Review: Freelancer (#1) by Jake Lingwall


Freelancer by Jake Lingwall
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This review is going to sound a bit critical (“surprise, surprise” says anyone who knows me and/or my reviews), but I don’t mean it be taken as a negative review. I like this book. It is a good read and I do recommend it for anyone with an appreciation of YA fiction or just fun reads. The critical part is for the character ‘as written’–which was very consistent– and a bit of the world concept.

Now, when I first started reading this I found myself being fairly critical of the writing style. It does not start out with polish and feels a bit choppy. It seems like it could be ‘first time author’ syndrome or maybe just YA style. There were also some fairly apparent editing issues that jumped out at me while in hyper-critical mode. Fortunately, I was able to push that aside (or got used to it – shrug) and continue with the book, which turned into a fairly decent read.

The plot begins in the not-so-distant future where single-day school weeks, auto-everythings, instant stuff-printers, and ubiquitous drones make the life of a teenager almost bearable. The setting is North Carolina during a time of political unrest that is about to erupt into full-fledged civil war between the coastal states and the Middle States of the U.S. The MC is a senior in high-school who just wants to finish the mandatory indoctrination called ‘school’ and continue with her clandestine preoccupation with designing and building new and wondrous technical marvels as a Freelance hacker savant. All this is a young person’s realm. I’m sure my teen-self would have loved this book very much and found nothing amiss. My much older cynical-self just chuckles at the naivete. It’s still a decent read because the characters are realistic (if naive and a bit Mary Sue… but that’s YA in a nutshell), and the plot/pacing continues to pull the reader forward into the tale.

The high moral stance of being neutral on a pending civil war in the U.S. was an odd choice. It’s a theme throughout, but only the incompetence of the antagonist & the graciousness of the ‘enemy’ allows it to exist and succeed. I think real world exigencies would not be so gentle. Still, I have to reiterate that the book is a good read and worth continuation of the series to find out what happens next. I plan to pick it up.

I give this one three stars and call it an entertaining read.

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