Tag Archives: Brian Falkner

Brain Jack – Brian Falkner
Book Reviews
January 6, 2010 posted by Katie

Brain Jack – Brian Falkner

It would take a very special person to crack the computer systems of the White House.

An expert. A genius. A devil. All of the above, some would say.

Someone like Sam Wilson, brilliant teenage computer hacker. But Sam’s obsession is about to lead him into a dangerous world. A world of espionage and intrigue; of cybercrime and imminent war.

A world where logging on to your computer could mean the difference between life and death.

Sam Wilson is just your average teenager. At least he looks like your average teenager. What is different about Sam is his ability with computers. Sam can access nearly anything that is on the internet. He has written his own computer programs to allow this and just recently pulled off one of the biggest hacks the world has seen – with a few side effects. Sam hacked into Telecomerica, got himself and his friend a new computer and neuro-headset, but in the process, caused the majority of the United States of America to lose power. For a few days.

Of course, if you ask Sam, none of that was meant to happen but he needed to blow off his trackers somehow. And as Sam successfully gets his new computer without any obvious form of detection, Sam is ready for his next challenge – NetH@ack. The secret convention of the most skilled hackers on the net. With belief in his ability that he can’t be caught, Sam almost succeeds. That is, until the Cyber Defence Division of Homeland Security knocks on his door.

Transport to a containment facility, Sam is destined to be a prisoner for the rest of his life. Seemingly forgotten by all but his mother, it is the worst situation Sam could have ended up in. Constant security, no internet access and limited computer time on a computer so ancient and riddled in security protection, that it seems impossible to get through. Apparently. But if you know what Sam does, then it seems like biding your time is all that you have to do.

Making one of the most daring escape attempts in the history of Recton Hall, against all odds, Sam succeeds only to be picked up, again, by the Cyber Defence Division which seems like it was waiting for this exact move, somehow knowing that Sam would try to escape. Once Sam reaches CDD headquarters, everything that he thought he knew, gets turned completely on its head. Sam is given a lifetime opportunity – if he can survive the probation.

And when the next war begins, it starts in cyberspace, and Sam is part of the front line of defence, and it’s up to Sam to stop the internet taking over the world.

Brian Jack by Brian Falkner is a fast moving action thriller that kept me turning page after page, wondering what is going to happen next. When I started reading, and I found that Brian Jack was based in cyberspace, I was worried that it would become too technical, that I wouldn’t understand the language being used, but quite like his previous novel Falkner provides a way that you don’t need to be a tech-savvy person to understand and enjoy the novel. The feeling of being in over your head only enhances the understanding of the stakes the characters would be going through. The development of Sam from a teenager who believes he can do anything into a person who understands the implications of what one single action will have on the world is believable and engaging from start to finish.

A good read with a fast plot and an action thriller for all ages.

Pages: 438

Publication Date: 2009

Rating:: ★★★★☆

The Tomorrow Code – Brian Falkner
Book Reviews
November 13, 2009 posted by Katie

The Tomorrow Code – Brian Falkner

“It happened before. Burnt Mountain, Alaska. Novosibirsk, Siberia. Now it’s about to happen to a thriving city. Crack the code…or tomorrow is history…”

Auckland, New Zealand. A city with a population of 1.3 million. 25th December. Already, 50 000 people have just vanished into a mystery white fog. They were never seen again. Their town was surrounded by white fog which defied gravity and wind, with whispers of ‘snowmen’ coming from the very few survivors. No one who goes in, comes out. No electrical transmissions can find their way through the storm, and nothing New Zealand authorities do can seem to stop the fog.

Imagine that you’re the only one who knew this was about to happen. Imagine that you’re the only one who has a chance of stopping it from happening again. Imagine that you had discovered a way to receive messages from the future and no one would believe you. Imagine that the fate of the civilization of the world could rest on how quick you can crack the code. Everything is stacked against you, you’re a teenager still in school, not old enough to be considered seriously, you have a mother that is only interested in the next episode of her favorite soap opera on TV and every minute that goes past is another death that could have been prevented.

This is Tane and Rebecca’s reality. Months earlier, Tane and Rebecca discovered a way to read messages that were transmitted through time. Messages coded and hidden in gamma ray bursts that are recorded by high-tech NASA space equipment, only you invented and discovered the program to read these messages. The messages that are decoded spell out a bleak future for live on earth. Receiving instructions from their future selves, Tane and Rebecca face a race against the clock to try and get the New Zealand and International military and bio-medical forces to listen to them. Every instruction that they have followed from these coded messages has been correct. From winning the lottery as a test, to breaking into NASA’s top-secret internet files, each step brings you closer to either saving humanity, or watching it descend further into chaos and destruction. Whispers of the Chimera Project that must be stopped, cryptic instructions for a device to send information to the future and juggling sudden millionaire status are just some of the issues that Tane and Rebecca have to deal with on a daily basis.

And this is only the beginning.

The Tomorrow Code is Brian Falkner’s first young adult novel, with three children’s novels being published prior to this. The style of writing and the way in with Falkner deals with some difficult concepts is remarkable. When talking about science, quantum foam and biology, it is easy to get lost in the technical terms, yet Falkner allows the reader to sympathise with either of the two main characters. Rebecca is the brains, the science and math whiz who more often than not is the one talking and explaining the technical jargon while Tane is the creative soul and often, like me, doesn’t have a clue what Rebecca is saying, yet somehow works it out in more simple and creative terms. Rather than subtracting from the plot, this actually adds to the sense of urgency and mystery of the novel. In all, I liked this novel, it captured my interest from the beginning and it was an easy read that I didn’t have to struggle through. The characters were interesting, plot well developed and style captivating from the first page to the end.

Rating:: ★★★★☆