A Review of: Attack Surface, by Cory Doctorow

I was immediately pulled into this book – not even  making it through the first chapter, and addicted. I  am fascinated by the main character, Masha. And her job. …  The hook got me . Line and sinker. They style of writing here really appeals to me. Its first person present – and  the author is pulling it of spectacularly. Our character is punchy, dark, sarcastic, edgy… you get the idea. Her personality is something you can immediately see. The one that’s presented to us in the beginning, at least. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This book is non stop action. But you know, reading about protests gets .. Tiring…  and frankly; I am not interested. So… while the book  really hooked me in the beginning,  the content really was not  all that readable for me. I didn’t ‘enjoy’ the story. 


At the hinging point in the story, Masha pivots from ‘keep working for the Big bads, to Fighting with the Protestors’. But to be honest – I didn’t like this choice. I felt like she would have made a much bigger impact on the direction of these technologies, by driving them from the inside. Sure, that point is even discussed in the book – how she could  have more  influence by being the persons writing these tools. Directing these tools; as opposed to some schlep that might (probably) have no moral compass directing them. Jus the  fat bills   stacking in their bank account. And I felt this was probably a really valid point of view….. But nope. Masha doesn’t go that route. She shakes off the chains of moral responsibility for the technology, but in the book it’s framed like she made some huge, right choice . ( Or rather her friends forced her into this.) But for FFS, they’re wrong! Who will  nudge this stuff to being as  people friendly as it can be now? No one. That’s who. Masha: not my problem! Even though it was, for so long, now I don’t care! I don’t imagine that that is how this character would have reacted. It was a real weak moment in the character arc , for this writer. I do not approve. Masha would not have  let this out of her hands – especially not with the impact she could have had,  as the independent contractor, in charge of this stuff. 


On our Character Masha, and other ’strong female authority figure types’… I almost believed the personality builds. But in the end, it’s clearly written by a male author. It’s all ‘not-quite-right.’ Sorry, Cory. You haven’t quite nailed getting Females correct. Little things – but when you’re female, you know. And you know when women are written by men. 


Beginning of book > interesting, edgy, thought provoking.

Middle of book > bogged down & feeling tirelessly preachy about the surveillance state, and wearing on my nerves. Masha stops doing things, and just is caught in a web of various plot conflicts to be resolved. 

End of book > Mehhhhhhh. After getting to the middle, exactly what you think is going to happen, happens. And it kind of just  dribbles off. I didn’t really feel like there was a good closure at the end of the story. 


I don’t know. Would I recommend this book? Well, on technical merit, I think the author’s writing is impeccable, and knocks it out of the part. Nails it on the tense and style. Very detail oriented. 

The story – was well formed, fast paced, interesting, and ties up plot arcs; generally speaking. 

I guess, if you want to read about a not to distant future when the country is on the verge of an all out surveillance state, while the population is catching wind of Just How Much, and might be able to stop it [probably not] before it’s too late; while focusing on civil unrest, protests, injustice, etc – then you will probably love this book. To be clear, it’s not a happy story, and I would not say it has a good/happy ending. It’s more of a: ‘Lessons In What’s Coming to a City Near You Sooner Than You Think’ kind of read.

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