while. Sadly, it just didn’t work for me on any level. Here are some of the reasons why:
- The plot is like a standard action movie: senseless violence and so many character deaths that after the first few shocking ones I was completely desensitized to it. It became the kind of book where there’s a graphic scene of someone getting their face blown off, and I’m just sitting there like, “Yeah, sure, whatever, who’s next?” When that happens, I feel completely apathetic. The book just did not strike the right emotional chords for me to be effective.
- Part of my apathy probably stems from the fact that we’re rushed right into this end-of-the-world territory without actually getting to know the characters. And this is why young adult books work better for me – the characterizations are usually much more thorough and deep, and that’s super important to me. I couldn’t connect with Hawke at all.
- It just plain bored me. The book was so repetitious that after 65% or so, I just started skimming. The whole thing followed a pattern of the following: 1. Hawke has a flashback/dream about his family that is there to remind you that he is a family man but for the rest serves little purpose. 2. They run through the city. 3. They yell at each other about whether they trust each other or not. 4. The police/military/Jane finds them. 5. One of the sidekicks is brutally killed. 6. REPEAT.
- It seemed totally farfetched. The book starts off with clear evidence that this is very near the present day. Current events such as Occupy Wall Street, Hurricane Sandy, and the like are mentioned, placing this story in 2012-2013. However, you can’t wrtie about the singularity happening in the present day – not to the extent that it happens in the book. We are nowhere near that point. It’s like the present day elements were deliberately thrown in there to make us fear this possibility, but then as soon as they start getting to the bigger sci-fi bits, they leave that in the dust. The two don’t add up though. They just don’t.
- It felt like the plot was very disjointed and shallow. I did not understand the actions of the characters (like, oh, the whole city has shut down, but there’s a sentient being targeting us that can control anything with a computer chip – hey, I know, let’s go run down the subway tracks, there’s no way the train could suddenly move to mow us down!) or the back story, the reason why Hawke was a target at all. As far as I could tell, he was absolutely no one special, and I didn’t get why Jane would make him a target/scapegoat anyway – as soon as the police/military kill him, she still had 60% of the population left to kill. Are these spoilers? I honestly don’t care right now.