Freedom has to be judged as a sequel to Daemon. It's extremely disappointing in this regard. If it didn't continue the story and characters from Daemon I would have rated it lower.
Daemon was a page turning techno thriller. It was an awesome book with a great story. Highly recommended. Freedom shifts gears and tries to become an alternate / dystopian novel. It seems Suarez was trying to go where Stephenson went with Snow Crash or various Gibson inspired universes. Those novels were much more entertaining.
The characters in Freedom aren't well developed. The most interesting characters are the ones you're supposed to hate. Loki, the Major, Boerner yet they are one dimensional. Little explanation is given as to why they do what they do. Possible exception is Loki.
The "good guys": Sebeck, Ross, Merritt and Philips are equally boring and one dimensional. Aside from Ross you don't really feel like rooting for any of them. And Ross turns into a complete sidekick character, only showing up to move the plot along.
I think Suarez is a good story teller, but he isn't a good writer yet. The writing is somewhat lifeless. The relationship arc between Philips and Ross is weak and cringe worthy.
The plot of Freedom is also hard to accept. It's like a delusional fantasy in which WoW becomes real life. Suddenly evil corporations now raise armies and terrorize the populace? Where is the US Government or Armed Forces in all of this? The CIA, FBI, NSA, DOJ ? They are all in the book but only to move the plot along. It is hard to believe the government, without a plausible explanation, would let the events that happen take place.
It is a shame Daemon stops on a cliffhanger. It is a much better book. I found myself struggling to finish Freedom, only hanging in there to finish the characters arcs. The main story loses interest and focus 3-4 hours into the novel.
A fantastic book from an author who knows his cyber tec. This book keeps you wanting it to never end.
After reading Daemon by Suarez, I was excited to hear about the sequel. I was looking forward to a continuation of the story. What I wasn't expecting was an evolution of the story.
Daemon was mostly about the machinations of the program, it's operatives and the government efforts against it. Freedom(tm) is about so much more.
With the world established, Suarez is able to flesh out the "Dark Net" - his interpretation of Augmented Reality. And he hits it out of the park. He creates a world so plausible and compelling that I am interested in joining this reality, despite it hanging on the brink of social disorder.
As I said, absolutely fantastic.
A frightening, yet hopeful, look at where technology could take us in the very near future in a very plausible way. Think augmented reality is a fantasy? Look up "google goggles". It's coming.
I recommend reading Daemon first. There's too much back story in Daemon to pass it by. Although Freedom (TM) could stand on it's own, I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much without the character backgrounds that Daemon provided.
Suarez is certainly a geek at heart and the technology he references is extremely well researched. I'm a computer security buff myself, and his use of various network weaknesses and flaws was very well realized.
Daniel Suarez did a fantastic job with his first book Daemon and then the sequel Freedom. Although Freedom does stand by itself, it is a much richer experience if you read Daemon first. You just lose too much of the story if you don't.
A high-energy sequel to Daemon.
I broke my own rules and listened to this in the house - I normally save audiobooks for my commute. Couldn't help myself, this was an addicting story.