Monday, May 12, 2014

{Blog Tour+Giveaway+Review} Assured Destruction: Michael F. Stewart

Rating: 6.5/10
Series: Assured Destruction #1
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Science Fiction, Computer Science, Young Adult, Fiction,
Publication Date: March 22, 2013
Publisher: Non Sequitur Press
Page Count: 185
Format: eBook
Source: Xpresso Book Tours

Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Nobles

Synopsis: Teenage hacker, Janus Rose, doesn’t care about the moral choices of living multiple lives online, until the real life consequences of her actions enslave her to the local PD’s High Tech Crime Unit, forcing her to become the very creature hackers hate, a spook. 

Jan owes the world nothing. Her father left without a word. #BIGSECRET Her mother has progressive Multiple Sclerosis. And Jan juggles the need to complete homework with the need to keep pizza on the table, running the family computer recycling business. Living in an industrial park with crappy Feng Shui, Jan’s pretty sure that the only one she can depend on is herself. Maybe. And yet, just because she knows how to code, people seem to think they can depend on her to save their butts and solve their crimes.

Jan does take short cuts. She skirts the shadows of what’s right and wrong. But she has to; if she’s not multitasking then she fails out of school, or the family loses the business, or someone dies ... 

It’s a brave new world. Welcome to ASSURED DESTRUCTION.

About the Author:

Website ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

After crewing ships in the Antarctic and the Baltic Sea and some fun in venture capital, Michael anchored himself (happily) to a marriage and a boatload of kids. Now he injects his adventurous spirit into his writing with brief respites for research into the jungles of Sumatra and Guatemala, the ruins of Egypt and Tik’al, paddling the Zambezi and diving whatever cave or ocean reef will have him. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers and SF Canada, and the author of the Assured Destruction series, 24 Bones, The Sand Dragon, Hurakan, Ruination and several award winning graphic novels for young adults. His most recent project, The Terminals, has been optioned for television by Sudden Storm Entertainment.

Michael lives in Ottawa, Canada with his wife and four daughters. He tries very hard to keep life an adventure both on and off the page. Please come find me on Goodreads.

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Disclaimer: I received this book from Xpresso Book Tours which does not affect my honest review in any way,

*I'm trying out a new review format where I list the Pros and Cons of the book, so bear with me*


  • What I loved most of all about Assured Destruction was the concept of a single girl (Janus Rose) taking the hard drives of people, and giving them new lives. She dedicated hours of lives to their Twitter Profiles, Facebook Accounts, and Blogs. Each person is/was supposed to be different, but in actuality, they were an outlet for Jan, and each person was a part of her -as if you had sliced the many sides of her personality in eighths, and gotten each one of her identities. There was the sarcastic and snarky Heckleena, the shy Frankie, and a number of others. 

  • I'm not saying that Jan was a lonely, depressed teenage girl by any means, but she definitely wasn't the most social, and her computers (yes, there were multiples, maybe around five or six) were her links to the outside world as well as constant companions during long hours in Assured Destruction when her mother, who has MS, couldn't operate the case register. She even named her computers, and they were a lot like her friends, or babies whichever term floats your boat. 

  • *This is a really random detail, but one I highly enjoyed in the book* Jan has to read the book The Bell Jar for an assignment (I'm too lazy to confirm if that is a real book), and write an essay. The book -according to her at least- is extremely dull in the beginning, but what helps her, and hooks her interest in, is that she uses the power of social media to write her report. I'm not saying she steals ideas and plagiarizes, what she does is a lot more clever. As Jan reads, thinks, reacts, questions, and infers during The Bell Jar, she updates all of her secret identity's social media accounts, as if they are the ones reading the book. For example, one person will tweet about a certain scene that happened, another will create a Facebook group about it, then another will create a GIF, and another will post about it on Tumblr.
  • Another aspect of this story was the technology. I'm here to tell you that I know hardly anything about computers, except for the basics that any other 21st century teenager should know. I don't know how to hack. I don't know how to create viruses. I don't know how (or have the creativity) to create apps and send them off to the Apple Store to get thousands of downloads. Jannus Rose knows how to do all of that and more. So, Michael Stewart took a risk with that because he used a lot of computer talk. Yet, he did it in a way so that simple minded people -such as myself- could understand exactly what Jan was saying and doing, but it was also complex coding and all of that computer stuff. I sound illiterate, but I truly know nothing about computers themselves.
  • That was one epic ending. I don't want to give anything away, but I will say that the it is a nail biter because Jan has to get out of a pretty tough situation. Then, there is her punishment for another thing which kind of gives away the entire first book's plot. My point is a killer ending.

  • One issue I had with Assured Destruction was the world building. I'm not saying it was bad, but I was also extremely unclear as to when the story was taking place. If I were to guess, I would say a few years in the future, around 10 at the very latest. Apple/the App Store is still in existence, Twitter, and Facebook are mentioned a lot, and so is Photoshop. Jan also has a single computer -named Gumps- that doesn't have access to the internet, so it isn't so far into the future that people don't know how to operate a computer without internet access. My point is that technology is constantly changing, and social media can become 'in' or 'out' in the span of a week
  • Romance. I'm sure there are male authors that can write a good romance, in fact I know there are, like John Green, but the majority of them are romance writing impaired, and Michael Stewart does not escape the what I consider 'normal' tendencies of a male YA writer. I don't know if it was just that I wasn't paying attention, or this was actually true for other readers, but frankly, I was confused with the romance. Stewart attempted to have this love triangle angle going between Jan and these two other guys, and one becomes her boyfriend later, but I am still confused because there wasn't too much differentiation between the two. Needless to say, Jan and What'sHisFace are not my newest OTP.
  • Characters: While Jan Rose was a very strong character that could no doubt stand up for herself in nearly any situation, the other characters in Assured Destruction were just "meh". I didn't really connect with them on a deep level, and felt like I didn't really know them as people. The teachers, villains, and even the two boyfriend contenders just sort of drifted together in my mind, and I couldn't distinguish very well between them.
Conclusion: Assured Destruction has a captivating premise, and gives a lot of insight on the technological world that readers ages 10 and up could come to love.
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