This book deserves attention just because it’s such a timely cautionary tale about the social disconnect of electronic “social” media, its impersonality, and its pitfalls. As people focus more on their screens than the world around them, society is dying, and this book has a soberingly realistic view of what might be coming.
Human interaction has shrunk to the size of a hand-held screen, where people share mirror meals (they each cook the same meal and eat it together on-line in kind of a Skype dinner party), have groups of friends who never meet in the flesh despite living in the same city, and children no longer go to physical schools but are educated entirely on line.
Tayler is still a dreamer, a reader, and unspoiled by social media, a rarity in his time. When he meets social media sensation Madeline Q, whose parties and fashion sense are followed by thousands on the net, he is swept into the decadent life of the party-beautiful, with his every move broadcast to his own following of adoring fans. But Tayler soon realizes that this is far from innocent, and that more sinister forces drive what the screen-addicted public is consuming.
The first half of the book had me riveted, but it kind of lost me in the mush of fake murder trials and a sudden spate of sexual encounters (but so very, very happy to see bisexual rep in this!).
Tayler is an engaging MC and his “Socialite” friends are cool characters, too, but the villainous “The Government” (a person, not the institution) is kind of cartoony and resorts to childish insults rather than the bone chilling impersonal violence he was set up to be capable of. If there was one disappointment in the book for me, it was him. All in all, a very entertaining book with some parallels that could be all too real.