Kirkus Reviews QR Code
BRAIN JACK by Brian Falkner

BRAIN JACK

By Brian Falkner

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 28th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-375-84366-2
Publisher: Random House

A cyber-thriller that reads like a video game. Sam Wilson isn't out of high school yet, but he's on his way to becoming the most wanted hacker in the world--first for crashing the international computer grid (well, he didn't mean to), then for subverting the White House security system (OK, that was on purpose). But when he escapes from federal custody, he learns that his country needs him: Terrorists prowl the Internet, and Sam's skillz may be the last defense from a neuro-virus wiping out humanity. The adrenaline-pumped action relentlessly levels up from caper novel to virtual combat to elaborate chases to military apocalypse, culminating in the traditional god-mode confrontation with the Final Boss. Plausible tech and a series of deftly detailed settings make up for pixel-thin characterizations, although thoughtful readers may be frustrated at the ethical dilemmas and sociological issues that are raised only to vanish like vaporware. But most will blast through to the epilogue, simultaneously satisfying and deeply unsettling, and eye their keyboards with more respect and a little nervousness. Geektastic. (Science fiction. 12 & up)