Daemon - Daniel Suarez 3.5 stars. A unique fictional take on the world of MMORPGs and video game AI. I liked this because in some ways it was very "Michael Crichton-y" in its combination of action and thriller with science and technology, though I suspect that folks with extensive knowledge of programming and computer network systems will find some of the explanations and details in Daemon overly simplistic or flat out nonsensical.

The book doesn't really paint a very positive or flattering picture of gamers either, but I thought it was a fun read nonetheless, especially the first part of the book. Admittedly, the second half loses its steam somewhat, but then the novel had to go and end in an infuriating yet nail-bitingly intriguing cliffhanger, and so of course now I *have* to read the sequel.

In some ways, this book reminds me of Ready Player One, but it is much darker and more violent. Both novels involve filthy rich, reclusive, and renowned game developers who leave behind a legacy for their fans after their deaths. In RPO, James Halliday challenges the denizens of the OASIS to find the ultimate Easter egg by hiding a series of hidden clues and puzzles in the vastness of his virtual world. Fun! On the other hand, Matthew Sobol in Daemon is a psychopath who uses technology to kill people, relying on the news of his premature demise from a long battle with brain cancer to trigger a virus thst infects the internet, as well as using his games to recruit a secret army to cause chaos and anarchy to the world's economy and society. Diabolical!