Saturday, June 14, 2014

Book Review & Interview: "Hacker" by Ted Dekker

Photo credit: NetGalley
My Review

I asked every way I could for the honor of reviewing Ted Dekker's new Outlaw Chronicle installment Hacker (Worthy Publishing), because for me having to wait a day for a new Dekker book is a day too long.  The Outlaw Chronicles explore the ideas of what one's true self is, and forgiveness sooo far below the level of typical conversation.  That's my favorite thing about Dekker books; there is the edge of your seat thrilling story on the surface level, but if you pay attention there is SO, SO much more!  Hacker does not disappoint.
Nyah is a teenage hacker, trying to use her skills to save her mother's life.  She runs into some serious trouble with her hacks, putting not only herself in danger, but everyone she knows.  It's a race against the clock trying to mostly save her mother's life, but also her own.  She learns how to hack not only computers, but herself, and finds out who she really is--what life is really about.  Only when she learns how to surrender, everything falls into place how it is supposed to be.  It's amazing how often life plays out opposite of how we plan, but how it needs to be. 
Hacker reminds me a little of Blink in the sense of making you wonder where the lines stand.  It makes you think about what is really possible, if only you believed--REALLY believed.

Hacker was released on June 10, 2014.  If you haven't read it, why are you reading this still and not on your way to the nearest book store?  TOTALLY KIDDING, you should finish reading this, comment, share, the usual...THEN run to your closest book store, buy it, and don't stop reading till you're finished! ;)  Seriously though, the story will keep you on the edge of your seat and will bend your mind (hack?) to something you may not expect.  "Dedito."

An ARC was provided for review by Worthy Publishing First Look and a digital copy provided by NetGalley for a fair and honest review.  Interview below provided by Worthy Publishing.

(provided by the publisher)
1.      Your main character in Hacker, Nyah, makes a living by cracking the firewalls of major corporations. What role does technology play in her development as a character?
TD:  Nyah roots a great deal of her identity in technology. In doing so she defines who she is by what she does. She even says so at the beginning of the book. I am a hacker. We all do this. For her, technology is what she knows, it’s what defines her, and provides the comfort zone. But it’s also her prison, which she comes to discover later.  
2.      How does personal loss affect Nyah’s view of God?
TD: When we meet Nyah, we find her in a place of great suffering especially for someone her age. That colors everything, just as it does for everyone else. For Nyah, the inescapable question is, “Why is there such suffering in the world?” Or more to the point, “Why is all of this happening to me?”  That offense, that feeling of injustice and unfairness, feeds her entire view of the world, including her view of God as a distant, uncaring creator.
3.      Why do you consider Hacker a modern-day parable?
TD: Parables are meant to re-frame the world differently so we can experience it again for the first time. Hacker takes a simple concept that many people already believe, that there’s another reality so near to us that we’re unaware of its presence most of the time, and puts it center stage. The story doesn’t have a moral or try to make a point per se, because that’s not what parables are for, but it does ask you to look at the world through new eyes—Nyah’s.
4.      The central question in each book in this series is, “Who am I?” What prompted you to explore that question?
TD: The question of identity is central to all of life and, in fact, most of my own striving and struggle can be traced back to it. We define ourselves, almost without thinking much of it, by what we do. I’m a mother, a father, a man, a woman, a writer, an accountant… The list is neverending. But strip that all away, as death will one day for all of us, and what remains? Are you, at your core, really a mother or a father or an accountant? Or are you something far more and we’ve only bought into the notion that this costume, which we call the body and our careers and talents, is really who we are?
5.      The series so far includes a 17-year-old who claims she has been buried alive, a 13-year-old orphan with no memory, and a 17-year-old genius computer hacker. What are the similarities between these characters?
TD: [Laughs.] You’ll have to read the books to find out for yourself. Ultimately, they are all forced to take a journey that begins in the valley of the shadow of death and ends on the other side of it.
6.      What role does the unseen play in your books?
TD: An enormous role, because that’s how it is in real life even in a literal way. Physicists tell us that the visible universe is a miniscule slice of what actually exists, we just can’t see the rest. But just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it’s non-existent.
7.      What makes your characters in this series “outlaws”?
TD: It’s their journeys, which lead them “out of the law” of death and suffering into the light. It’s the same journey we all get to take, and which we’re called to.
8.      You grew up as a missionary kid among cannibals in Indonesia. How do you think your unusual upbringing affects your writing and your faith today?
TD: My upbringing gives me a unique way of looking at the world. Understand, I grew up among people for whom spirituality was integral to life. It wasn’t tacked on or part of life… There was no separation. They believed in the unseen, they witnessed its powers, and lived as though the seen and the unseen were woven together in a beautiful, mysterious way.