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Firebreak de Nicole Kornher-Stace
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Firebreak (edició 2021)

de Nicole Kornher-Stace (Autor)

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Kornher-Stace, Nicole. Firebreak. Saga Press, 2021.
Firebreak gives us a world run by two competing corporations that keep the populace in place by keeping bread scarce with artificial shortages and circuses plentiful with a pervasive holographic game. New Liberty City runs on a rationed water economy. One way for the poor to get enough water is to build an audience by filming their action in a noir urban story set in a virtual overlay of their own slum. Mal and her friend Jessa are beginning to build an audience by tracking some agents generated by the game, when they make a discovery that could threaten the corporate hegemony. The world is original, and the friendship between Mal and Jessa is fully developed, but the action is sometimes hard to hang onto. The novel is listed as a standalone, and plot issues are finally resolved, but the world is large enough to generate more stories. 3.5 stars rounded up because I think Cory Doctorow would really like its take on the corporate state. ( )
  Tom-e | Jun 13, 2021 |
I was so pumped when I was granted a copy from Netgalley. TYSM! I started it right away and burned through it.

- Spoiler free review -

It was written in a way that kept me turning pages. I had to know what was causing these people to be living in this type of dystopian world. For me, I would call it a mystery. Not a 'whodunit mystery', but a 'why is this happening mystery' that had me dying to figure it out.

There is a Virtual Reality world but it isn't the kind where you enter the avatar of an Orc or Fae and do quests. Our MC uses VR as income versus pleasure, streaming their time in the war game as they try to reach the leader board and make rare discoveries. This give them income, store credits and an audience which is a great form of communication in this dystopian world.

A few complaints, one would be that I didn't understand how they interacted with the virtual world. No keyboards, no sensors following your body movements. Seems like they lie in bed and their implants and eye lens are able to accomplish so much. I found that a bit unrealistic or maybe incomplete in details. I also didn't understand how life got so bad. We were told it was because the competing companies that owned America were warring but the citizens where our MC lives, seem to be worse off than most. Why are the citizens of Old Town suffering so much more so, than the neighboring areas? [ETA: I am remembering that early in the book they said that both of the companies had headquarters there so there was a lot more tension than in other areas] And maybe my last complaint is that the author repeated herself quite a bit. Many details were on repeat and as mentioned above other details could of been expanded on.

Our MC was refreshing. She is aromantic and asexual. Her orientation is a non-issue and not discussed but you get a good sense of it. It is awesome to have all her great traits come through without having them take backseat to the hunt for a sexual relationship in the story.

The author is definitely talented, she created a multi-layered story and I will be hunting for her past work and keeping an eye on her future work.

author blog post: ( )
  Seayla2020 | May 13, 2021 |
In FIREBREAK, by Nicole Kornher-Stace, the future is divided between to warring corporations. One of the only ways to scrape by is playing SecOps, a popular online war game where users are trying to crack the top of the ranks and then cash in on their performance and notoriety. Mallory and her best friend Jessa are mildly successful at the game and stream their online play daily. When they stumble upon one of the celebrity supersoldiers in the game, they are offered a new job to continue looking for and interacting with other celebrity supersoldiers in the game. But as quickly as that offer comes up, Mallory's world starts crashing down around her and she doesn't know who to trust and who to ask for help. Along with Jessa and her other roommates, Mallory has to not only figure out how to survive, but look for a way to make the world a better place in the process.
The dystopian future that Korner-Stace is not only plausible, but a logical place where to the world could be heading, where corporate dominance has power over government to the point that the business is the government. Mallory's universe, where she lives in a hotel room with many roommates and water is a expensive and hard to acquire commodity, quickly sets the table for what is going on in the real world. The book transitions between real-world and online world often, and Kornher-Stace does a masterful job of seamlessly travelling between the two. Without slowing down or feeling deliberate, the reader is introduced to Mallory and the other prominent characters in the beginning of the book, but the right amount of action is mixed in so it doesn't feel like the reader is just wading through the exposition before the story begins. As the book progresses, the stakes get higher and higher until the point where I felt my pulse quickening in the last couple of chapters.
Techno-thrillers are a difficult beast of genre to write in. You have to create three dimensional, likable characters, designing a world that doesn't exist and make it believable, and devise a plot that is exciting and fun to read. In FIREBREAK, Kornher-Stace has done all three and done it quite well.
Thank you to Gallery/Saga Press, Nicole Kornher-Stace, and Netgalley for a copy of this book is exchange for an honest review! ( )
  EHoward29 | Apr 19, 2021 |
Review of eGalley

Orphaned in the corporate war, Mallory lives in a hotel room with eight other similarly-orphaned young people. They all work multiple jobs, hoping to earn enough to purchase water [a dollar an ounce at the company store] and pay for the room. Mallory’s best job, the one she excels at, is streaming a popular virtual reality war game. For Nycorix [Mallory’s avatar], the highlight of the game is catching sight of SpecOps operatives, celebrity supersoldiers grown and owned by the corporation that runs the forty-five remaining states of the United States of America.

Once upon a time, Stellaxis didn’t control most of the water. Once upon a time, Greenleaf didn’t control most of the agricultural business. Along with other companies, they each grew and rebranded and grew again until only two giants remained standing: Stellaxis controlling twenty-three states; Greenleaf controlling twenty-two.

And the company controls everything about their lives.

But a chance encounter with one of the operatives reveals a stunning secret: the supersoldiers weren’t created. They were children, stolen, augmented, and tortured until they became supersoldiers to star in the virtual reality game. And when Mallory tries to expose the lies, the most powerful company in the world will bring everything it has to bear . . . against her.

Set in the near future of the twenty-second century society where the gig economy is the norm, gamers uncover a massive secret and reveal to the world the greed, conspiracy, and corporate one-upmanship practiced by Stellaxis, the corporation that controls their lives.

Mallory and her friends are reasonably well-described, as is the setting; however, the backstories for supersoldiers 06 and 22 remain undiscussed beyond the “children, stolen, augmented, and tortured” revelation. Still, there’s a great deal of action as the unfolding story takes a few surprising turns. The power of the corporation is truly frightening while the resoluteness displayed by Mallory and her friends is inspiring.

For readers who enjoy virtual reality games, there is much to appreciate in this fast-moving, action-packed tale of the near future.

I received a free copy of this eBook from Gallery Books and Gallery / Saga Press and NetGalley
#Firebreak #NetGalley ( )
1 vota jfe16 | Mar 22, 2021 |
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