Simon's Bookcase

Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe


Hacker: Malorie Blackman, January 20—23, 2014
My rating: ♦♦♦♦◊

HackerMalorie Blackman’s classic Hacker got itself another whirl this week. Told through the eyes of schoolgirl and amateur programmer Victoria, we hear of her father’s supposedly wrongful arrest for stealing £1million from the bank at which he works. Victoria and her adoptive brother set about trying to unmask the real culprit to exonerate their dad.

There’s an awful lot right with this book. Bearing in mind the target audience, the plot is clever. Although simplistic, the obligatory red herrings are coupled with genuine clues that, with enough thought, might lead you to work it out. That is mystery writing at its best – a clever solution that is not immediately obvious but retrospectively leaves you smacking your head for not linking the nuggets hidden throughout the narrative.

As any self-respecting young adult (okay, kids’) book should, Hacker has a good bit of school angst. Nothing sets up a story like school – a familiar setting to which we can all relate. Blackman even worked a bit of foreshadowing into it! There’s also a well thought-out home life for Victoria, with a complex sibling relationship and an adoption backstory that still forms part of her character now.

The strangest aspect of Hacker is the unexpected semi-update that it’s received. Originally written in the early 1990s, it now sees Victoria reading Harry Potter. Despite this, banks still apparently have atrocious security and allow non-complex passwords. Being juvenile fiction, it would be unfair to pull apart the contrivances but when so many of the salient plot points remain dated, bizarre cultural reference corrections don’t seem to make sense. In my view, the story would have retained more integrity had it just been allowed to age. A minor confusing quibble, though, and not one that takes away from the book.

A quick read with a good pace, Hacker is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon.


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This entry was posted on January 23, 2014 by in 4 star.

Author Cloud

@Queen_UK Adolf Hitler agatha christie Alan Clements Alastair Campbell Aldous Huxley Aleksandr Orlov Alex Shaffer Andrew Neiderman Anthony Burgess Arthur Miller Bateman Ben Brooks Ben Elton Bram Stoker Bret Easton Ellis C.J. Cherryh Carolyn Jess-Cooke Charles Dickens Chuck Palahniuk Dan Brown Dante Alighieri dashiell hammett david baldacci David Brin David Glattauer David Kirkpatrick David Line David Tennant David Wolstencroft Dylan Jones E.L. James Edgar Allen Poe Emilia Fox Eoin Colfer Erica Spindler Frank Peretti Gabrielle Lord Gareth Roberts Geoff Ryman George Orwell George R. R. Martin George W. Bush Gillian Flynn Gillian Slovo Graham Greene Guy Piran Harper Lee Harriet Lane Herman Koch Ian Rankin J.K. Rowling Jack Thorne Jacqueline Rayner James Herbert James Patterson Jasper Fforde Jeff Green Jeff Kinney Jeffrey Archer Jem Lester Jenny Robson Jeremy Clarkson Jerry B. Jenkins Jim Thompson John Crowther John Green John Grisham John Tiffany John Verdon Jonas Jonasson Judith Kerr Juliana Foster Justin Richards Kaci Hill Karen Levine Keeley Bolger Louis Walsh malorie blackman Marissa Meyer Mark Haddon Mark Z. Danielewski Martin Sixsmith Mary Higgins Clark Mary McNamara Matt Haig Matthew Ravden Michael Berry Michael Connelly Michael Morpurgo Michael Quirke Miguel de Cervantes Mike Lancaster Morris Gleitzman Morton Rhue Neil Sinclair Nick Hornby Nick Page Patricia Cornwell Patricia Stotley Patrick Ness Paula Hawkins Paul Johnston Peter James Phil Allcock R.J. Palacio Rachelle Dekker Raymond Chandler Richard Bachman Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Ludlum Robin Cook Robin Kirkpatrick sandra brown Sebastian Beaumont Sharon Osbourne Stella Rimmington Stephen Cole Stephen King Steve Lookner Steve Lyons Stuart MacBride Sue Townsend Suzanne Collins ted dekker Terry Pratchett Tim LaHaye Tim Randall Todd Strasser Tom Avery Tom Bower Tom Cain Tom Hoyle tony blair William Golding William P. Young William Shakespeare