Wednesday, September 02, 2015

FreedomTM, by Daniel Suarez

Book cover FreedomTM is the sequel, or rather the second part, of Daniel Suarez's Daemon, which I've reviewed previously. While Daemon spooked me with its realism, FreedomTM does away with all that and changes both pace, scope and plot. I guess Suarez had this in his head from the beginning of starting the book, but I didn't see it coming. Be warned, if you have not read Daemon, this review is going to have some serious spoilers.

You see, from a technological thriller, the book directly goes into socio-economic commentary and from a dumb AI engine that treats the world as a computer game, we get an Agent Smith Emperor of Dune kind of thing, which recognizes humanity as the scourge it is and assumes the role of the solution. Suspension of disbelief is almost impossible as you see "the good guys" surviving death (repeatedly), the bad guys being bad just because they can and being defeated with deus ex machina kind of solutions, and technological solutions solving every problem humanity ever had or could have. FreedomTM is the software developer's wet dream, where the algorithm that rules all other algorithms is not only possible, but implemented and bug free.

That doesn't mean that the book is bad. Far from it. I liked it a lot. However, compared with Daemon, it's like an American blockbuster movie cop out from a situation that is dramatic and full of tension: everything is going to be alright. Instead of maintaining the tension and having the reader on the edge of the seat, so to speak, everything gets explained in the first part of the book and the rest is just dedicated to epic conflict. Oh, and some completely unnecessary and quite difficult to believe romance. In fact, quite paradoxically, I will suggest you do not read FreedomTM immediately after Daemon. Instead, live with the daemon inside of your head, let it make you think about possibilities and wonder about what could be coming next, then, maybe, read the second part.