Set in a slightly future London, GLAZE is a thrilling and thought-provoking read and one I’d recommend, especially if you’re a regular user of any social network. Why?
Because GLAZE is a futuristic social network that everyone wants to be hooked up to, not least the heroine of GLAZE:
Petri Quinn is counting down the days till she turns 16 and can get on GLAZE – the ultimate social network that is bringing the whole world together into one global family. But when a peaceful government protest turns into a full-blown riot with Petri shouldering the blame, she’s handed a ban. Her life is over before it’s even started.
Desperate to be a part of the hooked-up society, Petri finds an underground hacker group and gets a black market chip fitted. But this chip has a problem: it has no filter and no off switch. Petri can see everything happening on GLAZE, all the time. Including things she was never meant to see.
As her life is plunged into danger, Petri is faced with a choice. Join GLAZE… or destroy it.
Kim Curran’s latest book is a clever, yet disturbing, fast-paced chase through not only a dystopian London of the near future but the omnipotent social network that is GLAZE. It’s her third novel and I think it’s her best yet. (It’s a stand-alone book and not part of the excellent Shifter series, which currently comprises SHIFT and CONTROL. DELETE, the third book of that series, is out in August.)
GLAZE is Petri Quinn’s story: she’s 15 years old when we first meet her, which means that she’s counting down the days, hours and seconds until she can get hooked up to GLAZE, the social network of the moment. Petri’s desperation to get connected is compounded by the fact that she’s a bright girl who’s been put up a year at school. Which means, everyone she’s in class with is already 16 and already ‘hooked up’.
Petri’s a terrific character: her voice is strong and I took to her from the very first page. She’s the only child of a single parent and has had to be relatively self-sufficient because of her mother’s work demands. They have a slightly distant relationship with each other, as a result. Petri’s a bright girl, but not one who shouts about it. All she wants is what a lot of people want: to fit in, to be a part of things, if not the centre of them, and for the dreamy, cool kid in her year to notice her. And she’d really like to be ‘hooked up’ to GLAZE. And all credit to the girl, despite her mother working as a high-level Executive for the company behind GLAZE, Petri hasn’t tried to use that to get connected early.
Kim Curran cleverly shows both the good and bad in being on a social network in GLAZE, especially one as pervasive as this one is. She shows the uses and benefits of having so much information and so many resources readily available and easily accessible before showing how it all could be open to misuse and abuse by the authorities, by the company responsible for designing and running it, by other interest groups and by its users.
If you’re concerned about the way the current media presents (or, depending on your view, moulds and makes) the news before feeding it to us, and how statistics and information are manipulated to suit what ‘they’ want to tell us, then GLAZE feeds right into those concerns. It might also make you reconsider just what you share and who you connect with when you next use any of our existing social networks.
As well as being a timely look at how connected we all are, GLAZE is also a thrilling and unnerving look at how much of our lives are lived and shared online; how much information we give out about ourselves, our family and our friends, complete with locations and photos, and for some people, even with a running commentary of their day-to-day experiences and routine. It’s also an important reminder of what is important: giving your time over to family and real friends and spending quality time with them; making genuine connections with people; looking up and noticing what’s going on in your immediate environment and the wider world; questioning what you consume, especially when it comes to information; and, ultimately, being unafraid to forge your own way sometimes, even if that goes against what the majority are doing, because it might just be the better path.
If that all sounds deep, then that’s because GLAZE gave me a lot to think about, both while I was reading it and for these past few days since having finished it. But that didn’t stop GLAZE from being an exciting, fast-paced read; a technological thriller that I’d recommend anyone, who lives even a little bit online, to read.
Dublin-born Kim Curran is the award-nominated author of books for young adults, including Shift, Control and Delete. She studied Philosophy & Literature at university with the plan of being paid big bucks to think deep thoughts. While that never quite worked out, she did land a job as a junior copywriter with an ad agency a week after graduating. She’s worked in advertising ever since and is obsessed with the power of the media on young minds.
She is a mentor at the Ministry of Stories and for the WoMentoring Project. And lives in London with her husband and too many books.
There is a tour wide giveaway during the tour.
The prizes include;
Hardback copy of GLAZE signed by the author and cover designer
Signed copies of Shift & Control
Meet with Kim Curran or Skype chat if not able to come to London.