Published March 22nd 2013 by Non Sequitur Press
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You can learn a lot about someone looking through their hard drive...About the Author
Sixteen-year-old Jan Rose knows that nothing is ever truly deleted. At least, not from the hard drives she scours to create the online identities she calls the Shadownet.
Hobby? Art form? Sad, pathetic plea to garner friendship, even virtually? Sure, Jan is guilty on all counts. Maybe she’s even addicted to it. It’s an exploration. Everyone has something to hide. The Shadownet’s hard drives are Jan’s secrets. They're stolen from her family’s computer recycling business Assured Destruction. If the police found out, Jan’s family would lose its livelihood.
When the real people behind Shadownet’s hard drives endure vicious cyber attacks, Jan realizes she is responsible. She doesn’t know who is targeting these people or why but as her life collapses Jan must use all her tech savvy to bring the perpetrators to justice before she becomes the next victim.
"Stewart seamlessly incorporates the fast-paced world of social media into a unique writing style that perfectly captures the world of a modern teen. Janus’ complicated web of computer networks is intricate enough to leave readers thoroughly engrossed by her hacking acumen while remaining accessible to even the least tech-savvy readers. Many teenage girl readers will find unconventional, strong Janus to be an intriguing role model, but as a clever, talented and often slightly dark hacker, she transcends gender stereotypes and will find fans among teen boy readers as well.
A fun, fast-paced thriller guaranteed to distract teens from Facebook for at least a little while." --Kirkus Reviews
After crewing ships in the Antarctic and the Baltic Sea and some fun in venture capital, Michael anchored himself (happily) to a marriage and a boatload of kids. Now he injects his adventurous spirit into his writing with brief respites for research into the jungles of Sumatra and Guatemala, the ruins of Egypt and Tik’al, paddling the Zambezi and diving whatever cave or ocean reef will have him. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers and SF Canada, and the author of the Assured Destruction series, 24 Bones, The Sand Dragon, Hurakan, Ruination and several award winning graphic novels for young adults.
I love the idea of cyber lit. Futuristic cyber literature is even better. When I first read the synopsis of Assured Destruction I knew it would be a novel of interest to me. Surprisingly enough it’s more contemporary then in an Earth light years away. The social networks mentioned weren’t alien. Facebook, Twitter, and blog are popular now.
Jan isn’t your typical YA protagonist. She isn’t syrupy good and also isn’t despicably evil. Yeah she’s a hacker without ethics of proper computer recycling, but she isn’t a bad hatter either. While her antics are border lining psychologically disturbing, they’re also understandable. Her personality was androgynous enough that had there been no love interest I would have been hard pressed to label this girly or a guy-guy’s kind of book. As it stands I think any teen would be able to relate to Jan. The love triangle was a nice touch. It wasn’t your typical YA trio where two guys are pining for the same gal all of a sudden overnight. Nope there was always one faithful stalker in Jan’s life. :D
I appreciated Jan’s mother in this novel. The fact that she was an ever present factor was assuring. The discipline was also a factor that seems to be lacking in most YA novels, but in Assured Destruction, I appreciated the effort. While Jan’s mother wasn’t a push over or absent much, she wasn’t in a position to truly enforce and manage obedience.
The mystery of Assured Destruction is addictive. When you steal the identities of multiple clients, who wouldn’t want to come after you? I thoroughly enjoyed how the villain could have literally been anyone!
While I would have loved to call this novel my muse, I have a few gripes. There was much tech talk that wasn’t confusing but was overbearingly abundant at times. I also questioned Jan’s “money issue”. I mean she freaking had an I-phone and a computer network set up that would put a young NASA hopeful to shame. Had the Michael F. Stewart elaborated on her tinkering skills, I may not have doubted. I can imagine an uber-smart computer nerd piecing together wires to create a motherboard. But when you’re talking about having the latest Apple priced at over 500 bucks and complaining about being “poor” I say “nay”. The standards of poverty is a tad far fetched in this novel.
Overall Assured Destruction was an addictive and quick read. Aside from the few hiccups, I was throughly engrossed. Assured Destruction is a trendy cryptic marvel! Note to the author: Freeze and vogue for the camera! I look forward to more future Michael F. Stewart novels.
*An ARC was provided from the publisher for an honest review!