3 out of 4 stars
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What would you do if you discovered that you had the ability to travel anywhere in the world, anytime that you desired? What if, on top of this already amazing ability, you also found out that you had access to a seemingly endless supply of money and information, both classified and non? Well, this is just the boat protagonist Alex Fine finds himself in, in the science fiction/fantasy thriller Superhighway, written by Alex Fayman.
Fayman spins for the reader, an exciting tale of the smart and handsome orphan-from-birth, Alex Fine. Alex has been painstakingly bounced in and out of a couple of different foster homes, after which he decides this is a game he no longer wants to play. He will simply age out of the system, while staying close to the only woman who has ever truly loved him the way a parant should love a child. Ms. Jenkins is the administrator of the orphanage, and the one who was tasked with naming baby Alex upon his arrival at the orphanage all those years ago.
Alex is 18 now, and preparing to embark on the next chapter in his life - Stanford. That is, until one fateful night when he is allowed to stay late in the newly equipped computer lab, which was once the orphanage’s library. Alex fell in love with the internet while living with his second set of foster parents, and he has since taken any chance given him to surf this exciting information-highway. On this particular night, Alex is alone in the lab. He brings to the computer screen, a beautiful beach scene from Hawaii. Without warning, the screen goes blank. Alex does everything he could possibly think of to get the beloved machine back up and running properly. As a last resort, he decides to yank out the network cable. This seemingly innocent move becomes the end of Alex’s normal, run-of-the-mill existence.
Alex finds out that he has the ability to use electroportation to almost instantly travel anywhere in the world through the passageways of the internet. After a couple of homeless nights, Alex also learns that he has access to more online data than you could possibly imagine. What’s an 18-year-old orphan to do?! Why, become a digital Robinhood, of course! Alex decides to steal from rich criminals so that he can give to those who are poor and less fortunate, including himself. Nothing bad can come from this noble feat, right?
What happens when Alex’s better judgement is clouded by his youth and niativity? Will he be able to get beyond the typical challenges that most 18-year-olds face; or, will his over-active hormones, occasional desire to be flashy, and overall recklessness impede on his ability to properly take hold of this newfound power? Alex Fayman invites the reader to join in on this face-paced adventure with Alex Fine as he struggles to discover who his truly is, while also trying to find balance and meaning within his new world, without causing it to come crashing down around him.
Alex Fayman skillfully combines the powerful elements of science fiction with the exciting ones of the thrilling world of crime, love, and money. His fast-paced writing style keeps the reader moving forward, and the appealing descriptions and timely transitions keep us invested in the storyline. A conflicting range of emotions can be felt as the reader gets to know our protagonist a little more with each turn of the page. For example, I know I was personally saddened to read about a young orphan who twice became comfortable with foster parents, only to later be returned to the orphanage, where he would remain throughout his childhood and high school years. Later in the novel, though, I would get frustrated with some of the irresponsible decisions Alex Fine would make, such as wearing in public the flashy watch he stole from a well known gangster. While these irrational decisions are likely due to Alex’s overall naivety, some came with hefty consequences.
I found the unique premise of Superhighway to be quite interesting and unpredictable. It is a twist to the traditional Robinhood story, as well as a new digitalized take on the ideas of teleportation. The author does well to include these technological elements, giving this story its unusual basis. In a world so dependent upon the internet, these elements fall easily into the storyline.
While there are scattered errors within this novel, none are really distracting to my overall enjoyment. I do find it a little off putting that the author focuses so much on the appearance of Alex, but this really is only a minor irritation. If I could award this book 3.5 stars, that would be my rating. However, since I cannot, I give Superhighway 3 out of 4 stars. The ending is almost too much of a cliffhanger; but, since the second book is already available, there is no reason to dwell on it. I recommend this novel to those who enjoy good science fiction elements, as well as to those who enjoy crime thrillers. There is plenty of action and vivid descriptions to keep your blood pumping as you read. I would not, however, recommend this to younger readers, due to the book’s occasional sexual scenes. I look forward to continuing this adventure with Alex in the next book.
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