Monday, 15 April 2013

Book Review: Assured Destruction

Once again The Overnight Bestseller is pleased to host a Tribute Books blog tour. This time we welcome Michael F. Stewart as we take an inside look at his novel Assured Destruction.

Assured Destruction: Book Summary

Sixteen-year-old Jan Rose knows that nothing is ever truly deleted. At least, not from the hard drives she scours to create the online identities she calls the Shadownet.

Hobby? Art form? Sad, pathetic plea to garner friendship, even virtually? Sure, Jan is guilty on all counts. Maybe she’s even addicted to it. It’s an exploration. Everyone has something to hide. The Shadownet’s hard drives are Jan’s secrets. They're stolen from her family’s computer recycling business Assured Destruction. If the police found out, Jan’s family would lose their livelihood.

When the real people behind Shadownet’s hard drives endure vicious cyber attacks, Jan realizes she is responsible. She doesn’t know who is targeting these people or why but as her life collapses Jan must use all her tech savvy to bring the perpetrators to justice before she becomes the next victim.

Formats: paperback and ebook
Release: March 22, 2013

Amazon paperback ($8.99)

Kindle ($2.99)

Michael F. Stewart: Biography

After crewing ships in the Antarctic and the Baltic Sea and some fun in venture capital, Michael anchored himself (happily) to a marriage and a boatload of kids. Now he injects his adventurous spirit into his writing with brief respites for research into the jungles of Sumatra and Guatemala, the ruins of Egypt and Tik’al, paddling the Zambezi and diving whatever cave or ocean reef will have him. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers and SF Canada, and the author of the Assured Destruction series, 24 Bones, The Sand Dragon, Hurakan, Ruination and several award winning graphic novels for young adults.

Our Review of Assured Destruction

Michael F. Stewart's Assured Destruction is a YA novel that is well-written, interesting, and enjoyable to read. It follows the exploits of the young protagonist as she builds her Shadownet of virtual friends and then must face the consequences as real life intrudes on her private domain, and bad things begin to happen in real time. But Jan Rose is up to the challenge as she tries to dig her way out of the mess, save her mom's company, and find the real culprits. 

The protagonist is both likeable and humorous, and the references to Ottawa throughout the novel (the city "that fun forgot”) will spark instant recognition by anyone who has lived or worked there. At the same time, the protagonist faces numerous challenges in her own life, and Stewart has done a very good job of weaving serious themes into the novel: Jan's perceived abandonment by her father, her mother's daily struggles with MS, and the daunting task of surviving school life and online bullying. A central thread in the novel is Jan's attempt to write an essay on Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. Plath's depression and subsequent suicide serve as a counterpoint to Jan's conscious efforts to take control of her life and resolve her problems. It's good to see a strong female protagonist in YA novels.

As Stewart's website indicates, Assured Destruction is planned as a transmedia experience, with four books serving as an anchor for an Internet connection that will bring Shadownet to life. We wish him the best with this endeavour and look forward to following Jan Rose in her future adventures!

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  1. Thanks, Michael! Really appreciate the great review. If you're ever downtown Ottawa, drop me a line. Love to talk over a coffee.

    1. You're very welcome, Michael. It's a pleasure. Will definitely look you up for that coffee!

  2. Michael, I'm with you! You gotta love a strong female protagonist in YA. Thanks for the in-depth review :)