Thursday, February 10, 2011

REVIEW: "The Discovery of Socket Greeny" by Tony Bertauski

Socket Greeny is just your typical teen. Sure, he's got his problems- his dad died years ago and his mom is largely absent from his life, flitting in and out as her work permits- but he has a few close friends that keep him going. He attends school, hangs out, and plugs in to the virtual world whenever possible. In short, just an average guy. Or so he thought. During one particularly exciting virtual adventure, something happens that changes Socket's life forever. Now he's forced to confront the fact that he's not your typical teen at all, and the key to saving the world from virtual evil may actually lie within Socket himself.

Written by Tony Bertauski for a young adult readership, "The Discovery of Socket Greeny" is an engaging foray into a world of technology and possibilities. There are quite a few fascinating concepts thrown into this story, with intriguing results. The setting is a world not unlike our current world, but with a higher level of technology, particularly in the area of virtual reality. What if people could duplicate themselves in the virtual world, and somehow then leave that world and take up residence amongst humans? What if the line between the virtual world and the real world wasn't as solid as we thought? What if there came a time when people couldn't even tell if you were virtual or real? What if you weren't even sure yourself?

Socket is your typical teenager in terms of behavior and motivations. He just wants to hang out with his girlfriend and his best friend, and he's full of the normal teenage attitude you'd expect from a sixteen-year-old. You get a good feel for the main characters in the story, and it's easy to imagine them. Some of the secondary characters are not quite as well developed, and the more mechanical characters can be a bit confusing. There are a lot of characters to follow in this story, and most are important to the storyline. It also takes a bit to get a good grip on the types of things possible in this world and the vocabulary that goes along with it.

Throughout the book, there are starts and stops in terms of Socket's progression through the discovery of his powers and the use of those powers. Sometimes, particularly during the climax of the book, those starts and stops seemed too much. Every time I felt as if the action was over for a bit and we were in a lull, it wasn't- we were still in the thick of things. For me it had the effect of breaking up the action and making that climax much less powerful. Additionally, it made for some confusion in the plot events. It felt like things were repeating themselves, and I got a little lost in the action. 

Overall, this is sure to be an engaging tale for teenage readers, as well as science fiction/fantasy readers of all ages.

3.5 /5 stars

Available at Smashwords, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble

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