TGIF, book lovers! Our page turner for this weekend is the 2015 YA hacker thriller The Silence of Six by YA novelist E.C. Myers, author of Fair Coin and Quantum Coin. Now we realize there are many reviewers out there who would never review a book more than three months old (one actually said to me “Why would I want to review an old book?” like “older” books have a disease or something). We at KEMPS Pages understand that in our busy lives sometimes we miss totally awesome things. There is so much in the noisy world that on occasion things slip by us. When that happens, we like to catch up. Especially when a juicy series is involved. (I mean isn’t that why Hulu and Netflix were invented?) Here we are, catching up with The Silence of Six…
“WHAT IS THE SILENCE OF SIX, AND WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?”
These are the last words uttered by 17-year-old Max Stein’s best friend Evan just moments before he kills himself after hacking into the live-streaming Presidential debate at their high school.
Haunted by the unforgettable image of Evan’s death, Max’s entire world is upended as he suddenly finds himself the target of a corporate-government witch-hunt. Fearing for his life and fighting for his own innocence, Max goes on the run with no one to trust and too many unanswered questions.
Max must dust off his own hacking skills and maneuver through the dangerous labyrinth of underground hacktivist networks, ever-shifting alliances and virtual identities – all the while hoping to find the truth behind the “Silence of Six” before it’s too late.
The Silence of Six reads like a movie. It’s always been my belief that YA books have a little extra something in the creativity department than books generally geared toward adult readers (probably why after all these years I’m still reading and returning to read them). Myers first installment in this hacker series is sure to be added to my list of “willing to read” again books, a rare thing indeed. Myers writes in a fast paced, page turn inducing style that gives the reader’s eye a full image of the moment to moment action. And this book is filled with action. From the very beginning we are sucked into an average teenage kid’s world, and then just as quickly with Max we are sucked out and spit into a world fraught with danger and difficulty at every corner.
Max is just trying to be an ordinary average popular high schooler. He plays soccer, is dating the class journalist with the must-read blog, his father gives him plenty of free rein to live life. But his past has snuck up on him. His best friend Evan bonded over grey hat computer hacking games–can we break into a car with our computers, can we stall out a major network, can we get into a government database. These games led to a way of life for Evan but for Max the road ahead was too uncertain. He opted to stay irl (in real life). But that option closes for him when Evan finds himself over his head in a major conspiracy ready to rock the entire country, and maybe the world. His only option a desperate cry for help that only Max will understand. But Max isn’t really sure if even his loyalty to Evan is enough to make him put his grey hat back on to uncover what lies at the root of the silence of the six. But does he really have a choice? With Feds on his tail and the cards stacked against him, Max can only do one thing. Run…
Well, and he does a few other things for almost 400 pages of this oddly quick read. The tension in this book is just the right amount of taut, the humor gives just the right amount of levity, and the characters Myers creates are the friends you’ve always wanted (well at least I have). On the one hand, I would caution parents against allowing this book into the hands of children who aren’t yet ready for it. But on the other, the world is a scary place with danger and difficulty around every corner, and what Max and these ragtag hackers prove is that while no one always wins, with common sense, logic, knowledge and friends, you have a good chance at navigating them–even if you do get lost or wind up on a dead end on occasion. This isn’t a feel good book with a perfect happy ending. There is real heavy sadness and regret, and a heavy dose of WTF going on here. This is definitely the kind of book that will appeal to older children who already have a sense of the true way of things. But the ragged edge of their cynicism just might get softened a bit in this journey. There is an engaging conversation about justice, honor, and integrity here that’s a worthwhile topic of conversation after reading for a book club, parent/child, or teacher/student/classroom debate.
I’m looking forward to digging into the next installment Against All Silence (Aug. 2016) and the prequels, SOS and DoubleThink. What will you be reading this weekend?
Kate E. Stephenson is a freelance communications specialist whose business encompasses content writing, comprehensive editing and quality resume services. Lexicon is her brainchild, a blog all about Language—insight into today’s job market and hiring tips, book releases and reviews, and general folly concerning the many mysterious facets of the English language and human communication. Be sure to read more about Kate, check out a full listing of services, and enjoy her columns here on Lexicon and on Kate.Book.com!