Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for the mafia. Oh, and he's also a hacker and a katana-wielding swordsman as well. Set in a futuristic world where technology has taken the world by storm, Hiro is soon embroiled in a game where reality and virtual worlds collide - and death is imminent in all directions. There is a virus running around the world and it looks like there's a mystery to be solved, with the help of a girl with an attitude Y.T.
I liked this book a lot because it had many strong points: characters, backdrop scenario, world building, dialogue. Unfortunately it fell flat in a lot of moments that were mostly information-dumps.
The characters were lovely. I really liked each character, especially the two leading characters. Even the name Hiro Protagonist is such a tongue in cheek name that I couldn't help but laugh as I read that in the start. Y.T. is a clever girl that backs up her attitude with action. And I love their interactions as partners - just enough wit and sass to go around to make things interesting.
The world building was done really well - everything was familiar in a skewed way, as if this futuristic world is actually possible. It's imaginable, believable, and just a different perspective of how things could turn out in the future. The slang made everything more realistic. It just set the reader in the middle of the world. It made the strangeness of the world more acceptable, as if yeah even the language changes in this future, no problem.
Okay. Now. I didn't actually like the plot. While the premise was really interesting, with the idea of the Metaworld and Black Sun and hacking as an important aspect of this new world, the actual progression of the plot wasn't exactly reader-friendly. There was just too much unnecessary information given to the reader in an information dump under the guise of Hiro learning that information. While yeah it's true investigations do go like that, it isn't particularly engaging for me to read. It's too passive of a way to learn that significant amount of background knowledge that's necessary for the next step in the plot.
But now that I think about it, perhaps this is simply his writing style (seeing as Diamond Age was fairly similar in terms of information transmission style).
Similarly, while I can see how the whole ideology of binary and hackers could arise from history.... excuse me. It's just not believable. It's like a conspiracy theory book almost, which makes me laugh a little and roll my eyes a bit. Yeah, I should suspend my disbelief for fiction, but a lot of the connecting points to say how humanity arose from a program was too big of a stretch. Perhaps it's just because when I read bullshit science, I call bs and then tend to scrutinize more (which isn't helpful for a fiction book). So that whole explanation and resolving plot point at the end just didn't cut it for me. I loved learning about the world and characters and seeing what would be introduced next, but figuring out the mystery and how to save the world was not what kept me reading.
In the end, I'd probably give it two and half stars, rounded up to three. It was somewhere in between I liked it and it was okay. Not the most amazing book I've read, but interesting enough that I think it's worth someone's time. I won't reread it though.
Recommended for people who like action books and/or futuristic books with a tech twist.