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Attack Surface by Cory Doctorow

February 8, 2022

Masha is a hacker who works for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). She helps to defeat the xnet kids, a group of young people that try to defeat the DHS because the DHS is doing immoral things. Masha is very smart, but then she quits because she thinks what the DHS is doing is immoral. Next she works for Xoth, a cybersecurity firm.  One of her jobs is to upgrade the internet for Slovstakian, so the government can spy on protesters. However, she is friends with a few protesters, so she helps the protesters defeat the government instead. Then she gets in trouble with Xoth, which leads to her getting fired. Soon after, she goes to work with the Army and helps with tech. While there she has to work with Carrier Johnson, who she also admires. 

When readers begin this book they will not be able to put it down. It is written as if Masha wrote it after that fact, which made it more interesting. It was like a small detail that was interesting to Masha, which made it more personal so readers felt connected to her as a character—which makes it more interesting to the reader. The pace was a little slow, but  the slowness helps so that readers can absorb all the data that Doctorow gives them. 

Readers will also note how many small details are in this book and how much better this makes the novel. The details allow readers to hear all of Masha’s thoughts throughout the book. 

Attack Surface is a book that is fun, and readers should read it if they like tech and suspense. It has flashbacks, so it can be a little confusing when readers are reading it. It is a good story that draws readers in. Readers will not want to put this book down.  

Masha as a protagonist at first does not care what people use her work for. As the book progresses she gets more worried about how her work is used and what the companies that she works for are doing. She starts thinking about what could happen if she decides only to use her skills for good. It is interesting to see Masha grow as a character in this way. 

This novel is also the third book in the Little Brother series, which includes Little Brother and Homeland. Readers will enjoy those, and this book will make more sense if you read the previous novels, but you can also read this book without reading the first two.                                 


Tor Books, 385 pages         

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