S T Xavier
on Feb. 6, 2015 :
I actually purchased this book a second time just to put a review on it. At the time of this post, we're fighting for a ranking spot in the sci-fi section, and it's totally worth it to add this review for it.
I read this book shortly after it came out in April 2013. Below is my copy-pasted review from Amazon, which still qualifies:
I love stories. I read books for the story. I play video games for the stories. I read comics for the stories. I read webcomics for a different kind of story that updates more often. Digital Divide is proof that good writers and their stories can cross mediums and still tell excellent stories. There aren't many people who can go from sequential-art-based story writing, where each page has to have a purpose and a flow and move the story or set up a punchline, and write an excellent book with a well-thought-through plot line, lots of fantastic events with foreshadowed links to other events, excellent characters, and a good flow.
If you like cop drama, you'll love Digital Divide. If you like hyperconnectivity science fiction, you'll love Digital Divide. If you love conspiracy mystery, you'll love Digital Divide.
And if you love Digital Divide, you'll also love the webcomic it's based on, A Girl And Her Fed, also by K B Spangler. And vice versa - If you love the comic, pick up the book.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on April 13, 2014 :
It's strange to me that I haven't yet written a review: I've been trying to get people to read this book for months. Believable, relatable characters, a protagonist who's a lesbian of color with a disability, thematic elements of transhumanism and what it means to be constantly connected, sharp politics, and things going boom. It's difficult to categorize, because the structure is of a police procedural and murder mystery, but the politics of the situation are inescapable and the science fiction elements are integral without ever stealing the spotlight from the characters.
As a long-time reader of the comic, I was already in love with the world, but this expands it exponentially and stands quite happily on its own.
(reviewed 8 months after purchase)
on March 16, 2014 :
I have been a long-time reader of the webcomic, and was fairly surprised by the size of the world that has been established for it. Everything ties together. Real-world events and histories are used to mesh into a cohesive story that leaves me questioning whether it could become reality at some point. Then I read this story.
There's just so much more world-exploration that can be done in a written story than can reasonably be shown in a comic. Digital Divide expands on the comic and brings it even more to life by pulling out more people's perspectives and putting them in real-world perspective. I took a while to get around to reading the story, but now I am sad that I took so long.
There were a couple of scenes or events that were a bit predictable from a plot perspective, but that's fairly inevitable when reading a mystery, especially when the villain has a penchant for the dramatic. Overall, this was an awesome story, and I'm looking forward to the sequels.
(reviewed 6 months after purchase)
on May 1, 2013 :
I've been reading A Girl and Her Fed since within a week of it launching...as usual, I've forgotten who turned me on to it, but it was almost certainly another webcomicker. It's been one of my favorites ever since. So full disclosure, I'm familiar with the world Digital Divide is set in, and I was predisposed to like it. Hell, I bought one of her in-progress versions as a way to support the comic (waited for the full version to read it). But honestly, I was not expecting this.
The story in Digital Divide is set in a five year gap between chapters of the comic. it does have a couple of appearances of the titular Fed, but none, IIRC, of the Girl. What it does have is a more in-depth exploration of the ideas she's been playing with in the comic. Most impressive, to me at least, she finds a way to give the story a more serious tone without killing the fun, breezy vibe the comic has. Maybe it's just the relative lack of dick jokes, maybe it's because the ghosts and talking koala are missing. But I was astounded at how it felt so much an extension of the comics, and at the same time so much a thing unto itself. Not an easy balance to strike, but she nailed it. I couldn't put it down, and I can't wait for her to write the next one.
So if you like procedurals, or you like stories about cyborgs, or political intrigue, or hell, if you just like a well written story...do yourself a favor and pick up a copy today. Then check out the comic when you're done.
(reviewed 28 days after purchase)
on April 25, 2013 :
Beware! This book is responsible for me staying up past 2am to finish it and babbling to my co-workers about both the book and web-comic. Great character development, great plot movement, outstanding work.
I should deduct a star because now I'm waiting for the sequel. There is a sequel, right? PLEASE?
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on April 22, 2013 :
Digital Divide was a fascinating read for me. It's a decent murder mystery, sure; but more importantly it takes science fiction that is in itself not entirely original (the future of human-machine interaction) and presents it in a novel way.
There are plenty of elements of technology and how it changes the world, but always first and foremost is always what it means, and how it affects the characters.
Everything strange about those elements is shown to us through the eyes of Rachel, who doesn't see the world the way you or I do.
She literally sees the emotions of others in the form of colors that only she can perceive. It's very strange to constantly be reminded by her difference when she describes a person's color frequently as she interacts with them, but also very endearing. It connects us to the character in a way not often achieved in stories; especially one so different.
The plot itself is interesting, but not what I most cared about (I rarely do). The bottom line is: it was an easy and entertaining read from start to finish; but somewhere around the halfway mark I got truly hooked and couldn't put it down until it was over.
For me, that's the mark of a great book. I suspect that I'll end up rereading it at some point, now that I have a better grasp of the world and technology.
(reviewed 15 days after purchase)
on April 15, 2013 :
Well written, I'd highly recommend this both to people who are and who are not readers of "A Girl and Her Fed".
Be aware that, if you purchase this, you are in for some lost productivity: First, once you start reading it's hard to stop. Second, after reading, if you are not familiar with her comic you'll probably find yourself going through the archive.
(reviewed 10 days after purchase)
on April 9, 2013 :
After following Mrs. Spangler's highly entertaining "A Girl and Her Fed" for the last few years, and recently having gone and reread that entire archive, I decided on a whim to give her new novel a try.
Not surprisingly I find "Digital Divide" to be a well written and interesting storyline that leaves me looking forward to, and impatient for, the promised sequels. It looks like these stories will be joining my list of titles worth re-reading.
I also suspect that my impatience for another peek into Spangler's world means I'll be going back through the comic archive again in the near very near future. (I started before I finished typing this review.)
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on April 8, 2013 :
There is a sense of deja vu for me when buying this book as I have bought the 3 parts that were serialised. Instead of skipping to the 'new bits' I read from the start & I am very glad I did. This is a book that will stand up to multiple re-reads, there are little gems to be found in the pages that on the 2nd read have a deeper meaning.
I bought this after I got home from work, copied it to my reader and put it to the side for a light pre-bed read. Very glad I bought it on a Friday as an unwillingness to put it down meant that I finished it in the early hours of the morning.
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)
on April 7, 2013 :
I had the pleasure of reading parts of Digital Divide as they were published in serialized format. I enjoyed each part and eagerly looked forward to the next one. The writing was so vivid that I felt like I'd actually been to the places where the story happens, and I couldn't wait to go back and visit them again.
Now that I have read the novel in its entirety, I'm getting the same feeling again: I'm eagerly awaiting the chance to visit the characters and the world of the book when the next novel is published.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
James Lewis V
on April 5, 2013 :
When the author first mentioned this project, I didn't know what to expect. A novel based on a webcomic? I approached the book wanting to enjoy it, but also wanting to be objective; pretending to like something I didn't wouldn't do Otter (as most of us know the author) much service as a writer.
Fortunately, I didn't have to pretend anything. I picked up Digital Divide in the morning, and didn't put it down until 2 AM when I reached the final page.
Digital Divide is a great blend of tech thriller and detective novel. The characters feel real and interesting, and the mystery is engaging and exciting. More than that, the novel's approach to the technical and social issues of having cyborgs around was fascinating - what WOULD happen if cyborgs suddenly showed up? How would that impact society, or law enforcement? And how would it impact the people who have become cyborgs?
The book is probably enhanced by having read the comic it's based on, but it doesn't use knowledge of the comic as a crutch - this is a full novel, something anyone can pick up and enjoy without knowing anything about the world it comes from. Do yourself a favor - click on the free sample. Read a bit. It's definitely worth your time.
(reviewed the day of purchase)