“Fate’s Mirror” by M.H. Mead

Fate's Mirror CoverI like cyberpunk. I think of it as surfer chic for the geeks. It’s anti-fashion fashion in literature, something to put on and strut around with while at the same time pretending that you’re over all that. Fate’s Mirror is that kind of stylish but substance-less adventure, a rebel in Gucci clothing – and I loved it.

Let me start with the main character, Morris Payne – or Page – or Parish or any other identity he’s manufactured in his life as a viker (a sup’d up hacker with worldwide cred). This guy plays the sleek and sassy anti-hero with a rather interesting twist; he’s agoraphobic. In his virtual reality life, this doesn’t pose much of a problem. But what happens when his house is blown-up using high-tech sabotage? Payne has to start using the real world, a place he’s ill-equipped for.

The first part of this book shows Payne struggling to orient himself while he attempts to uncover what has happened to him. He enlists the help of an ofttimes cyber client to shelter him, but she becomes an ally in his attempt to discover his attempted assassinator. The story moves swiftly as other players enter the picture all with their attentions placed firmly on our friend, Morris Payne. Why is everyone interested in this super-hacker and why does someone want to kill him? Of course all is revealed as the story progresses and it wouldn’t be too much of a surprise to learn that there’s a conspiracy or two on a grand scale to give meaning to a seemingly random attack at the commencement of the story.

There’s tech-speak throughout the story, but it reads as lingo rather than serious invitations to delve into the technology behind the story and as such it is easily digested. Again that style over substance philosophy helps the reader remain entertained rather than educated. The latter part of the book takes place predominantly in the cyberspace and the authors have done something quite clever. They have completely interpreted the cyber environment with the hacking, viruses and packets of data into a metaphor. This move translated something that could have been almost indecypherable into swashbuckling action scenes.

The chapters tend to be bite-sized which is something I usually appreciate. Keeping the scenes relatively concise actually helps with the pacing for me and tricks me into reading more than I would if each scene was drawn out. I tend to think of this as a Hollywood tactic for writers. It makes me feel like the book is translatable to the screen and, more importantly, gives me a movie-like experience while reading.

This book was co-authored but you’d never guess as it’s cohesive throughout. It has been well edited and it sits well with some of my cyberpunk favourites. It has drama, a great anti-hero with an affliction that supplies another dimension to the story, supporting characters whose interplay adds interest, a grand conspiracy that was worth the wait and some well interpreted cyber action scenes. To me, this book was a winner and it earns it’s 4.5 stars. Grab it if you enjoy easily digestible cyber-thrillers.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that this book was also recently reviewed at Adarna SF by the Frida Fantastic. Here’s a link to that review if you want to compare notes: http://adarnasf.com/2011/10/24/fate%E2%80%99s-mirror-by-m-h-mead-2011/

Rating: 4.5/5

Price at the time of review: $2.99 US

Available: Amazon, Smashwords, Diesel

Author site: http://www.yangandcampion.com/
GoodReads page: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12083892-fate-s-mirror

This entry was posted in 4.5, Novel, Reviews, Science Fiction and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to “Fate’s Mirror” by M.H. Mead

  1. Great review, Caleb. I totally agree with it. Swashbuckling style over substance, but still a really fun romp nonetheless :)

    • Caleb says:

      Thanks Frida. I’ve posted a link to the review written only days beforehand on Adarna SF. I had meant to do it and seeing your comments reminded me.

  2. Pingback: Fate’s Mirror by M. H. Mead (2011) « Adarna SF

  3. Pingback: “The Caline Conspiracy” by M.H. Mead | Papyrus

  4. Pingback: “Taking the Highway” – by M. H. Mead | Papyrus

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