Thursday, July 7, 2011

Book Review: Joe Is Online

Joe Is Online by Chris Wimpress

Source:  eBook provided by the author for review

In 1997 a 13 year-old boy with no friends called Joe went online. He decided the offline world was too harsh be real. With the help of an internet psychic called Magda Magenta, Joe unleashes a series of co-ordinated attacks on the world, beginning online and spreading into the offline world. He develops an online cult populated by people who've also been let down badly by the real world.

Nobody can trace their source until a quiet, shy professor in terrorism called Penelope Hunt discovers a link to Joe. She finds herself sucked into a conspiracy which transcends race and religion. With only a radical tele-atheist to help her, Penny decides to shut down Joe's activities, placing her own life in grave danger in the process.

CAUTION: 'Joe is Online' contains very strong language and adult themes which some people might find disturbing. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts
This was a hard book for me to get into, as there were so many characters to keep track of. Seem to be having a problem with multi-character novels lately. I liked that it was told through emails, online chats, and web diaries, which made sense since Joe's powerbase was online. Too many characters for my taste though, and I admit that I got lost a few times and mixed them up.

Didn't really get to know Joe or understand why he did what he did. I guessed, but who knows if I guessed correctly? I wanted to sympathize with him as his upbringing wasn't the best, but other people have survived worse and gone on to lead productive lives. Joe is full of anger and seems to find nothing wrong with unleashing online attacks that eventually spill out into the "real" world. Don't think Joe is in the running for any Good Neighbor Awards!  *L*

Certain parts of the story were a little on the slow side for me and I found myself skimming some chapters, such as the emails from Joe to his followers and Penny's lecture notes. I'm easily bored and not a big fan of conspiracy theories or mysteries. But other chapters kept the story interesting enough that I wanted to find out what happened next! And I really liked how the author mixed things up and presented the chapters in different formats. So you'd have an email followed by a web diary entry followed by an online chat followed by a website post. Thought this was original, and a cool way to advance the story!

Think that this one would appeal to mystery fans or conspiracy theorists, as the author makes a pretty good case for online attacks. During certain parts of the story, I found myself wondering how no one has already done some of these things. Scary stuff! Don't think this one was really for me, but others would enjoy the story. You can check out the reviews on Goodreads here for another viewpoint.


  1. Aw, hucks. Iwas intrigued until I kept reading your review...some of the problems you listed would be rather irksome. Would seriously have to think about it. Sounds like it has potential unrealized. thanks for sharing!

  2. Eeps! let's hope no one gets any ideas from reading this!

  3. There seems to be a rise in novels structured as purely emails and I think I've read many of the same comments from others who have reviewed such books. It's an interesting concept.

  4. I like the concept, but all the characters kind of daunts me. I love one person narration, and occasionally 2 but the more characters, I find it's easier to get distracted and jarred out of the novel. The book sounds interesting though!

  5. Andra - I think that getting distracted by too many characters might have been my problem. Will stick to 1-2 characters for the next couple of books and see if that helps!

  6. I'm not a fan of anything told through email or other electornic medai. As a concept, it's a little annyoing, especially since I've never seen it done well.

    If I want a similiar narrative, I'll read Dracula (one of my favorite books told through journals/diaries/notes)

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  8. Just from your review I can tell this read isn't for me. I can't keep up when there are too many characters and points of view.Thanks for the review.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  9. this certainly isnt the kind of book i would read - and your review just made my decision not to read it