Since Freedom™ is a sequel, it’s hard to talk about it without first talking about the first book: Daemon. Daemon is the kind of book that hits right in my wheelhouse. It’s full of action and violence, but it’s also smart, very well thought out, semi-feasible sci-fi. Daemon is a fantastic book, and one I recommend to any nerds looking for a fun read. When I think of my favorite science fiction in terms of the technology it introduces, Daemon ranks among other favorites like Altered Carbon, Snow Crash, and Neuromancer (which I just recently read and reviewed). In fact, Daemon is at least part of the inspiration for this short story I wrote not long after I finished reading it. If you haven’t read Daemon, read it at your first opportunity. If you have, read Freedom™
It’s hard to review a book that I liked so much, because I have to restrain myself from geeking out over every little thing that was SO AWESOME in the book. Since I recommend this book so strongly, I also don’t want to spoil anything for potential readers. There were a couple of things that did stick out to me as I read it though, that are worth noting. Things that, ultimately, prevented me from giving Freedom™ a 5 star rating.
First, maybe it was because it’s been 4 years since I read Daemon, but I didn’t remember any of the characters from the first book. Since the sequel has most of the same major players, I felt in the dark for quite a while until my memory was jogged. This was fairly confusing to me as I read Freedom™, because the parts of that book I do remember, I remember quite vividly. Apparently all I really latched onto in that book was the tech and the action sequences. That said, I remember them vividly after 4 years, so they are really cool tech and action sequences. Now that I’m reflecting on the experience of reading Freedom™, I’m realizing that I don’t really care about the main characters, and I never really did. But, again, the characters aren’t really why you read these books.
My only other real complaint about Freedom™ is the MacGuffin. The plot of Freedom™ is driven primarily by politics. The problem is that the politics aren’t particularly interesting. Imagine having a conversation with your super annoying anti-corporation, pro-“green”, “radical” neo-hippie friend(s). Their politics are the politics of Freedom™. It fits the plot, but it was naggy and annoying; even a bit self-righteous. On top of all that, this is a science-fiction book, and these are very much the politics of the author’s time. There wasn’t anything new or forward thinking about them. That wouldn’t be so bad if the technology in the book weren’t so well thought out. Kind of like watching an old presidential debate on an HD TV. It just doesn’t make sense.