Before Christmas I took advantage of one of the numerous Black Friday week offers a certain online bookstore has for its ebooks and purchased Code Breakers Complete Series: Books 1-4. I have never read any of Colin F. Barnes‘ work before, or even knowingly read any cyberpunk fiction (despite being a massive sci-fi fan), but I was intrigued and thought I would give it a go. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I started reading it not long after and I’m currently on the second book. I thought I would review them as I go…
As the first in the series, this is the one where we are first introduced to our main character, Gerry. He inhabits a post-apocalyptic world, in The Family run “City Earth” somewhere in the region of present day Mongolia. Like everyone else he is digitally augmented, but unlike everyone else has to go “off-grid” to save his own life after his number comes up in the”death lottery”. Which shouldn’t have happened, because he wrote the code for the lottery and should be exempt. Rescued by the quirky off-grid team of Gabe and the elfin-esque Petal he sets out to find out what happened. And gets rather more than he could ever have expected. What follows is a tale which has echoes of Logan’s Run, in a digital age, with a touch of Total Recall and Mad Max thrown in.
Despite not having a continuous run at reading this book (busy December) I fully engaged with the story. Barnes’ portrayal of all his characters are believable and leave enough intrigue to keep you wanting to know more. I cared about Gerry and Petal, despite how different I am from them. The author’s descriptions of the augmentations that the population have undergone are believable and his hints at what has caused the world that Gerry and the rest of the cast live in are too. The book is written in such a way that you could almost certainly read it as a stand alone novel, yet whets your appetite for the next in the series.
Although this isn’t my normal flavour of science fiction and I don’t find it totally amazing, I would definitely recommend it to someone who is a sci-fi fan. If I hadn’t had bought the whole series I am pretty sure that I would have downloaded Beta anyway, to find out what happened next….
With all that in mind I give Alpha an 8/10. It hasn’t got me staying up all night to finish it off but it’s a page turner none the less.
Other books in the Code Breakers Series (to be reviewed!)