I was one of the lucky readers who came a bit late to "Daemon," which is the first half of this story. You really must read "Daemon" first, to understand what's going on in this volume, and I was able to read both with just over a month between. Author Daniel Suarez really has one big book in the two volumes; well, it would be one HUGE book but some pruning would have been possible, even advisable.
In spite of that, I enjoyed Freedom (TM)
in ways that I can't quite explain. There are endless battle scenes, and even some gory torture scenes, which I usually avoid but not this time. The new social order, one character says, was "beta tested by gamers"--and I've never been a gamer. It's full of roiling action and finishes with a lot of loose ends, which isn't bothering me at all.
"Freedom(TM)," like "Daemon," pulses with futuristic technology that's both scary and exciting. Just as mind-bending is the utopian-dystopian model of society, based on regional sustainability and interdependence. The Darknet is created by a legacy of background programs created by a dead computer genius, and members take their levels and reputation rankings from the votes of other Darknet members. In the "persistent world" of the Darknet, a raw democracy prevails. Some of the most powerful figures are avatars, non-living characters; they're never presented otherwise, because for all its technological magic, this is not packaged as a work of fantasy.
The iconic quest of Darknet champion Pete Sebeck is a counterpoint to the passionate intensity of the villains. Early in the book Suarez poses the question: can good grow from evil intentions? "Freedom(TM)" blurs the boundaries, with government security forces and Daemon/Darknet operatives showing the best and the worst of humanity. Greed and the lust for power--well, it's an old story, a "Cybergeddon." Civil disruption and economic collapse provide opportunities for greed.
"Tinkering with the organization of human society"--it never ends well. "Freedom(TM)" challenged my senses the way some movies do. It may not be the most coherent novel you'll ever read, but I didn't find a dull paragraph in it.
Linda Bulger, 2010