4 out of 4 stars
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What an awesome concept and story!
The opening is fascinating as, initially, the reader doesn’t know where the protagonist is or why, and there is some confusion as to how he travelled. There are descriptions of flashing lights, a stunning female, his father’s disapproval, a decision not to die, swelling at the back of his head and sunrise on a beach. This is followed by the eating of an ice-cold steak, among other unusual things. Are they memories, or did he experience them as real events? These are just some of the questions that propel readers forward to learn more.
The author then takes us back in time. Growing up in an orphanage and named by Ms. Jenkins, the head administrator, Alexander Fine is welcomed into new families then suddenly sent home, rejected three times in his short life. During his final family experience, Alex stumbles upon both a computer and his natural ability to use it. This extraordinary skill forms the basis for Superhighway: Alex seeks to use his newly discovered power for good, while secrets are revealed and his past starts intruding into his present.
On his journey he enjoys his first success, his first relationship, his first suit, car, home and, not the standard progression for many, his first island acquisition. While this may sound positive, and while Alex certaInly enjoys some lifestyle benefits, he still wishes for family and significant connection. What will his future be? All options seem possible as the book finishes with a cliff-hanger.
This is a book of action and adventure - a World Wide Web network thriller - with mysteries to be solved and unexpected events to be dealt with. It is also a part coming of age and ‘orphan makes good’ story (thus far, at least), part the-underdog-takes-on-the-establishment and, lastly, could be seen as a warning against altering the natural order. While navigating this new world, both protagonist and reader encounter many moral questions and complications. The tension and anticipation grows throughout the book, and finally climaxes with serious danger and threats to Alex’s life.
I felt empathy for Alex Fine, from his childhood and into his desire to change at least some of the world. I was also aware of his youth - his passion, almost arrogance, definite humility, and striking resilience - as he makes mistakes, both accidental and foolish, but seeks to learn from these and better himself and those in need.
Superhighway is well-written, well-conceived and well-constructed. As a result, I give it four out of four stars. The multiple levels of the story - the action, coming of age tale and deeper moral exploration - are interwoven seamlessly throughout the two hundred and fifty pages. I noted only minimal typos or grammatical errors, and absolutely none to dampen my enthusiasm for enjoying and recommending the book. It is the first in a promised trilogy and I am super keen to read part two!
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