Little Brother: a tale about the end of the world

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I picked up Little Brother by Cory Doctorow excitedly because I had previously read Pirate Cinema by him which was a goooooooooood book. I opened the book and read the first page. Right off the bat, it wasn’t as good as Pirate Cinema, but I was like let me not judge ‘cause I know this is his first book and all,’ so I continued to read.

The story follows protagonist Marcus Yallow and his friends Darryl Glover (a character who’s described as a very handsome young sir), Vanessa Park (whom my mans Darryl has a crush on), and Jose a.k.a. Jolo, and takes place in England. The story starts off with a bang. Which was great because yes ma’am, I love action! I tend to not care for dystopian novels because they all seem to be the same play-by-play thing of little boy saves the world from big bad adults, but the way my dude Mr. Doctorow gives dimension and depth changes the game.

Darryl gets hurt after a huge explosion, which makes Marcus have to call an ambulance to come and save him. These boys come at him sideways and put dark kidnapping masks on the whole crew. I was shook at the nerve and audacity of these people to do that to a group of literal teenagers. Turns out the government, yes the GOVERNMENT, is the one after my mans and they accuse Marcus of being a terrorist by hacking into the program that all the people in the country use. Keep in mind that earlier the same day, Marcus’ principal is up in arms and accusing him of being a hacker.

The political atmosphere is completely crazy because the branch of government they’re dealing with, Department of Homeland Security, is scrutinizing every move the teenagers and everyone in England is making. They have the nation on a tight leash that only allows the citizens to do exactly what DHS wants them to do, or be met with repercussions. Marcus ends up starting a low-key war with the DHS that is, in true dystopian style, adults against teenagers.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: what is happening to Darryl? A lot of things it turns out. I was trying to be chill and not, you know, worry about him, but there was so little mention of him that I was honestly and truly a bit infuriated. I was ready to throw them dukes at Doctorow for introducing such an in-depth character and doing nothing with him, but toward the end he was important again.

I didn’t like the way it was kind of stagnant in the sense of the setting was very one-track. I was expecting another Pirate Cinema in the sense of the diverse settings and dynamic characters, but it was obvious that Doctorow was not on that level of literary genius yet. I know every book isn’t the same, but the expectations were so high. I really wanted it to be on that level of depth and engagement, but it did not go down like that. It was different and that’s okay.

All in all, it was a good book that I definitely recommend because it was a good read. Two thumbs up.

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