Freedom by Daniel Suarez. . .an experience not unlike many other sequels or second novels.

If you have read Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and you liked it (it has a certain literary quality that bores many to tears), then do no pick up The Angel’s Game. It starts with the same literary and lyrical quality, but half way through, changes to a thriller, which is fine, I guess, If you expected a thriller.  I didn’t—not that I object to thrillers per-se, but when I am thinking one thing and it is another, well, I was disappointed. It is up in the air if I read his new book.

 

Now to Daniel Suarez and Freedom

 

I first read him in a book titled Daemon, about how an Artificial Intelligence becomes for all intents and purposes, well: alive. This book came out in December 2009 and I read it almost non-stop.  It is that good.  (For the record, I have read nonstop only two books: The Exorcist, which I did twice on sequential days and Michael Crichton’s Disclosure , which was devoured one night while I was out of town on an assignment.  The Exorcist, I will go at again pretty soon.  It is that good.) And at the end of Daemon, it is obvious a sequel is not only warranted, but necessary.

Anyway, Daemon was so good I told everyone about it and lent it to my son-in-law, who I thought would enjoy it. So, a few weeks ago, I asked him where it was and he gave it back to me, unread. I went to Amazon and found the sequel and ordered it and, while finishing Anna Karenina and White Palace, it nagged me to pick it up. It nagged so much, it jumped several other books in the queue.  So byt the time I did pick it up a week or so ago, my hopes were very high.

Now, the front of the book jacket is folded into page 155, where it will probably stay until I take it to the local used book store for credit.

But, for the other side of the story, here is one glowing review from Amazon:

 

Picking up a few months after the end of Daemon (2009), Suarez continues his popular technothriller and SF saga. The computer program Daemon has taken over the Internet, and millions have joined its virtual world. Now the effect is spilling into the real world as Daemon assumes control of financial institutions, and the program’s real-life converts flock to small towns to re-create a sustainable lifestyle amid the agribusiness monoculture of the Midwest. Despite a slow start, Freedom picks up speed by the second half with Daemon’s supporters and detractors facing off for the control of civilization. Only readers who have also read Daemon will be fully able to enjoy and understand Freedom, as most of the characters and plot elements are drawn directly from the previous story, and only so much backstory is possible, given the elaborate premise. On the other hand, Daemon fans will be well be pleased with the exciting conclusion, as will anyone who enjoys lots of gaming elements and virtual worlds in their science fiction. –Jessica Moy

 

Maybe the deal is I just don’t like thrillers all that much anymore, but the story to me lost the coherence and vitality of the first book, which I still recommend.

 

This happens a lot to me, whether it is the second album or second book: the sophomore effort and effect, I guess. But it did move me on to the next on the list: a collection of short stories by Charles Yu, who wrote the fantastic How to Live Safely in  A science Fictional Universe named Sorry Please Thank You: Stories. The first story in it makes me want to quit writing.  It is that good. His use of language is incredible so far.  But, then it took me 155 pages to give up on Suarez’ second, so maybe I will fade on Yu, but I don’t think so.

This has been more about me that any review, but take it as a recommendation to read any of the books mentioned except Freedom

Here’s the sad thing: based on my opinion of daemon, I bought Suarez’ third book, which I am now afraid to start and not sure I should part with without at least a try.

 

 

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