Posts Tagged With: Daemon

Top 10 Fantasy Books of 2010

Like I did last year, I’m going to recap the top 10 fantasy novels of 2010. Unlike last year, this time I’m splitting the difference. Five novels in the top 10 are the favorites I read over the past year, and the other five are novels that I haven’t read, but spent a good deal of time on the Amazon top 5 fantasy bestseller list. If you’re looking for a gift, its likely that any book from this list will delight the recipient.

This is the first in a series of Top 10 posts covering the fantasy industry. Next week, we cover the Top 10 Fantasy Book Trends of 2010.

Lamentation by Ken Scholes

Lamentation was one of my favorite fantasy reads of 2010. A vibrant new world, painted with colorful, unique characters, all wrapped into a story with heart, makes for a fantastic package. This first installment promises a quality series to come in The Psalms of Isaak. Check out my full review of Lamentation.

fantasy books Lamentation

The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie was the best fantasy novel I read in 2010. Gritty, fast-paced, and filled with action, this first novel in a new epic fantasy series solidifies Abercrombie as one of the premier new authors in fantasy literature. The characterization isn’t just top-notch, the characters in The Blade Itself are unforgettable. Not only does Abercrombie deliver a quality novel, but there are moments of hilarity contained in these pages. Abercrombie is an honest, open-minded author, and these qualities shine in The Blade Itself. Check out my full review of The Blade Itself.

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Empire in Black and Gold by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Yet another fantastic first novel in a series discovered in 2010. Empire in Black and Gold kicks off at a frantic pace, in the middle of a battle, and doesn’t relent for the rest of the novel. Absolutely blistering pace is combined with a truly original idea for characterization: all the characters in this novel are some derivation of what Tchaikovsky describes as kinden, which are half-human and half fill-in-the-insect. This makes for some truly unique elements in fighting, and opens up the opportunity for all kinds of historical backgrounds among the different kinden in novels to come. As if to match the blistering pace of the novel itself, Pyr has been releasing the novels in The Shadows of the Apt series every three months or so since this novel’s original release date. Looks like I’ve got some catch up reading to do. Check out my full review of Empire in Black and Gold.

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Daemon by Daniel Suarez

Daemon was, hands down, the most addictive novel I’ve ever read. While blending elements of fantasy and sci-fi (something I normally don’t enjoy), this techno-thriller beats the pace of a Dan Brown novel into a quivering pulp and delivers a novel that you can’t help but devour in a week or so. The hook: a computer game design company founder writes a code that monitors news headlines online. When he dies, it triggers a series of events that attempt to takeover the economy and portions of the government. Oddly, the DDOS attacks on large corporate web sites recently in relation to the WikiLeaks site are eerily reminiscent of the themes discussed in this novel. Scary. Check out my full review of Daemon.

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Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

I’ve read a few Sanderson novels at this point, and Elantris is, if not tied for favorite with Mistborn, my favorite Sanderson novel. This novel contains similar themes as Mistborn, but was written prior, and I believe Sanderson had an insatiable appetite for writing fantastic fiction at the time. This is a beautiful story, self-contained in one volume, that is definitely worth going back and reading for any Sanderson fans who have tasted his more recent work. Check out my full review of Elantris.

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Review: Daemon by Daniel Suarez

Book review of Daniel Suarez’ Daemon

Daniel Suarez' DaemonI mainly cover fantasy here at Fantasy Book News, but this novel covers a fairly mixed bag from a genre perspective. I first heard about Daemon when The Dragon Page interviewed Daniel Suarez, and my interest was piqued when conversation mentioned that the novel was so accurate that the federal government had taken notice. I generally stray from technical or sci-fi books, simply because I get my fill of technology in my day to day life, but I am very interested in future technology, and a novel that blends reality with fantasy so well that the line blurs was something I definitely had to check out.

First and foremost, Daemon is the fastest I’ve ever read a novel. I read it in a week, and the paperback volume I have is 617 pages. I’m by no means a slow reader, but I have other responsibilities in life, like family, work, etc. that pull me away from reading on a regular schedule. Daemon was so addictive that I catered my daily routine to it, rather than the opposite being true, as is the case with most novels. This novel surpasses the level of action pacing seen in Dan Brown’s novels.

I should mention that this is a highly technical read, but not so much that you can’t follow the story if you’re not an IT professional. I think the level of detail is just second nature to Daniel Suarez based on his background: he has designed and developed software for the defense, finance and entertainment industries. The technical detail in Daemon should not scare off readers who fear they may not understand the details; to the contrary, it adds a believable level of detail.

I decided to include a review of Daemon here because the novel does have elements of fantasy. There are entire chapters that take place inside MMORPGs (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games), including two of the more popular video games published by main character Matthew Sobul’s company. If you opened the book randomly and happened to land on one of these pages, you would think you’re reading a fantasy novel.

Daemon is a fast-paced techno-thriller, containing sophisticated action sequences reminiscent of the tv show 24, elements of suspense and horror, and even a pair of graphic sex scenes thrown in for good measure. The plot focuses on a daemon (Disk And Execution MONitor) script, written by computer gaming industry genius Matthew Sobul, that monitors news websites for headlines. On the day Sobul’s obituary crosses the web, the script is executed, setting in motion a slew of electronic work orders and other database highjacking procedures in an attempt to control a large swath of the modern economy.

The novel follows detective Peter Sebeck in his attempt to contain the daemon, Brian Gragg, a young hacker who discovers the daemon through in-game contact with a Nazi avatar created by Sobul prior to his death, and a slew of other characters contacted by the daemon to perform tasks. One such example is Charles Mosely, a prisoner working in a prison’s call center for pennies, who is contacted by phone one day by the daemon. The daemon orchestrates his release from prison, and subsequently employs him as a soldier.

There are wonderful elements of what I normally call “magic” in fantasy novels, but in this case they are technologically driven. Employees of the daemon wear glasses that give them a heads up display of the world around them, enhanced with additional information, like a video game. They can control computer-driven cars with the flick of a finger. The word magic has been recently been reintroduced to the public as a marketing tool with Apple’s iPad, with the basic premise that any new technology that we don’t fully understand yet seems like magic, that is until we understand it, then its just another technology, and this is the same idea introduced in Daemon.

I really enjoyed one of the central themes in Daemon, which is a debate that will become more prevalent in coming years: the question of whether to attempt to contain or regulate a technology versus accepting it and having a reliable security system in place in the event of a catastrophe. This question is one that will never be answered absolutely, as it is driven by the larger force of evolution, which cannot be stopped. Daemon deals with this question in fantastic fashion, and is a big part of what makes flying through the action sequences contained in its pages so fun.

I don’t read many thrillers, but I read fantasy novels like its my job, so I guess I feel semi-qualified to review Daemon. I can firmly say that anyone who’s into technology and believable technology-driven fantasy elements will thoroughly enjoy Daemon.

You can purchase Daemon over at

Fantasy Book News Ratings

  • Overall: 9 out of 10
  • Plot Originality
  • Setting Development
  • Characterization
  • Dialog
  • Pace

Fan Ratings

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