Title: Near Enemy
Author: Adam Sternbergh
Pages: 320 pages
Published: October 6th, 2015
Source: Paperback from Penguin RH
Genre: Thriller, Noir
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
New York is toxic-- decimated by a dirty bomb. The only people still in the city are those too stubborn to leave-- and those rich enough to escape to a virtual-reality haven, oblivious to the horrors raging outside their windows.
But for Spademan, the city's still home. And for a hit man, it's not a bad place to earn a paycheck.
At least, that is, until a routine job reveals a secret he can't ignore: terrorists are getting ready to attack the city again. This time in a way that should be impossible-- and that will leave the crippled city in ruins.
Spademan may be a killer, and New York may be a wasteland, but he'll be damned if he doesn't try to stop what's coming. And unless he can figure out who his true enemies are, he may be damned either way.
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I'm stepping out of my comfort zone to try some hard-hitting literary fiction. Near Enemy is a book that packs a punch and takes place in a reality that doesn't seem so far off into the future. For fans of Ready Player One, Near Enemy is one heck of a novel that will have you seriously messed up by the end.
The reason I compare this book with Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is due to the fact that it deals with the virtual reality concept. Reality sucks so people have to rely on a virtual reality world to get the most out of what's left of their lives. There was a similar concept between the two books but they were not played out in the same way. The virtual reality world is called the limn and it's primarily for anyone who could afford it. As a virtual reality world it gives free will for people to enjoy themselves except for one very important rule-- You can't be killed through the limn. It's not until speculating evidence gives light to the possibility of death through the limn does Spademan begin to realize that virtual reality isn't the safe haven the world has been looking for after the terrorists attacked.
This book is more a mix of a mystery/crime scene novel and a thriller. You're obligated to follow the clues, along with Spademan, and find out the truth behind the killings and possible murders. This book doesn't stop short of anything. You're always on another lead, stuck in another situation, or even getting it down with a naughty nurse. The fact that this book didn't focus much on romance brings such a relief because I believe I've had my fair share with romance-- especially with YA romances, which are kind of cliche and unrealistic.
The writing style is... peculiar. The only real problem I had with this novel was particularly the writing style. At times it bugged the hell out of me and at others, I was indifferent. The author doesn't use quotation marks in dialogue and everything's just really staggered. I got stuck sometimes where I wouldn't know when a character was talking because I didn't see any quotations. I'm kind of curious, however, as to why the author doesn't use quotation marks. I mean, don't get me wrong. It's a pretty cool perspective and looks good on paper, but I personally wasn't a fan.
How else do I say this? This book was so in and modern. I don't know how to fully articulate this point but being a girl from the city that never sleeps, there were so many references that made my heart flutter. If you're a sight-seer or wanderlust-er, this book will probably convince you to visit New York. There's talk of Hoboken, Times Square, and even Chinatown.
On Goodreads it says that this book is the second installment in the Spademan series. I did not read the first book and don't think it's necessary to fully enjoy this novel. In fact, the beginning of this book doesn't even sound like a sequel. This book is just a follow up to its predecessor and another story about the same character, Spademan. It's not necessarily a 'sequel'.
I think I've covered everything I wanted to talk about. My review doesn't do this book justice. The best way I can describe it is as a book that can be compared to others but is nothing alike. The writing style takes a long while to get used to but it's nothing we book-lovers can't handle. A gritty novel with twists and turns you'll never see coming.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Adam is a contributing editor at New York Magazine and Vulture, and the former culture editor of The New York Times Magazine. His first novel, SHOVEL READY, is a future-noir thriller about a garbageman-turned-hitman set in a dystopian New York City.
Raised in Toronto, he now lives in Brooklyn with his family.