“Max came up with new ways of getting users to give emotional data to Wren without knowing it. This without knowing it part was important. For as it grew, Wren had garnered a certain reputation.”Version Zero by David Yoon
Version Zero by David Yoon focuses on the character of Max a tech guru who works at a fictional Facebook type company called Wren. After questioning what goes on with the data Wren gather from its loyal users, Max soon meets the axe man as he’s fired from his job and essentially blackballed from working at any other tech company. Now that Max has time to think about his next move, after much pondering Max and his long time friend, co-worker, and the woman he’s loved for many years Akiko decide to take matter into their own hands. How you may ask? Max and Akiko decide to break/reboot the internet. At first they are helped with the inclusion of Max’s best friend and Akiko’s boyfriend Shane. But to their shock a surprise ally awaits this trio. What the three will learn is that they may think what they’re doing is right, but sometimes the consequences of our actions can lead to even worse situations. In this case, consequences that will change the dynamic of the world forever.
I do love a read that makes me reflect on society and the world we live in today. Version Zero was definitely one of those books that did that for me. It highlights current issues such as social media addiction, how we’ve become so dependant on likes, the rise of trolls and cyber bullying, and the fact that so much of our private data is being passed around from one corporation to another. One thing I thought that the novel really highlights was how fast we are to get over serious issues that occur in the world. One minute we are all up in arms on social media about a certain issue and then the next minute everyone forgets about said issue like nothing happened.
When considering the characters, I liked all of them. Max was brilliant and very relatable, especially in terms of his immigrant parents and how hard working they are. A line from the book that will stay with me is when Max’s father says
“In this country it’s live to work,” his dad would explain without bitterness. Not work to live.”Version Zero by David Yoon
The parallels of Max’s parents and mine was pretty similar as mine are also immigrants who have been working their socks off for me and my siblings since I was born.
I also loved how Max didn’t shy away from letting his superiors know they were doing wrong by giving away the information of its user data to other parties. I felt for Max when he got sacked and then blackballed. But seeing him come together with Akkiko and Shane really spurred him on. Akkiko who also works at Wren and is the main hacker of the group was a superb character as well. I loved her intelligence and her chemistry with Max was great. In another world I’m sure both of them would make a great couple. In terms of Akiko’s boyfriend Shane, he isn’t as smart as Akiko and Max but he makes up for it in his own way. There’s another character in the story who goes by the name of Pilot Markham. I won’t say too much about him at this moment but I will say he was an extremely complex character and had a really heartbreaking backstory.
The writing was very reflective and on point when it comes to showcasing how addicted we have become to social media and how it has so much control over our lives. Yoon also highlights the lack of accountability of the companies that operate these corporations. They could be doing so much more to stop hate and racism from spreading on their platforms but don’t do enough to stop it. David Yoon made some fantastic points regarding many issues going on today. There were also so many plot twists in this novel and it kept me on the edge till the end. The ending was just 🤯🤯🤯. Like I never expected what happened to go down and it really took me by surprise how dark things turned. I would understand some people being taken aback by it but for me it helped in creating a really impactful ending.
Overall, this was a spectacular novel full of thrilling and funny moments. I think this would definitely make a really great TV series and I wouldn’t be surprise if it becomes one in a couple of years. I was reminded a lot of TV shows such as Mr Robot and the gaming series Watch Dogs when reading the book. David Yoon is a fantastic writer and I really can’t wait to read more of his work in the future. I really enjoyed his writing especially his description of the characters, their thoughts, and how they expressed their emotions. Thank you so much to Putnam books for gifting me a copy! The book releases on the 25th of April.