Thursday, July 7, 2011
Book Review: Joe Is Online
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)
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.