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Tangle’s Game by Stewart Hotston


Tangle’s Game by Stewart Hotston
Published in: 2019
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: [★★★]

This ARC was provided by Rebellion Publishing (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis from Goodreads: Tense tech-thriller based on the growing role of blockchains, encryption and social media in society.

Nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide.

Yesterday, Amanda Back’s life was flawless: the perfect social credit score, the perfect job, the perfect home.

Today, Amanda is a target, an enemy of the system holding information dangerous enough to disrupt the world’s all-consuming tech – a fugitive on the run.

But in a world where an un-hackable blockchain links everyone and everything, there is nowhere to run…

Book Worm’s Thoughts:  I have to disagree with the description “Tense tech-thriller” yes this did have lots of tech but I personally found it neither tense nor thrilling. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it because I did I enjoy it for other reasons.

I have seen a lot of reviews that say Amanda is an unsympathetic character and difficult to root for, I didn’t find that at all. Amanda may have a chip on her shoulder but given the circumstances I think it is a totally reasonable chip. The reason I wasn’t rooting for Amanda was that I never felt she was in any actual danger, for me the book was never tense instead I found a lot of the situations Amanda found herself in to be humourous. In fact I found this to be a funny, snarky story, not sure if that was intentional or not.

I did enjoy was the exploration of a futuristic world where how a citizen is viewed is entirely based on what a computer tells others about them, we are already used to digital credit scores but in this book you also get a citizen rating based on how well you behave and what groups you support. As one character points out what makes a good citizen in Britain doesn’t necessarily make a good citizen in Albania. The danger of having a computer decide what makes a good citizen lies in the fact that computers can be hacked and those with bad intentions can ruin someone’s life without ever having to meet them and without the person being able to appeal against that ruining. I can see our society heading this way as we become more and more reliant on technology in our everyday lives.

I hated the outright political commentary that the author felt obliged to add to the narrative this pulled me out of the story everytime it happened. The author was happy to criticise Brexit and Trump while at the same time stereotypically blaming Russia for plotting against the democracys he appears to be ridiculing. For a futuristic novel this felt like a throwback to the past it didn’t sit well within the narrative as a whole.

Overall I enjoyed it but will I remember it in 2 weeks time, I think not. Personally if you want to read this type of book I would recommend Gnomon by Nick Harkaway.

Who would like this? I would recommend this to those with a specific interest in blockchains and their potential role in the future.


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