But Caitlin's brain long ago co-opted her primary visual cortex to help her navigate online. So when she receives an implant to restore her sight, instead of seeing reality, the landscape of the World Wide Web explodes into her consciousness, spreading out all around her in a riot of colors and shapes.
While exploring this amazing realm, she discovers something - some other - lurking in the background. And it's getting more and more intelligent with each passing day.
BONUS AUDIO: Includes an exclusive introduction written and read by author Robert J. Sawyer.
©2009 SFWRITER.COM Inc.; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
"The thematic diversity - and profundity - makes this one of Sawyer's strongest works to date." (Publishers Weekly)
"Unforgettable. Impossible to put down." (Jack McDevitt)
"Thoughtful and engaging, and a great beginning to a fascinating trilogy." (Robert Charles Wilson)
Sci-fi/Fantasy geek :)
I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy, so this book (and the entire series actually) was a pure joy to read. It wasn't all sunshine and roses, but there were enough of each to stock a small nursery. There is a sense of hope in this book that is missing from many (if not most) sci-fi writing. Yes, I usually prefer more gritty reading, but it is nice sometimes to sit outside in the warn sunshine in a loose-fitting shirt and shorts, sip a lemonade, and read with a smile on your face.
The writing is smart and technically plausible (which for a tech person like me is always enjoyable). I even got to use some of this book to explain "network packets" to a client of mine :) The pace moves well and has a good enough mixture of action and prose, which is important for those of us with a short attention span.
The characters are planted in shallow soil, but not entirely transparent, and interesting at least. I actually learned a bit (and thought quite a bit more) about what it might be like to be a blind person, especially a blind person using a computer. I also remembered what it was like to be a teenager again, probably the reason I am still drawn to so-called YA books. But, I think if you can't enjoy an occasional lighter read, then maybe you need to lighten up just a bit.
The narration is second-to-none! How can you complain about a full cast of talent like this? You can't! I'd love to have more audio books done this way as it lends much more credibility to the entire affair (listening to some male narrators squeak out a female voice reminds you that you are listening to someone read a book instead of losing yourself in the story).
I have an Audible 2-book per month membership and actually went out of my way to purchase the 3rd book in this series before the end of the month, a rare occurrence for me. That should tell you all you need to know!
Eclectic mixer of books of my youth and ones I always meant to read, but didn't.
I thoroughly enjoyed Book 1 of this trilogy. The concept, a bit hackneyed by earlier attempts and competing against big budget Cameronesque visuals, was cleverly, carefully and faithfully developed in a novel way. I like the Catlin Dexter character, although I can't help feeling that she's just a few years too young. However, I guess that the youth control the real web (at least they seem to understand it more tha us a few generations on) so it makes sense to have a teenager make the connection. It also provides a nice metaphor for her awakening, both visually and as a young woman. I'm looking forward to the development of the censorship theme and the inevitable confrontation when Big Brother meets its younger, smarter sibling. A terrific read for adult and adolescents (say 15 plus) and a very promising start to the trilogy.
Intelligent, well thought out story. Leaves you thinking. The narration and production are superb. Greatly anticipating the sequel.
Way to go Audible!
I thought the premise of the story was fascinating but the book ended up being one long introduction without much of a plot. Near the end of the book, I understood why the separate stories in China and with the apes were brought up, but it was such a long road to get to minor points in the book. All in all, this book felt like one very long, tedious introduction. Although the performances were good, it did not save the story. I would guess (hope) that the next two books have more of a plot and storyline, but I'm just not willing to spend my money or time on them.
I have to say that Robert J. Sawyer is my favorite author ever since I have found his very first book "Calculating God" on audible. This book is the best I have had the pleasure to listen to by far. The technical aspect of it can be a bit overwhelming but the complex charachters and the story is amazing. I can not wait for the next one!
I normally do not read stories where the main character is a 16 year old girl. It's to hard for a 45 year old man to connect. I was delightfully surprised at how well the main character was written and found myself pulled into her struggle to acquire sight. Even though I know it is just fantasy, I can believe that someday someone may find what she did and wouldn't that be a surpirse for the rest of us.
All I can say is good job! What a Story!
I loved it! It was one of the best reads (or listens) in quite some time! This is an intelligent, engaging story and I could not put it down. If you like smart stories that make you think...this one's for you.
I love to read and since 2011 I have been mostly listening to audiobooks because oftentimes there is nothing like a good narrator.
SPOILERS WILL FOLLOW! WARNING! I'm writing this for parents who want to get this for their pre-teen and teen children.
The story of WebMind was great. The characters were well thought out but in some cases sterotypical. The kid who tries to take advantage of Kaitlyn and then bullies Matt is one such case.
That said, the story revolving around WebMind is fantastic and extraordinary. I also enjoyed Hobo the chimp/benobo although his making a choice not to be violent was too far fetched for me, at least in this story.
Now on to the elephant in the room. Regardless of what a perfect world is or how the characters think it should be; parents encouraging their 16 year old daughter to first sext her bare breasts to her new boyfriend and then just days after first kissing a boy (not just this boy, any boy) they let their daughter her have sex with him, is not the mindset I want to instill in the world I live in.
The mother finding the sexting bare breast picture on her daughter's phone and sees the sext she sent to her boyfriend but when she shows the father, he is not only not upset, but he tells her there is nothing wrong with it. That is crazy in my book, sorry for the pun. Sure, they didn't tell her directly "Hey Kaitlyn, sexting is fine and by the way, having sex is great and we think you should have it now too" but their actions (and lack of action) spell it out very clearly. They knew full well that their daughter who was born blind and had just gained sight, had her very first kiss and sent naked pictures of herself to said boy. They also knew that just days after gaining sight, etc. she was going to have sex. They accepted it as a forgone conclusion.
I think the sexting and Kaitlyn losing her virginity added nothing to the overall story other than an irresponsible influence on many pre-teen and teen children who will read this book. I don't think books should be censored or banned. I read many, many books per year, sometimes two or more per week and I run across many situations like this but this one is different in that it is a book specifically geared for young girls. I don't know how to handle it other than by writing this review.
The above is why I dropped 2 full stars from the overall and 3 from the story, If those two situations were handled differently I would have given this book a full 5 star review. It was that good. It is not something I normally read but someone recommended the first book and I was pulled in. :)
Yes, it's young adult fiction, so you need to understand and accept some things from that perspective. One review faulted the book for the slang, innuendo and the product placement....but story is told from the perspective of a nearly 16 year old girl. Spend some time with a group of 16 year olds and you will hear all of that and more! I found the narration to be pleasant and the story to be interesting and well told. I liked how Sawyer brought in other authors, books as well scientific and mathematical ideas into the story to substantiate the premise. It gives you something more to research if you are interested in the theories he presents.
"Did not enjoy this book"
I will start in saying that I have not finished this book. I found the characters 2 dimensional and the first half of the book (which is did listen to) there is very little links between the three stories that the author has created and I found switching between them made me feel (so what). There was no clear indicator of what the main character (Caitlin Decter) has in common with a monkey named hobo, or the bird flu outbreak in china.
I found no drive to find out the conclusion and thought that in the end do i really care. It felt that there was no goal or aim other then an emerging intelligence on the web.
Granted I did not finish the book and am sure that they stories would link together but after 5 1/2 hours on the first part that I found very dull I couldn't bring myself to finish the final 6 1/2 hours of part two to find out what happened.
Also I found one of the male narrators very bad. He was the one that describes all the issues with the chinese government. There was zero emotional content in the characters and no attempt at creating an accent (not really important granted). On the other hand the narrator for Caitlin Decter was great, she really gave every character feeling and even did an ok job at an Japanese accent. Shame.
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