High-Stakes? Not Really: Twinmaker, Sean Williams

Twinmaker (Twinmaker, #1)

Twinmaker (Twinmaker #1)

Sean Williams

High-stakes action combines with issues of friendship and body image in this timely and thought-provoking exploration of the intersection of technology and identity.

You can be Improved….

In a near-future world in which technology can transport you anywhere instantly, can a coded note enable you to change your body—to become taller, stronger, more beautiful? Clair is pretty sure the offer is too good to be true. But her best friend, Libby, is determined to give it a try, longing for a new, improved version of herself.

What starts as Libby’s dream turns into Clair’s nightmare when Libby falls foul of a deadly trap. With the help of Jesse, the school freak, and a mysterious—but powerful—stranger called Q, Clair’s attempt to protect Libby leads her to an unimagined world of conspiracies and cover-ups. Soon her own life is at risk, and Clair is chased across the world in a desperate race against time.

Action and danger fuel Sean Williams’ tale of technology, identity, and the lengths to which one girl will go to save her best friend.

Twinmaker is the kind of book you really, really want to love, what with its original and intriguing science-fiction premise. It delivered an interesting enough story, for sure, but its downfall lay with the world building, and that’s what brought the book down for me.

Summary: Set very much in the future where everyone is connected to the network and where objects called “fabbers” can create nearly anything you program it to, nothing much is left to be desired. Nothing, except one of man’s fatal flaw: the desire for perfection. It starts out as spam messages sent to random people: “You can be Improved.” Don’t like your face? Change it. But what happens is something no one could have ever imagined. And if Clair wants to save her best friend, and the world, she’ll have to find out just how far she’s willing to go.

You know me — I’m a sucker for good-sounding science fiction. And this one sounded way more original than any other science-fiction book I can remember reading about. But 350+ pages were just too long for this little guy to handle. That is why it lost its “high-stakes thriller” category before I was even halfway through the book. I’m not saying that it was a total bore, because it wasn’tIt had its ups, but good lord, did the story drag on. Fortunately, I was patient enough  (a total surprise) to slug through those muddy bits, because I have to admit, it does get a lot more interesting toward the end, once you actually realize the scale of the conflict.

That was the other problem: I wasn’t fully connected to the world in TwinmakerAs a person who looks for somewhat logical explanations in books — especially sci-fi ones — I found it hard to immerse myself in the book because some of the things were a bit hard to believe. But Meg, this is fiction! What do you expect? An effin’ history book on how they invented everything?! I know, I know. Maybe I’m just being picky. But really, are fabbers and people-changing codes (no idea what kind of code this is, mind you) that believable? And even if they were, I would like at least something of an explanation as to how they came about. And I want to know what this supercode is, too. So I can dominate the world! To make the world a better place. So without being able to relate to the world here, I wasn’t able to understand how serious Clair’s situation was. Which definitely toned the excitement down by five notches.

As for the characters, I have to say that they left no lasting impression on me. Clair and Jesse were your a-typical YA characters: selfless (somewhat), brave, and the “unlikeliest” pair of people to fall for each other. (Though let’s be honest, we can see those kind of relationships coming from a mile away.) But what bugged me was how emotionless the whole thing was. True, the book is written in a third-person POV, but that’s no excuse. I couldn’t sense a single shred of emotion. The only character I can say I liked a little was Q, who was a pleasant surprise. Still, things start to get tough when you really give no shits for the characters and what happens to them, you know?

So why three stars and not one? or two? Here’s where I admit that a huge chunk of this three-star rating is because the premise was original, and I really kinda liked the ending. The ending was pretty badass, but unfortunately, wasn’t nearly enough to save the book from disaster. Goodreads still hasn’t come out with how many pages the sequel will be, but regardless, I doubt I’ll be giving even that a go now. I’ve been duped once, I won’t be duped again.

Who is this book for?

Maybe fans of Sean Williams? He writes adult science fiction, so anyone who has read and liked that might like this. Otherwise, I really don’t know. A better idea would be to check out the reviews on Goodreads, and then judge for yourself!

3 stars

352 pages, e-galley from Edelweiss (thank you!)
Published November 5, 2013 by Balzer + Bray
Purchase: The Book Depository + Amazon


2 thoughts on “High-Stakes? Not Really: Twinmaker, Sean Williams

  1. I was first intrigued to read your review because of the interesting name of the book and the author. I think there is an actor whose name is Sean Williams who starred in American pie though I know the author and actor are not the same people. I like the premise of the book as I like sci fi and it kinda reminds me of the Uglies Trilogy where they strove for perfection. If I ever see the book in the library I might give it a go. I agree that not believing in the logic of the universe in a book can take away from some of the fun. I didn’t like Divergent because I couldn’t believe a society could exist like that.

  2. Oh I’m the exact same. The world needs to make complete sense in its own story. When it doesn’t it drives me bonkers and often a sign of lacking in word building. You can have unrealistic things like dragons and shit but it needs to fit inside the world the author built and make sense within it. Am I making sense? haah. Anyways, this one has not been getting the best reviews overall so I’m not really sure it would be for me based on a few key things mentioned like lacking world building and no compelling characters.

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