Attack Surface by Cory Doctorow
This review was originally posted at Goodreads and imported here later on with next to no spell/grammar checking.
Masha is a security contractor who helps to enable mass surveillance and data processing on behalf of authoritarian governments across the world. To quell her consciousness, she engages in heavy compartmentalisation and secretly helping the protesters to improve their operational security. Knowing full well this will not make much of a difference, waiting for the inevitable collision of her two lives.
Upon returning home to California, she discovers that the tools she helped develop are being used by the police to target her friends.
I was a bit uneasy about Attack Surface despite having loved everything else Cory Doctorow has written, because Masha was not exactly the good gal in the first two books (Little Brother and Homeland).
But I was hooked from the first paragraph. She doesn’t start to be likeable, but she is a multi-faceted human being with understandable and even relatable motivations.
Even with the technology infodumps Doctorow is famous for, the book is absolutely engaging and it’s got a great character arc (I wasn’t sure which way Masha would end up going until the end). It is funny, serious, deep, dark, political and human.
The human side especially is something I wasn’t expecting, but there are genuine intense tearful moments there.
Amber Benson reads the Audiobook is read by who is just completely amazing. She sells Masha’s cynical voice perfectly and while some of the accents and male voices are less stellar, the book is so much better with her narration.
I found myself taking breaks towards the end not because it lost steam (it didn’t!) but because I didn’t want it to be over.
Attack surface is a third book in the Little Brother series, but it features a different protagonist and while events and previous characters do appear, the protagonist here is different and the story sufficiently standalone that you can jump right into it.