The Dark River
I swear I posted a review of the first book in this series, The Traveler, but I'm not seeing it. It's even crossed out on my Big List, and I certainly remember reading it. Brain glitch? Blogger glitch? The Vast Machine? Your guess is as good as mine.
So anyway, I've mostly enjoyed this series so far. Seeing as I was raised by hippies and have run around in the punk scene for most of my adult life, I know plenty of paranoid/tinfoil hat types who prefer to live off the grid. The big bads in this book could have sprung forth from their deepest fears. That's not a complaint - it's a frightening situation, one that all of us in the first world can feel breathing down our necks. Even if we don't believe that we're being watched at all times, I think we're all aware that we do seem to be headed in a surveillance-heavy direction. (Speaking of, ever heard of the Surveillance Camera Players?)
But that sort of thing is a dime a dozen in the world of dystopian literature. What I particularly like about Twelve Hawks' world is the Harlequins, raised from birth to set aside their humanity for the good of the whole, charged with protecting the Travelers no matter what. Against lover, child, friend, or foe. There's something about Maya's journey, her attempts to throw off her responsibilities before embracing the life of the blade, her belief that she can balance a personal life and devotion to a cause if she just does it right, that I find fascinating. The idea of giving up everything for a single obsession is something I'll never wrap my mind around, but I keep wanting to try.
I'll admit, I rolled my eyes more than a few times while reading this. More so than with The Traveler. Some of the more comic booky/action moviey bits didn't work for me. Gabriel's time with the free runners, for example, seemed written just to be adapted to screen or video game. Also, I wouldn't mind seeing the plot turns progress past Gabriel meets person/people >> Gabriel learns something important >> Gabriel has to escape quickly >> the people he met get killed/attacked/brutalized >> repeat. But the good outweighs the bad, and I'll pick up The Golden City when I see it on the rack.
PS: Look up the author - he's semi-anonymous. Claims to have never met his author. No one knows he real identity. I love that shit.