Publisher: Doubleday Books
Date Published: April 8, 2014
A dystopian novel for the digital age, The Word Exchange offers an inventive, suspenseful, and decidedly original vision of the dangers of technology and of the enduring power of the printed word.
In the not-so-distant future, the forecasted “death of print” has become a reality. Bookstores, libraries, newspapers, and magazines are things of the past, and we spend our time glued to handheld devices called Memes that not only keep us in constant communication but also have become so intuitive that they hail us cabs before we leave our offices, order takeout at the first growl of a hungry stomach, and even create and sell language itself in a marketplace called the Word Exchange.
Anana Johnson works with her father, Doug, at the North American Dictionary of the English Language (NADEL), where Doug is hard at work on the last edition that will ever be printed. Doug is a staunchly anti-Meme, anti-tech intellectual who fondly remembers the days when people used email (everything now is text or videoconference) to communicate—or even actually spoke to one another, for that matter. One evening, Doug disappears from the NADEL offices, leaving a single written clue: ALICE. It’s a code word he devised to signal if he ever fell into harm’s way. And thus begins Anana’s journey down the proverbial rabbit hole . . .
Joined by Bart, her bookish NADEL colleague, Anana’s search for Doug will take her into dark basements and subterranean passageways; the stacks and reading rooms of the Mercantile Library; and secret meetings of the underground resistance, the Diachronic Society. As Anana penetrates the mystery of her father’s disappearance and a pandemic of decaying language called “word flu” spreads, The Word Exchange becomes a cautionary tale that is at once a technological thriller and a meditation on the high cultural costs of digital technology.
My ****4.5 STAR**** Review
Xet this meting book! I wot believe I emkl word flu!!
Wow! This book is one that will really leave you thinking!! Not to mention, it’ll make you wish you were holding a “real” book and not your kindle or nook. This book can be downright frightening because you can so easily visualize something like this happening! Got word flu???
This book was just so incredibly interesting! It’s not one of those books that just sucks you right in and never let’s go, but it’s more of a gradual thing. You don’t find yourself zooming through the pages but rather letting everything soak in as you go. For someone that’s looking for a simple read then this may not be for you. The author uses a larger vocabulary than your average read these days, but for someone will a large vocabulary, this will be an easy read.
The POV rotates between Anana and Bart. For the most part I liked Anana’s character. I enjoyed her drive, but sometimes her actions didn’t make sense to me. Bart, on the otherhand, seemed very much cowardly and weak at the start, but later begins to redeem himself. Bart is quite attached to Anana, but hasn’t accomplished proving it in the past. He’s wanting to change that. So, there is a romantic undercurrent, but it isn’t the focal point of the story.
Negatives: There were several times that I was downright confused. The majority of the time, this was the intention of the author. However, there were a few times that I was confused where I was meant to understand. In the end, everything makes sense. I would have liked a better explanation on how the Meme worked, though.
I read an ARC, so I can’t give you any quotes at this time, but I’ll have to say that this book is quotastic! I highly recommend it to those that have a love for dystopian/sci-fi and the written word! This being the author’s first work is simply amazing!!
Warnings: strong language, violence
*I received a copy via NetGalley and Doubleday Books in exchange for an honest review.*
About the Author ~ Alena Graedon
This is Alena’s debut novel.