Freedom™ - Daniel Suarez I'd thought the first book was dark, but wow, Freedom (TM) takes it even further. Anyway, high marks on the story, but downgraded to 3 stars because I can't say it was the satisfactory conclusion I expected. I mentioned in the review of Daemon that in the second half of the book everything seemed to wind down, and I had hoped Freedom (TM) would rekindle it again.

It didn't play out that way, unfortunately. Mainly, it was because I felt many of the characters we met in the first book were relegated to the background in Freedom (TM). for example, characters like Ross disappear for long stretches at a time while new ones I didn't really care for were introduced. Natalie Philips, pretty much the only female character in these books, also felt completely useless and wasted. Even the presence of Matthew Sobol appears to have diminished, and it was the all powerfulness of his Daemon in the first book that made it such a thrilling read in the first place.

What this sacrifice bought, however, was a more in depth look at the Darknet and in the lives of people living in these semi-cyber reality societies that we only got a glimpse of in the first book. The concept is kinda cool, actually -- sort of like living in an online game come to life.

Speaking of which, the science and technology has also been dialed up big time. Despite the sci-fi nature of these two books, I find it very interesting how half of the reviews I've read talk about the plausibility of such a scenario, while the other half find it too farfetched and unrealistic. Admittedly, I fall into the latter group, but then again I'm no software designer or network systems expert. I suppose it all comes down to the reader, and his or her interests and knowledge in the novel's topics.

If there's one big gripe I have about this book, it's that at times it could get very "preachy". I find this often happens with books involving groups of people trying to reconstruct civilization and build their own utopian societies. The author invests so much into describing the mission and trying to convince the reader, when really, I'm more interested in these ideas being shown rather than pounded in my face. In my opinion the time could also have been better spent, say, maybe developing the characters involving them more in the plot?

In any case, these two books constituted a very unique techno thriller, well worth the read.