Publish Date: August 20, 2019
“That’s the thing about freedom. It’s yours until you give it up.” — The Warehouse
Paxton never thought he’d be working for Cloud, the giant tech company that’s eaten much of the American economy. Much less that he’d be moving into one of the company’s sprawling live-work facilities.
But compared to what’s left outside, Cloud’s bland chainstore life of gleaming entertainment halls, open-plan offices, and vast warehouses…well, it doesn’t seem so bad. It’s more than anyone else is offering.
Zinnia never thought she’d be infiltrating Cloud. But now she’s undercover, inside the walls, risking it all to ferret out the company’s darkest secrets. And Paxton, with his ordinary little hopes and fears? He just might make the perfect pawn. If she can bear to sacrifice him.
As the truth about Cloud unfolds, Zinnia must gamble everything on a desperate scheme—one that risks both their lives, even as it forces Paxton to question everything about the world he’s so carefully assembled here.
Together, they’ll learn just how far the company will go…to make the world a better place.
I am completely addicted to dystopian books about technology. Why? Because I grew up in Silicon Valley, and I firmly believe that we are headed for a dystopian future as technology takes over more and more of our lives.
This book is creepy because the premise is very real. The convenience of the internet is at our fingertips. We can search and find information on anything online. We can order anything online. But the drawback is that every step is tracked and monitored. Anything that you do online tells the world a little more about you. That information can be used against you. Information is power, and having that power means being in control over everyone and everything. It’s a thought provoking concept and in my opinion, a very valid fear. Technology is a great thing, but most people have abused it and now it’s found a way to abuse us. This novel demonstrates that theory.
The book is told from 3 rotating viewpoints: Paxton, a new Cloud employee; Zinnia, an undercover corporate spy posing as a new Cloud employee; and the Cloud C.E.O. and founding father Gibson Wells. I enjoyed Gibson’s chapters the best. He has a conversational, reflective, philosophical Southern-drawl tone, like he’s writing to you as a friend or close confidante. Zinnia is a strong, smart, savvy female with bad-ass martial arts moves. Paxton has integrity, morals, ethics, and is a generally good guy. They are all likeable characters.
My favorite quotes:
“When the king is dying, the entire kingdom is suspect.”
“Even in a guard’s uniform, he always felt like one of the prisoners. Authority was a too-big shoe that rubbed his foot raw and threatened to tumble off if he took too wide of a step.”
“And that means that most people are smart enough to not shit where they eat.”
“A herd is only as fast and strong as the slowest members.”
“As time goes on, you’ll see that there is the Cloud way of doing things and the right way of doing things. Sometimes those are the same, sometimes they aren’t.”
“You’re a disposable good packaging disposable goods.”
The details of the Cloud company, the jobs, the sprawling campus, and the warehouse are vivid and impressive. The Cloud is one employer that you don’t want to mess with! I often can’t visualize science fiction books because they leave you up to your imagination (mine is admittedly flat), but this book is extremely descriptive. The science fiction is very realistic and the writing made me feel like I was there.
This book is about secrets, choices, dying, data, tracking, sexual harassment, succession, love, family, hierarchy, survival, and friendship. It’s an easy read and a quick pace. It rates high on the un-put-downable scale and it has a cloak-and-dagger vibe. It makes you wonder if tech giants like Amazon really tracks us this closely, because they can. The ending is good, and it has some unexpected twists that were very satisfying.
By the way, film rights on this book were sold to Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment and Ron Howard is going to direct it; look for this book on the big screen in the future.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Note: I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley exchange for an honest review.
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