A fun, fast-paced read that is just as much about friendship as it is about futuristic technology.

Spyrius Technology: Oz Imagined

In this techno-thriller, a group of college students discovers a portal to a virtual world created by a secretive technology company—and a plot to use this world for evil.

Josh Amandil is about to start his sophomore year at Virginia Tech studying computer science. He has just moved into a new apartment with his friend Larry and Larry’s girlfriend, Sylvia. The new arrangement upsets Josh’s childhood best friend, Kyle, a genius with social anxiety issues. A strange man representing Spyrius Technology, a cutting-edge tech company, interrupts the unpacking. He offers the trio $10,000 to take a different apartment. Suspicious, Josh refuses the offer, and sure enough, while investigating the place, the group discovers a strange projectorlike device hidden in a safe. It produces what at first appears to be just a rectangular purple hologram but is actually a portal into a whole new world, built line for line out of code by Spyrius as a top-secret project. While exploring this new world, dubbed Oz, Josh and his friends discover that the head of security for the project plans to sell the technology to the highest bidder and eliminate anyone who gets in his way—including idealistic Spyrius founder Sebastian Danbridge. Josh, Kyle, and company must warn Sebastian and stop the tech from being sold to potential terrorists before it’s too late. Debut author Connor has decades of experience in IT, and it shows in his tech-savvy, jargon-smattered writing. Those without a programming background might find some of the story confusing, as it occasionally delves a little too deep into technical logistics, but Josh’s otherwise straightforward narration and some action-packed set pieces help keep even the least tech-friendly readers engaged. Josh and Kyle’s friendship and the strain it is under as the two of them start to grow up and potentially apart will ring true for many a reader; their relationship gives the story heart.

A fun, fast-paced read that is just as much about friendship as it is about futuristic technology.

Pub Date: July 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9965312-0-7

Page Count: 248

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 12

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize

  • National Book Award Finalist


Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

Did you like this book?