Saturday, 11 May 2013

The Discovery of Socket Greeny by Tony Bertauski

Publication date: 13th July 2010
Published by: Self-Published
Genre: Sci-fi (YA)

This is one of the first reviews I wrote and I'd like to think my skills have developed since - so apologies in advance.  I just had to include it because it's such a great book.

Sci-fi has been a favourite genre of mine since childhood (mostly TV and film). Where books are concerned until recently I'd not read that much, and mostly older stuff, such as Ray Bradbury (The Martian Chronicles & Fahrenheit 451) and Frank Herbert (Dune series). More recently I read Wool by Hugh Howey, a former self-published author.  It was great to discover another sci-fi story I could really enjoy in The Discovery of Socket Greeny. [NB: I should clarify that the only similarity between the above mentioned books and this one was my enjoyment of them.]

Socket is the 16 year old son of a hard-working lone parent.  His Mum is hardly ever around and he is pretty much left to fend for himself.  He has no idea what she does for a living, and he hasn't had much success getting her to tell him, so he has stopped asking.  He spends his leisure time playing virtual reality video games with his girlfriend Chute and best friend Streeter.  Streeter's gaming tactics take Socket and Chute into a virtual world that feels real to Socket.  While in the game he starts to demonstrate supernatural abilities and he meets a specter-like creature that appears to be his father, who died 11 years previously.  Later, his mother turns up and takes him to the place where she works, The Paladin Agency ...

The protagonist, Socket is a likeable guy and so are Chute and Streeter. I liked that the teen characters were portrayed realistically but also positively. I am interested in human relationships in stories and I liked that aspect, especially between Socket and his mother. It was nice to see a parent-teen relationship that didn't make the parent out to be the villain for a change - but instead an imperfect human being who clearly loved her son.

Okay, the villain, Broak, was a bit caricature in places - like a teenage Bond villain, or even an Austen Powers villain. I kept imagining him doing the laugh ... mwhaaa hha haa.

I found the futuristic story imaginative and intriguing (as sci-fi should be).  The Discovery of Socket Greeny is currently free to download on Amazon.  I already have the next instalment and I look forward to reading about what happens to Socket next.

This book has gone straight to my hidden treasure bookshelf.

Tony Bertauski is an author to look out for.  He has quite a few sci-fi novels under his belt and I would recommend you check them out if you like this genre.  As well as this one I've read The Annihilation of Foreverland and Halfskin which, I must admit I didn't enjoy as much, but they are imaginative and well written.

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