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We Are Watching: Mindshare Book 1 (Volume 1)…

We Are Watching: Mindshare Book 1 (Volume 1)

by Mr M Stephen Stewart

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17 year old Henry Malone lives in a futuristic, walled off Houston (called the Gulf Market) where full motion advertisements clutter the skies and the sides of buildings. These advertisements feature the image of the people viewing them because everyone has a neural implant called the NEX that connects them, at all times, to a vast network and database of knowledge. This database is controlled by a corporation called Planetary Link which, through the NEX devices has access to an individual's memories and experiences. In this world, accessing unauthorized knowledge is a punishable offense and traveling to other "markets" is not allowed. Henry is a computer tech trainee who is secretly reading textbooks about piloting. He is also a bit of a notable figure as he is the son of a famous astronaut who died mysteriously during a mission. Henry's lie is altered when he is called upon to service the NEX of a girl found unconcious. As he scours her brain looking for the source of the problem, he stumbles upon many images/memories of his father. Now he is determined to find out why she knows so much about his dad.

I thought the premise of a neural implant that allows immediate access to a network of knowledge was a clever idea. The populace of the Gulf Market is depicted as being so caught up in the NEX that they walk the streets bumping into each other and not paying each other any attention because they are so wrapped up in the NEX. They are described as constantly updating their profiles or sharing pictures or stories as a means of getting "shares" (money). It is easy to see the parallel with the infatuation with our current social media.

There is a larger message meant to be delivered by the book about standing idly by while being denied access to knowledge but the book falls a little short here. Planetary Link is clearly the bad guy but we get such a small glimpse of them. Outside of their security team and the drones that survey all that is going on, we don't get to see much the big bad wolf.

The story itself didn't hold much suspense for me, either. The main character Henry, who is a sarcastic kid who is still having a hard time dealing with his dad death, was a well-developed character, as was his friend Mark Watson. The main female character, Riya, was a hard-nosed girl who showed a lot of vulnerability. As the first book of a series, it ended in a bit of cliffhanger, but the ending didn't leave me in suspense either as the next step in Henry's adventure seems to lead to another character who was only briefly mentioned throughout the book.

I would liked to have seen this futuristic world fleshed out a little more for the reader, as well as a deeper look inside of Planetary Link. It would have made for a more enjoyable read. ( )
  BlackAsh13 | Jan 30, 2016 |
Henry, the son of a famous astronaut who went missing, is a trainee technician. When he repairs the neural link of a woman, he finds himself pulled into a mystery. Although I thought this was an interesting concept, I grew a bit bored. The characters were a bit stereotypical. Henry, the rage-filled teenager, was very unlikable. To top it all off, everything seemed too easy for the characters. They would get themselves into jams, but easily extract themselves. Overall, a bust. ( )
  JanaRose1 | Mar 10, 2015 |
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