Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Book (M. Clifford)

Overall: 4.8
  • Plot: 5/5
  • Originality: 5/5
  • Language: 4.5/5
  • Believability: 4.5/5
The Book by M. Clifford

It begins, “Don’t read The Book.” All information, past and present, is controlled by The Book, a handheld digital reading device that exists in a paperless, sustainable, dystopian future that looks shockingly similar to our own. Among the multitude of Book lovers, we find Holden Clifford, a simple sprinkler fitter who is content with his small life. Through his favorite story, The Catcher in the Rye, Holden discovers an inconsistency between the digital version and a rare paper page, preserved in the form of “recycled” wallpaper in the bathroom of his favorite Chicago bar, The Library. His quest for answers leads him quickly beyond the page to discover a secret library of books and a man named Winston who explains the subtle, potent censorship of every story ever written.

Equipped with excerpts from unedited novels, alongside a group of like-minded readers called the Ex Libris, Holden dedicates himself to freeing the world from the grip of the Publishing House. His heroic mission draws him hastily into a dangerous scheme to overthrow the Editors of The Book and save the last remnant of printed words left on the earth. As his mission unfolds and a haunting reality about the government’s capacity to outwit the minds of the public begins to reveal itself, Holden is forced to accept that the only way to succeed may be to sacrifice himself and the one thing they love more than life – books.
Genre: Science Fiction
Purchase Links:
Kindle USUK | DE
Other Links:
author website

An afternoon intended for reading about diabetes was quickly supplanted by a book that I just could not, for the life of me, leave unfinished. Here is the final breakdown:

Let me preface this by saying that there are very few books out there that deserve such a high rating, and it was sheer luck that I happened to stumble across this one in my search for a self-published author with a book under $3. Having read the electronic version, now, I'm considering paying the full price for the print.

While a bit slow in the beginning, the story quickly picks up and launches the reader into a world where government-issued ereaders have driven paperbacks into obscurity as illegal examples of a profligate society. Sounds good for conservationism, doesn't it? Wrong. The ebooks have been censored, with words - and oftentimes, characters - deleted from the manuscripts. Even the Bible was altered. This Orwellian novel is an example of conspiracy theory that is chillingly believable. The concept may sound outlandish, but it appeals to our love of the written word and the importance of the truth, while admonishing our gravitation towards electronic gadgets and willingness to disregard the intangible worth of something easily mass-produced. It was good in theory, but corrupted in its execution.

The characters were easy to invest in emotionally, and while some, such as Marion, were not as developed as they could have been, it still manages to work in a piece that is essentially plot-driven. The dialogue is believable, as is the basic sequence of events. The sole chink in the armor of credulity is that the Ex Libris movement was able to remain undetected for so long. I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop, but it never came - at least, not in the way that I had anticipated.

Now, the reason why this book receives a 4.5/5 for language is because there are a few instances where words are misused: "all together" in a case where "altogether" really is appropriate, or "vigilante" for "vigilant". (Yes, I am fully aware that this is being nitpicky.) The way in which the first chapter was written also made it hard to get into the story, but the writer seems to settle into a comfortable rhythm as you move out of the preface and into the beginning of Holden Clifford's tale. Don't let the first two pages turn you off - the rest of it is well worth reading.

Once again, the electronic formatting leaves much to be desired in the way of a built-in table of contents, chapters that start on new pages, and improper indenting of first paragraphs. As before, these hiccups have no bearing on the review above. The book was good enough for me to stop processing these minor annoyances after the first few screens.


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