Monday, 30 September 2013

Book: Assured Destruction by Michael F Stewart

Janus is a computer whiz, she works in her mother's shop, Assured Destruction, which deals with the destruction and recycling of computer parts, well when she isn't at school that is. But every now and then, Janus doesn't destroy the hard drives but uses them to add to Shadownet, a group of online alter egos that are based on real people. But soon the people whose hard drives Janus doesn't destroy are being targeted by someone who seems to have it out for Janus, and she is determined to discover who is messing with her and why.

Link to Goodreads
Link to amazon

I picked up Assured Destruction partly because I am taking part (or by the time this review is posted, I have taken part), in a blog tour for the sequel, Script Kiddie (posted on 2nd September). And am I glad I did! Though Assured Destruction is nothing like the books I normally read, I enjoyed it a lot!

The narrator is a 16 year old girl called Janus, though I had a hard time remembering that she was only 16! She is smart, funny, likable, and from the various male reactions to her, she certainly isn't unattractive. Her narrative made me laugh at loud at several points because of her outlook and comments. One of the lines that had such an effect on me was the following:
I have the attention span of a gnat with ADHD after six cups of coffee. Forget for the moment that a gnat wouldn't drink coffee.
I think it makes me laugh because I know several people who would actually come out with stuff like that, and in fact probably have!

It seemed strange at first to have such a technically savi heroine. Janus know what she's doing in regards to computers, proving that Stewart also knows his stuff. But despite the technical nature of the story, there were still other layers to Janus, she is a typical teenage girl with typical teenage girl problems after all.

There was kind of a love triangle in Assured Destruction, the two love interests were Karl and Jonny. There were two completely different characters, Karl is popular and into Janus' bad side, whereas Jonny was more of a loner, more artistic and into Janus despite her bad side. Even if I do find love triangles annoying and frustrating at some points (generally the point where the middle person is being pathetic), I still always pick one guy over the other, and right from the off I had picked Jonny over Karl, my gut just tells me he's better for her.

Unlike most novels, this book deals with social media, particularly twitter, in a central way. Normally if social media is mentioned at all, it is just in passing and certainly doesn't take centre stage. Whilst reading Assured Destruction I came across a quote which I believe sums up one of the main reasons why people use social media, even if they won't admit to it. Though the quote only references Twitter I do think that it can be applied to any and all social medias:
Having all these virtual twitter accounts may seem weird, but its freeing. I can be who I want to be. On the internet, I'm not some drudge of a retail clerk.
I enjoyed Janus' story and am looking forward to reading the sequel even if its review is posted first!