“This is said to be a book that feels similar to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo but for teens, and I’d have to agree. It has a similar flow and style, and the two main characters have a slightly similar aesthetic as Lisbeth and Mikael. That being said if you have read Tattoo then don’t expect a carbon copy and the similarities are vague enough that it is certainly its own story.
I’d say the overall premise of this one is what caught my eye, it’s not everyday that I run across a book that’s heavy on the more technological aspect of the present day. So I was curious to see how well a YA novel could pull off explaining the intricacies and complexity of hacking and not make it sound like a computer manual, and I’d have to say that Gagnon pulled it off. You can tell she did some serious research and while not all of it may be true, it certainly felt that way. There is also the heavy topic of kids in social care and how easy it is for them to be pushed to the side, which Gagnon highlights by adding the seriously creepy threat of kids being abducted and used as laboratory rats. AMRF is a rather shadowy figure in the book and while their presence is mostly certainly felt the entire time, you don’t actually learn a whole lot about them. The reasoning behind their shady dealings is revealed in part but I can’t help but feel there is much more to it, and I’m hoping the second book touch on that.
Noa is one tough cookie and I liked her depth. She has a lot of emotional scarring from her past and she’s put up a sort of protective barrier around her, but at the same time throughout the book you get these wonderful glimpses of her true feelings. I liked that even though she’s capable of doing some incredibly brave things, she’s capable of feeling fear and uncertainty. Peter took a while for me to like because I kind of typed cast him as the rich kid of with too much time on his hands, but as his story unfolds you find that the kid has a real heart and all of the work his done is extraordinary for one so young (and privileged). The relationship between Peter and Noa was one that moves from being tense to one of friendship, with more slowly budding under the surface. It’s nice to see a relationship in a YA novel that doesn’t immediately spring forth, I like the added tension and the earned trust. It makes the relationship worth my time.
The way the novel tied up really left me wanting more, because there are some questions left unanswered and Gagnon really opened up the reader (and the characters) to how big this whole AMRF thing is. I’ll certainly be looking forward to continuing this series.”