My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Review: Augmented

Augmented Augmented by MJ Douglas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an entertaining cyberpunkish dystopian story with very relatable main characters. One an aging hacker with a chip on her shoulder against the authoritarian rules of future America. Another is a quasi luddite grandmother reluctantly dragged into the world of tech. There is some timeline hopping that introduces a third character and provides for some of the plot tension and relationship drama that was actually well done (speaking as somebody that normally doesn’t like drama). 

Most of the character interaction was designed to highlight the dark corners of the world … where technology has become a means to escape the oppressive reality with virtual (VR) and augmented (AR) versions … with the focus here on augmentation (I hope that is not a surprise). The focus was what really drew me in … imagine you have a chip in your head that overlays an augmented vision that whitewashing the dilapidated and decaying infrastructure around you to make everything pretty. You could hide almost anything in such a world and it is such an addiction that even the dregs of society are willing to submit to monitoring by the authorities just so that can get free (if limited) access to that world. 

Of course, not everybody is on board … and some are working to be free (enter an extreme version of the Free State Project) that are still suffering the consequences of such rebellion. While there are a few aspects of the story that strength rational belief, the author does a great job balancing between fantasy and plausibility to prove an interesting mental exercise that pulls at my techie heart and keeps me into the story.

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#Augmented #NetGalley #KindleUnlimited

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.