Saturday, December 4, 2010

Brain Jack by Brian Falkner

Brain Jack

Author: Brian Falkner

Publisher: Random House Publishing

4 out of 5 stars

Our brains are the control systems of our bodies. They store our memories, think our thoughts, receive input and send out our actions to our bodies. Without them we would not be able to survive or progress as human beings. Our brains are our all and our everything. Well, what if I told you our brains could be hi-jacked? Taken over? Even shut down completely? What would you say to that? Not much I guess, because it would be as if you didn’t even have a brain. All you would be is a lifeless shell of a person. And what if I told you that this is all possible, and in the very near future? In fact, this is all closer than you think…

After the terrorist attack on Las Vegas things have changed. Las Vegas was blown to pieces and is no longer inhabited by any living creatures. It is just a hot desolate desert with the aftermath of the destruction left to rot. Thousands were killed and radioactive dust coats the once glorious city in a thick layer wherever you turn. Security has been upped, as the government still has yet to find the terrorists behind the fatal explosion.

But not only the government has changed since then, so has technology. Now there are neuro-headsets that allow the user to perform many of the same functions that a keyboard and mouse can, but with their minds instead. These electronic revelations are the newest and most wanted gadgets, but they come with a price that seventeen-year-old Sam Wilson is about to find out.

Sam is a quiet, dorky teenage boy and a senior in high school. But he’s not an average teenager. Sam can hack computers. And he can hack them good. Sam is a skilled hacker and has been since he first put a computer together when he was a young boy. Ever since then he has been honing his skills and tricks. But maybe he has bitten off more than he can chew, for he is suddenly hacking into the world’s largest tele-communications company and visiting the White House. But along the way he discovers the possibility that these new neuro-headsets could take over one’s mind, since they are linked directly to a person’s mind. Sam’s realization sets a whirlwind of events into motion. Will Sam be able to escape the trouble he’s gotten himself into? And what if he’s right? What if these neuro-headsets change the future in an unimaginable way? Brian Falkner reveals all in this fast-paced cyber chase, Brain Jack!

From the beginning my curiosity was piqued at this strange but plausible idea of our brains being taken over just by using a computer. Something as simple as that, which the average human probably does at least once a day. Brain Jack let me glimpse an all too real future in which we are obsessed with technology, yet don’t realize the consequences it could pose. This book is an intriguing read for teens and adults as it stretches one’s imagination and perception with how far the human race might go. I do not suggest this book for kids or young teens as many of the concepts will be lost on them.

The fact that Sam was a teenager who could hack into technology secure corporations without getting caught, added to the story very much. Since many of the characters in the book were older than him, it helped to have the main character be a teen that other teens could relate to. Also, it was interesting to see the story told form a teenager’s point of view, who is a potent hacker, but never really knew what it was like to be thrust out into the world. In ways Sam was very advanced for his age, but in others, he was still just an unsure seventeen-year-old.

However, even though Sam was easy to relate to, I felt that the technological language in Brain Jack was not. I did not even try to comprehend the vast vocabulary that was used to explain what Sam might be hacking at the moment, as it was a foreign language to me. I understand that the author, Brian Falkner, did attempt to explain it, but it just wasn’t enough for those like me who have no clue what TCP/IP packets or SQL statements are. I would have liked to have been able to understand things like these as I would have been able to relate to the book more, and get to see what this technological world of codes is like.

I also felt that the story moved along too quickly in many instances. Overall, I felt like the story of Brain Jack was being rushed along, rather than letting the reader get a hold on things. But then again, this is what it felt like for Sam most of the time as he was taken from one place to another, and eventually fleeing for his life. I would have also liked to have seen more emotion between the characters as this would have made me feel more attached to the book and this future world. It would have helped me relate to the characters and the dire situation they were in.

In the end, Brain Jack is an intense adventure that tested the strengths of friendship and the need to do what’s right. This is a book that showed me a whole different side of the world and what it might become. Join Sam as he figures out a way to escape from the trouble he is in and how to save the world from its oppressed fate, in Brain Jack!

-This is T.B. with Another Book Back on the Shelf…
Until Next Time, Keep Reading!

Check out the Brain Jack website at
Brain Jack is available from Amazon here.

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