Talk about one heck of a book.
When first picked up Sean Williams’ Twinmaker I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. I like Sean Williams. I grew up reading his contributions to the New Jedi Order series and I checked out a few of his other books after. So I figured I would get a good story even if I as a bit iffy about the title.
Seriously, Twinmaker? I guess it sort of applies but still…
I was not disappointed in the least.
Twinmaker is an evenly paced thrill ride that gave me probably one of the best reading experiences I had all throughout 2013. Few books got my blood pumping as well as this one and, honestly, I’m not sure exactly how to explain to you all just how awesome this book was. That is why it has taken me so long to write this review. I finished it ages ago but I’m just not sure how to pull my thoughts together here. I don’t want to give too much away because it’s important to sort of lose yourself in the world of Twinmaker.
I guess that’s a good place to start: the worldbuilding. Twinmaker envisions a future that may not be entirely unrealistic. In the future the entire world – including even remote outposts – are connected through the d-mat which is a system of transports sort of like you might see in Star Trek that instantly beam a person from one location to another. You can live in California and go to school in Hong Kong. If you fancy a trip to Hawaii you can get there without worrying about the cost of airfare or even packing. Clothes and re-materialized daily. The cool kids belong to a secret society that travels the d-mat blindly looking for abandoned locations to party in before moving on to the next one the following weekend. Meanwhile, those who refuse to trust technology or buy into the conspiracy theories around the d-mat system are considered freaks and forced to live on the fringes of society.
Clair is so not one of those people. Her and her friend are always wearing the latest fashions, using the d-mat to visit each other across the country and around the world, and are desperate to join the party group of d-mat jumpers. They lead perfectly happy lives but Clair’s friend Libby thinks things could be better. There’s a mysterious ‘chain mail’ message going around telling people that they can change their little physical imperfections through the d-mat. All they have to do is follow the rules and their noses will shrink, blemishes will disappear. Clair always thought it was a myth until Libby tries it and suddenly Clair finds herself wrapped up in a deadly conspiracy with only the enigmatic ‘Q’ and techno-protestor Jesse to help her. Things start to deteriorate quickly and Clair and her friends are forced to try and survive while also trying to save Libby – and possibly the world.i
That brief summary does not do this book justice but it’s the best I can do without spoiling too much. I don’t even really want to explain the whole ‘twinmaker’ connection because, c’mon. You need to experience these ‘OMG’ moments for yourself.
Basically, you just need to get this book and read it.
Mind you, it’s better a better for people who are okay with dystopian fiction and science fiction. I know there are people out there who aren’t big fans of those genres and while you don’t necessarily have to be a science fiction fan to appreciate it… I think it would help. A lot of people keep trying to say “you don’t have to be a sci-fi fan to read it!” but, you know, all of those people are at the very least YA dystopia fans and I don’t want to mislead anyone here. It’s not heavy on the technical descriptions or anything but there are also going to be some boring parts for people who just don’t care.
But if you’re good with those genres then pick it up.
Just… don’t expect to feel too connected to the characters.
Besides the mystery of Q’s identity and I suppose maybe Jesse’s alternative lifestyle to an extent I didn’t really find much about them that interesting. Clair was a pretty plain, relateable person, I guess. She was one of those cookie-cutter female protagonists that tries to seem too much like the ‘normal’ teenage girl so readers can sort of self identify with her. The problem with that is that sometimes the plot and world become more interesting than the character. And, honestly? I would have left Libby to her own fate because she deserved it. Trying to help Libby ruined lives and got people killed and from what I saw she wasn’t worth it at all. She sort of suffered from the same sort of blah-personality that Clair did probably so that the girls self-projecting themselves on Clair could then project their best friends in place of Libby.
My only other criticism? I think this would have worked fine as a standalone book. I think our readers know by now that while I don’t mind series and trilogies I miss standalone YA books. This would have been fine without a sequel but since Amazon and GoodReads are listing this as the first in a series I guess it just wasn’t to be. Ah, well. I guess we’ll see what the next book has to offer sometime in 2014.
Final Thoughts: —
Twinmaker was a great thrill ride to break up a sometimes dull 2013 reading list. (Trust me, I read more than I review because some books just aren’t worth it.) The whole time I was reading I was wondering what would happen next and the world building painted the picture of a futuristic, believable world with all the little conspiracies that could come with it. I would have liked to connect more with the characters but the technology and overarching plot made up for it well enough. Definitely a 2013 release worth picking up in anticipation of the next installment coming out later this year.