Tuesday, July 23, 2013

ARC Review: The Social Code by Sadie Hayes

The Social Code (The Start-Up, #1)From the blurb:

Welcome to Silicon Valley, where fortune, success – and betrayal – are only a breath away...

Eighteen-year-old twins Adam and Amelia Dory learned the hard way to rely only on each other, growing up in a small town where they understood the meaning of coming from nothing. But everything changes when both are offered scholarships to Stanford University – and catapulted into the dazzling world of Silicon Valley, where anyone with a good enough idea can skyrocket to fame and fortune in the blink of an eye…

Amelia is almost as pretty as she is smart – almost. A shy girl and genius, she is happiest alone in the computer lab, but her brother has other plans for her talents: A new company that will be the next Silicon Valley hit, and will thrust Amelia into the spotlight whether she likes it or not. Where Amelia’s the brains, Adam’s the ambition – he sees the privileged lifestyle of the Silicon Valley kids and wants a piece of what they have. He especially wants a piece of Lisa Bristol, the stunning daughter of one of the Valley’s biggest tycoons.

As Adam and Amelia begin to hatch their new company, they find themselves going from nothing to the verge of everything seemingly overnight. But no amount of prestige can prepare them for the envy, backstabbing and cool calculation of their new powerful peers.

Sandra's rating:

One big fat MEH!

The book I was given by the publisher via Netgalley appears to be all three earlier novellas( The Start-Up (The Start-Up, #1), The Anti-Social Network (The Start-Up, #2), The Beautiful Code (The Start-Up, #3)) wrapped into one.

Interesting plot, without too much tech talk, but I feel a little cheated by the ending. Which wasn't. There wer too many questions unanswered.

I can't help but think that there will be additional books after this one, especially considering that this book ended in a spot that didn't even attempt to wrap up the subplots that permeated this book.

And this is precisely why this book failed for me. It starts out interesting enough - smart girl and her twin brother are freshmen on scholarships at Stanford after spending most of their lives in group and foster homes and find themselves the next big thing in the Tech World after Amelia codes an app for the iPhone that allows the user to control various other appliances in their environment.

Excellent idea for a book. Epic fail on the delivery.

For starters, the subplots (love triangle starring Lisa and Sundeep and Adam, T.J.'s daddy issues, the threat from The Family, Patty's hankering for her sister's fiance) distracted from the actual main story. I didn't get the inclusion of Patty at all, other than her purpose of functioning as a rat who tells T.J. about Amelia's findings about his daddy's next big deal.

It's a convoluted mess, and the only one I actually liked throughout this book was Amelia. And Roger. Roger was cool, a bit in the background, but supportive and savvy and smart.

The story is fast-paced, and contains a lot of well-researched information about the seedy underbelly of Silicon Valley and the Tech industry. And yet, despite all that research, there are obvious errors.

There's a sentence about lines of ones and zeros and Courier typeface while talking about Amelia sitting in front of her PC screen and coding. I don't know anyone who codes in binary - there are programming languages - and this just seems complete nonsense.

Further proof-reading was hopefully done prior to final publication, as this ARC still had plenty of errors.

There were also some plotholes that left me scratching my head. For starters, how do students on scholarships afford iPhones? Secondly, who sends their equipment to a convention ahead of time and then doesn't check it over prior to the presentation? I also found the convenience of the wedding and the convention to be on the same weekend in the same place to be rather too convenient to be realistic. That was either one huge coincidence or a cheap ploy to get Adam and Lisa into the same spot.

The characterizations were actually not bad, though Mr. Bristol as the evil mastermind was a little hard to believe, especially when he was telling his son what his plans were for Amelia's company. Adam is as naive as his sister, but where Amelia is brilliant, cool as a cucumber and acts like a young adult, Adam seems to be emotionally dependent and searching for someone to love him. Understandable, considering their upbringing, but I would have expected better street smarts from him, specifically because of how he spent the first 18 years of his life.

The writing style is rather simple and often stilted, with overly descriptive wording ("a strand of hair had fallen tenderly down" - LOLWUT??).

Anyway, this was disappointing. The idea for this story was brilliant. More the pity that the execution was not.

I received a free ARC from the publisher via Netgalley. A positive review was not promised in return.

Available September 3, 2013 from St. Martin's Griffin

Pre-order this book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

As always, thanks for stopping by. Until next time, happy reading.

Buylinks are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with the book, author or booksellers listed. 

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