book review: cyber storm

 

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I’ve been really into podcasts lately (more on that to come in another post), and after binge listening everything I think I could possibly want to listen to (I am currently subscribed to 10 different podcasts) I wanted something else to listen to while I wait for updates. Upon heading to Amazon to buy diapers, I saw that they offer a free, 3 month trial subscription to Audible for Prime Members! That’s 3 audio books! It’s like the universe (or Adwords ;)) knew what I wanted.

Cyber Storm by Matthew Mather was on sale, so in addition to picking out a few other books for my free credits, I also purchased this one. What a wild ride of a book.

I’ll start by saying that this is not the “feel good read of the Summer” or anything close. The setting is New York City, where a potential cyber attack, and a blizzard, wipe out communications and logistics along the East Coast. The main character, Mike Mitchell, and his family, need to navigate the extreme stresses of losing everything from power to food, all while navigating family issues and interpersonal conflict.

I will say that for me personally, the book started a bit blandly. It was definitely setting the stage for what was to come, but I felt that the character development felt a bit flat initially. That being said, after the third “day” (the book uses days instead of chapters to define time and progression), this either didn’t matter or the characters developed more, because at that point I was hooked.

As someone who currently commutes into NYC daily, I found myself looking around, wondering what would happen if there was a complete halt in production for so many of the city’s functions. I was here for Superstorm Sandy, as well as the blackout of 2003, and those pale in comparison to what the book describes. Seemingly the most devastating of the book’s scenarios is the loss of wireless communication, and what that really means for things like logistics, shipping & operations, as well as places like buildings that are linked to “smart” networks for all functions. It poses the question: how would Americans react if they were catapulted back to frontier times, needing to hunt, fish or trap for sustenance? Could they survive? Could we?

Overall, I wouldn’t call this a fun read per se, but it was definitely interesting! I’m glad I read it through to the end, and it would probably make a pretty good movie.

Next up on the list is The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I’m gearing up for the movie which looks to be quite a thriller!

Have you read Cyber Storm as well? What are your thoughts? Any other books you’re excited about? Let me know!

Have a great weekend!

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