Everyone is obsessed with Unison, the social network that knows you better than you know yourself. Everyone who can afford it, that is. Living beneath the vast ceiling that separates Eastern Seaboard City into rich topside and poor sub-canopy zones, fifteen-year-old Mistletoe can only dream of logging in and has to make do with technological hand-me-downs. Worlds collide when Ambrose Truax, the privileged heir to the Unison empire, wanders into the dangerous sub-canopy streets and Mistletoe saves him from suspicious, uniformed men. They soon discover that they share eerily similar dreams, hinting at a significant past. Together, Ambrose and Mistletoe begin to unravel the mystery of their identities and learn that they’re pawns in a bigger game: the Unison 3.0 upgrade, a whole new kind of Friendship.
About Unison Spark
Recommended Ages: 15 and Up
Hardcover: 240 pgs.
Published: November 8th 2011 by Henry Holt & Co.
For This Review: *Book Copy Provided by blog book giveaway @ Books By Their Cover blog*
Unison Spark 2.0 is a new update from Facebook and the old Twitter that has never before been seen. A program that makes you feel like you're actually physically part of a huge digital world. Once you are plugged in you are in it as if you are in real life. People there have popularity stats in a way to allow ranking. Ambrose Truax is the heir to the empire of Unison Spark and son of Martin Truax, so his ranking is the highest and most popular as far as stats go. Ambrose seems to like his life. He's in charge of keeping everyone happy in this digital world and coming back for more of the products of BetterLife connected to Unison Spark. Though Ambrose is contacted one day though by an anonymous source mentioning to him he's only Martin's experiment. Not his son at all. That he's being lied to. Ambrose isn't entirely sure if this is a lie, so he escapes all he's known to go below where BetterLife hook-ups into Unison Spark aren't a way of life. He's quickly wanted by (sort of security) by who it is assumed to be watching him back.
"There in the middle of the road , was Jiri, standing with his back to her, pointing his black pre-Unison handgun at a stocky ESC police officer with a gleaming metallic arm thst narrowed to a glowing tip, which was in turn pointed at a boy of about her age who was dressed better than anyone she'd ever see. His outfit was holo-fashion, an elegant projection of a sharp new suit in the manner of big-time businessman from up above. His wispy blond hair sparkled, even in the subcanopy shade. He was clearly a long way from home, and his wide eyes from Jiri to the cop."
" Ambrose recognized the scheme: they were orchestrating chaos to cover a risky in-Unison conversation. A battle like the one raging around them could scramble UniCorp scans for a precious moments.
"Martin Truax," Sonia said finally.
" The creator. He who giveth and taketh away"
"What about him?"
" Chatter among freelancers like me is mostly speculation. Half of it's idle, half of it's strategic, designed to throw everybody off, make room for your own ideas, beat other homebrew types to the punch. But lately it's been off-the-charts twitter-brained. Like Martin's gone rogue and even his own advisers don't know what he's up to, because he's planning to spring version 3.0 on everybody unannounced, wipe everything that came before. Logins reset across the board. Profiles erased. People are saying there won't be any warning. No ramp up. Just ZAP- he unveils the upgrade, and in the end nobody even cares that it's this big ambush because the opportunities are unimaginably game changing.
" Unison 3.0 will be, like, Humanity 2.0" Takeshi said sagely, repeating some overhead catchphrase. "Might wanna duck...."
Unison Spark is something of a fun science fiction book through the exploration of the social network beyond what it is now and what could maybe potentially be. That with that with our societal economic structure how it could eventually affect how wealthy we can be in information through technology. Which is a pretty interesting premise! Since we can see it today richer persons may today have an easier access to new technological gadgets. Now moving onto the characters within, Unison Spark, for all intentions found had a good enough cast of characters. Although this has to be noted isn't overtly developed in character development but more in its story events (plot).
Unison Spark has an interesting speaking lingo occasionally shown by Ambrose and Mistletoe throughout the novel that is reminiscent of Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. For that to show up was pleasantly surprising since The Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld was really amazing as well! Reminds you also of The Matrix (1999) in the visual way of description done by Andy Marino, when Ambrose and Mistletoe enter into the world of Unison Spark but in a whole new way. Still it's important to emphasize that Andy Marino's Unison Spark is really as far as can be read, unique, for the way of things in the world that is in place in Unison Spark. Readers would wonder at its inners workings. Recommended for sure.
Overall: Amazing read!
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult, Romance
Also read a Guest Post with Andy Marino: Books By Their Cover: Andy Marino on Technology + Unison Spark Contest
About the Author
Andy Marino was born and raised in upstate New York. He spent his childhood orchestrating Lego pirate battles, drawing detailed maps of imaginary video games, and cheating death in Choose Your Own Adventure books. Profoundly influenced by the work of J.R.R. Tolkien and the movie Bloodsport, he started writing his first novel at the age of eleven. Tragically, THE RUNES OF ILLIARM was never completed.
During his teen years, Andy designed sets for school plays and became an expert stockpiler of unfinished art projects. After graduating from NYU with a bachelor’s degree in English, he dedicated himself to writing fiction. The insidious tractor beam of online social networks (like this one!) became the inspiration for UNISON SPARK, a novel about two teens with a secret past fighting the manipulative, all-consuming social network of the future.