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Official Review: See No Evil by Daniel Burnette

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Official Review: See No Evil by Daniel Burnette

Post Number:#1 by CataclysmicKnight
» 30 Apr 2017, 20:35

[Following is an official review of "See No Evil" by Daniel Burnette.]

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2 out of 4 stars
Review by CataclysmicKnight
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I was pretty psyched when I came across See No Evil by Daniel Burnette. This was especially true once I learned the people on the cover weren't dabbing, they were looking at CPUs with screens implanted into their hands! The book is potentially set in a very near-future world that transforms into a dystopia right before your eyes... if only you'd look up from your embedded tech for a few minutes.

See No Evil kicks off with a section titled "An Introduction To Someone Like You" that sets up the main character - you. Told in the incredibly rare second person, "you" are obsessed with social media. Getting likes and positive comments is what you live for and you're quick to block people who argue or disagree with you. When a revolutionary new surgical procedure comes along to embed a CPU, camera and screen in your hand you jump at the opportunity, your phone is always in your hand anyway after all!

The book then describes your life over the course of a year through the four seasons. You go on dates, hang out with friends and even get a pet but it's more about snapping pics than having a good time. What people online don't know is that you can't keep a partner, you neglect your pet when it's off camera and you couldn't care less who you hang out with so long as you can snag some good photos! The state of the government is going downhill, but that's okay because most folks think it's just paranoia so you do too. Besides, other people who know more than you can take care of things anyway. You notice but don't care when police start carrying assault rifles and riot shields, secure checkpoints are erected everywhere and CCTVs are installed in far more locations. No, it's not until the government decides that "newly discovered security threats" mean that all social media must be taken down indefinitely!

The second section of the book deals with the aftermath of the social shutdown. You aren't the only one totally crushed; no one wants to work, let alone get out of bed. Life is suddenly meaningless, and how is anyone supposed to know where to go or what to think without social media? You don't even stop photographing your food and activities in the hopes it returns soon, but what will happen as the days pass by without the return of social media?

The concept of See No Evil is fantastic. Who among us doesn't use social media on a regular basis? Who wouldn't have to adjust (even slightly) to a life without it? I personally get nearly all of my news from Twitter and have seen countless people who share and believe the most unbelievable, wild stuff without even the simplest verification. We're practically at this point today! Unfortunately, the book definitely doesn't live up to its potential - to hammer home the repetitive nature of checking social media and fishing for likes and comments the book is incredibly repetitive itself. The first several sections use the same skeleton repeatedly with different subjects, which would be effective if not for just how incredibly repetitive it is. I skipped whole paragraphs at different points throughout the book knowing how unnecessary they were but then went back and forced myself to read them since I was reviewing it. This gets even worse in the second section as a large percentage of the paragraphs, sometimes even every sentence in a paragraph, mentions that you're refreshing your device, checking to see if social media has returned or not. This 80-page book easily could've become 50-60 if the repetition was cut out, and it would've made me enjoy it much more.

The book nails the relatability of a (very near) future that's so dependent on social media that people don't even know how to exist without it, and there's an immense deal of potential here, but it just fell too flat to recommend it to most people. I can't even recommend it to sci-fi and dystopia fans, although I do think that people who are heavily reliant on social media (or those who know someone who is) will get a kick out of it. I can also recommend it to those looking for a bit of sly humor if they're okay with skipping repetitive sentences and paragraphs. My official rating of See No Evil is 2 out of 4 stars.

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Re: Official Review: See No Evil by Daniel Burnette

Post Number:#2 by Amagine
» 01 May 2017, 06:03

More than anything else, the book has my attention simply because it uses 2nd person. As you mentioned, it is extremely rare for authors to use 2nd person because most don't feel they are skilled enough to write a good book with it. Judging by your rating, I'm guessing this book was about average.

Great Review! 😁
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Re: Official Review: See No Evil by Daniel Burnette

Post Number:#3 by Sewlful
» 01 May 2017, 08:41

Thanx for the good review. The concept you gave is in fact close to what some of my friends are living. As you say it had great potential, sorry it didn't play through. With a little more work, the author may produce a better book. Good job on finishing for the review.
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Re: Official Review: See No Evil by Daniel Burnette

Post Number:#4 by greenstripedgiraffe
» 01 May 2017, 10:52

Wow! Yes, what you mentioned as the main storyline, etc., is quite gripping! Too bad that the book doesn't live up to that potential. It could even make a great movie if it were done well! Kind of scary, though, really. This sums up almost all the things that I really detest about social media and the internet :D
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Re: Official Review: See No Evil by Daniel Burnette

Post Number:#5 by Chrys Brobbey
» 01 May 2017, 14:06

We're already very dependent on social media as it is, so the future will get even worse (or better?) to an extent that we cannot even imagine now. How faceless can society get? The term 'social' media is misnomer, because it though it gets people to communicate, it removes the personal contact that makes for associating with each other. Others may differ though, but this is just my take.
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Re: Official Review: See No Evil by Daniel Burnette

Post Number:#6 by ButterscotchCherrie
» 02 May 2017, 05:25

Thank you for this review. Clearly you found the repetitiveness a shortcoming and I wonder if, paradoxically in light of the second person narration, there was some barrier to empathizing with the protagonist. I can see that such repetition could be used effectively to convey obsession, but the reader's empathy has to be engaged so that they suspend their disbelief about the device. The premise of the book is somewhat similar to that of 'Nosedive', the first episode of the Black Mirror series, which depicts a society that runs on social media star ratings. In that case, the repeated device of obsessive social media checking works well because it contributes to the tension.
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Re: Official Review: See No Evil by Daniel Burnette

Post Number:#7 by kandscreeley
» 02 May 2017, 07:30

I dislike such repetition. That to me makes a book frustrating. It definitely is an interesting concept though.
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Re: Official Review: See No Evil by Daniel Burnette

Post Number:#8 by Jaime Lync
» 07 May 2017, 17:12

Really great review. The premise of the book sounds intriguing but the repetition you mention kinda turns me off as well. I especially loved your commentary on the cover. Dab out!
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Re: Official Review: See No Evil by Daniel Burnette

Post Number:#9 by Ynnahxx
» 17 May 2017, 08:58

See No Evil by Daniel Burnette will show you the reality behind the photos in social media. This book will make you realize that having good times with someone is more important than taking pictures or whatever. It is a must read book.
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