Where Version Zero excels, in my opinion, is the way Yoon is able to draw parallels between our world and the setting. In this almost parallel universe-esque setting, it’s a world of data protection, or lack of, and social media. Of instant gratification, likes, and self-assurances via social media. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
Max, a data whiz at the Facebook-like social media company Wren, has gotten a firsthand glimpse of the dark side of big tech. When he starts asking questions about what his company is doing with the data they collect, he finds himself fired…and then blackballed across all of Silicon Valley.
With time on his hands and inside knowledge about the biggest tech companies, Max and his longtime friend—and sometime crush—Akiko, decide to get even by…essentially, rebooting the internet. After all, in order to fix things, sometimes you have to break them. But when Max and Akiko join forces with a reclusive tech baron, they learn that breaking things can have unintended—and disastrous—consequences. And those consequences will ripple across the world, effecting every level of society in ways no one could have imagined.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: use of the word “powow” in my ARC copy
Version Zero is a SF thriller that examines just what it will take to shock us. Everyday users from a state of willful ignorance where we don’t ‘know’ what rights we are signing away. What starts out as an attempt to make us aware, quickly devolves into a means to break a system we may just be trapped within. My favorite element of Version Zero has to be the ways Yoon makes us question our own app usage, our own social media. It’s easy to wonder if something like this happened, what would we do?
With instances that feel inspired by real life, it made me wonder about the ways the internet can ‘forget’. To seemingly move beyond, with victims left alone and with no more ‘shine’ to their crimes. Fast paced, Version Zero maintains a thrum of action. But while there were interesting questions posed in Version Zero, events towards the ending pulled me away from the pacing of the story. To the untrained eye, everything had seemed relatively reasonable – with degrees of alteration – but towards the end some events or conclusions seemed so far fetched that it soured my mood a bit.
Additionally, some of the elements I enjoyed were never really wrapped up. I realize not everything can be wrapped up, but in general I was searching for more of an answer to some of these larger questions about technology in our everyday lives. All in all, Version Zero is certainly fast paced and entertaining, and I could see this being a fun discussion club book! There’s a lot to unpack, especially as I considered my own social media usage. If you’re looking for a book that asks interesting questions, and is mostly based in action, then Version Zero might be your thing!
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