We Are Watching (Mindshare #1) by M. Stephen Stewart
Published: 16th December 2014
Henry Malone’s childhood was shattered by the unexplained suicide of his father. Now a teenager, his days are spent studying to become a Neural Implant Technician for Planetary Link Corporation, helping them maintain an iron grip over his walled country and every iota of knowledge contained within—but he leads a double life. Henry’s nights are spent helping his mother wage a cyber war against them in her quest to find the truth behind his father’s death.
He’s managed to keep his two lives separate, a delicate balance that’s endangered after he repairs the neural implant of a stranger. He finds she’s in possession of illegal memories from the outside world, unauthorized knowledge of his father, and a message: speak to me later and tell no one. Henry has a choice to make—ignore the message and maintain his double-life, or answer and risk everything to uncover secrets Planetary Link would kill to keep buried.
This book was a fun sci-fi read, though expect some darker scenes, this book is not afraid to cause its characters pain (which is just how I like it!) My favourite part of this book was the beginning. I thought it was just really well written and such an awesome introduction the book. The rest of it was good too, but I enjoyed the beginning the most.
The sci-fi world M. Stephen Stewart created was very cool but a bit confusing at first, with all this new technology being thrown at you without any explanation. Luckily it was fairly easy to pick up and I began to understand what was going on after a few pages.
I enjoyed the story and thought it was a great idea, but I think the characters just fell a little flat. I thought that the character development element progressed too quickly with the protagonist jumping from one set opinion/belief to another in almost no time at all. it felt a little unrealistic to me and I wish the character grown had taken place at a more reasonable pace and had been given more of a spotlight in the book. The characters all had really intense stories and experiences, but I think a bit more depth was needed for them to really come into their own. I still enjoyed the characters, they especially came into their own towards the end, I just felt more could have been done to really make them shine.
Another thing I found a little off-putting was the weird slight changes in view point. The book was all in third person but it often followed a particular character more closely (as third person books do), but sometimes it would appear to change sort of mid-stride. For example, the books would go from reading 'Henry this', to 'Trainee Malone' in the next breath and it always took me a minute to realise it was still the same person. Not a big issue, just something that bugged me.
Overall I enjoyed this book. The story was good but I think it could've been better with just a few tweaks here and there. The pace was a bit all over the place throughout the book but the ending was very satisfyingly done and it leaves me curious and eager to find out what happens next. This was a good start to a sci-fi series and I'm hoping the characters will really come into their own in the next book!
Author Bio - M. Stephen Stewart
M. Stephen Stewart is a graduate of Indiana University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He makes his home in Indianapolis with his wife and two dogs. In his spare time, Matt is an avid sports fan, gamer, and reader, who loves to connect with new people. You can usually find him around town with his wife, exercising, or in front of his computer working on a new project.
Signed copies of We Are Watching and A Conduit for Man
-Ends 16th July 2015
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