Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Review - The Discovery of Socket Greeny (Socket Series, Book 1) by Tony Bertauski (3.5/5 stars)

The Discovery of Socket GreenyReading level: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
Paperback: 282 pages
Publisher: Bertauski
Release Date: July 13th, 2010
ISBN-13: 978-0982845202
Stand Alone or Series: 1st in the Socket Trilogy.
Source: Received from Author in return for an honest review
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

I got a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.  It is the first book in a planned trilogy.  When I read the synopsis it sounded interesting and appeared to be a middle grade sci-fi/cyberpunk type of story.  I had mixed feelings about this book.  I had trouble getting through the first half of the book, but found the second half to be incredibly interesting and engaging.

Socket Greeny and his friends love playing in virtualmode, where you can commence battles but never feel any of the dire consequences.  That is until they are attacked unexpectedly and Socket...does something strange.  All of this leads to Socket finding out he has the powers of the not-so-human Paladin race.  Socket can do things like stop time and listen in to people's thoughts.  The Paladins are trying the gradually advance humankind for the better, but their plans are accelerated when they find clones leaving virtualmode and inhabiting real human space.  Now the future of humanity is at risk, and Socket with his unique powers may play a vital role in saving it.

The books starts out a little rough.  You are introduced to Socket and his friends and then quickly they are torn apart and Socket is isolated.  This made it hard to see any chemistry between this group of friends and hard to find the characters engaging; they were just names.  Then a lot is thrown at the reader; I struggled to keep up with all the terminology and descriptions of metaphysical yet vaguly scientific stuff happening to Socket.  Socket himself doesn't know what's going on and this comes across as confusion to the reader.  I found some of the descriptions hard to follow and had a hard time forming a good picture in my mind of what was happening.

After the first portion things get better.  We are introduced to the Paladin race and we get to know Socket a bit better.  Socket actually develops some rapport with his new friends and finally the plot gains some momentum as we wait to see what will happen with the clones.  By the end of the book I was actually attached to these characters and happy that I kept reading the book.  I read the last third of the book straight through in one sitting.

Socket himself isn't all that complicated of a character.  He misses his father and resents his mother, he resists authority and in general acts like a frustrated teenager.  Initially I thought this sounded like a middle grade novel and it definitely isn't.  I would put it more toward the young adult/older teen genre.  There is a quite a bit of swearing; Socket acts out a lot and has a huge chip on his shoulder.  This all makes Socket a character that you don't really like or sympathize with.

The book ends well and wraps up the main story but leaves another line of story open for book 2.  Overall I have mixed feelings about this book.  Some of the ideas are really interesting and by the end of the book I was engaged with the characters.  The beginning of the book was pretty rough, didn't flow very well, and really dragged on for me.  In the beginning I kept putting the book down after each chapter, I had a hard time staying interested...then the second half of the book I read right through in one sitting.  This is a series I will keep my eye on in the future.  I noticed that it is now on sale for $.99 on Kindle.  If you have a Kindle and are into cyberpunk/sci-fi; I would check this book out.  For that price it is worth giving it a read through to see whether or not it's something you'll get into.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- The Debut Author Challenge
- The Young Adult Reading Challenge
- Speculative Fiction Reading Challenge Book List
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge

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