Henry Malone's childhood was shattered by the unexplained suicide of his father. Now a teenager, his days are spent studying to become a Neural Implant Technician for Planetary Link Corporation, helping them maintain an iron grip over his walled country and every iota of knowledge contained within—but he leads a double life. Henry’s nights are spent helping his mother wage a cyber war against them in her quest to find the truth behind his father’s death.
He's managed to keep his two lives separate, a delicate balance that's endangered after he repairs the neural implant of a stranger. He finds she’s in possession of illegal memories from the outside world, unauthorized knowledge of his father, and a message: speak to me later and tell no one. Henry has a choice to make—ignore the message and maintain his double-life, or answer and risk everything to uncover secrets Planetary Link would kill to keep buried.
Wow! This story is not at all what I would have expected from the synopsis. It is so much more and I encourage anyone who loves alternate realities, or futuristic possibilities whether young or adult to read this book.
The main character Henry, Hank, Malone is a 17 year old know-it-all with just the right amount of angst, anger, frustration and fear to be one of my own kids. Throw in a futuristic world where everyone is hooked into the Planetary Next and the author gave me a frightening world. Plausible though, especially since my nine month old grandson tries hard to grab any and all electronics, I can see this world of Malone’s and it makes me shudder.
But in many ways, we are already in this world. Though as Henry walked through the future streets of the Gulf Market, aka Houston, advertisements directed and starring Henry would flash all around him. We might not be there yet, but well on our way with the big names like Google and Facebook marketing ads towards our search patterns. I was going to say it bothered me, but it made me think about our freedoms more so than ever before. In Henry’s world, it was illegal to consume knowledge that you were not privy to, or to move about from city to city freely. Here, at least at the moment, we are free to read, write and discuss anything in the United States. Henry did not even know that those freedoms had ever existed. I would simply be arrested for the books in my personal library.
Now where was I? Ah yes, the Gulf Market where the Planetary Corporation ruled with an iron fist and rebels demanded what PLINK had. As in all things, there are different levels of rebellion and Henry meets the leader of both, quickly coming to understand that the radical terrorists were just as bad as PLINK. Without giving away the climax of the book, let me say that Stewart has developed a highly entertaining and thought provoking series and I look forward to the next installment of the Mindshare series.
***I received a free copy of We Are Watching via Xpresso Book Tours for an honest review***
M. Stephen Stewart is a graduate of Indiana University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He makes his home in Indianapolis with his wife and two dogs. In his spare time, Matt is an avid sports fan, gamer, and reader, who loves to connect with new people. You can usually find him around town with his wife, exercising, or in front of his computer working on a new project.