Friday Review: Zer0es by Chuck Wendig

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Five independent hackers are given a choice by the government: serve as white hat hackers completing assignments given them or face prison for their past cyber crimes. Faced with that choice, they decide to take the offer. They are sent to an isolated compound where they and the other teams of hackers are given strange assignments. As they dig deeper into the web of secrecy surrounding their missions, they discover a secret NSA program, dark and disturbing plots, and a supercomputer that may have gone rogue. The five Zer0es must stop the sinister AI before they lose everything- including their lives.

In typical Wendig fashion, this novel grabs and doesn’t let go. It’s full of his usual rapid-fire writing and pretty nonstop action. The plot is based well enough in actual science and computer technology with just enough scifi edge to be believable and a little frightening. Characters are well drawn, especially the snarky, edgy ones. Settings are really background to the story but are believable and filled in enough to make them real places. Like a lot of Wendig’s works, there’s a bit of a horror edge to the story that doesn’t take away from the real world, current day timeline or the science-based tech. In this case, the horror aspect works within the science parts and is an integral part of the plot. There are twists and cliff edges to navigate. The ending is reasonably satisfying and ties things up pretty well.

It was a fairly fast read for me, and I found myself turning page after page to find out what was going to happen next. If you like a good techno thriller with real life grounding and a modern setting and characters with a bit of horror to spice it up, you might give this one a try.

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