Monday, April 1, 2013

Michael F. Stewart - Assured Destruction - Review & Giveaway

About the Book

Sixteen-year-old Jan Rose knows that nothing is ever truly deleted. At least, not from the hard drives she scours to create the online identities she calls the Shadownet.

Hobby? Art form? Sad, pathetic plea to garner friendship, even virtually? Sure, Jan is guilty on all counts. Maybe she’s even addicted to it. It’s an exploration. Everyone has something to hide. The Shadownet’s hard drives are Jan’s secrets. They're stolen from her family’s computer recycling business Assured Destruction. If the police found out, Jan’s family would lose their livelihood.

When the real people behind Shadownet’s hard drives endure vicious cyber attacks, Jan realizes she is responsible. She doesn’t know who is targeting these people or why but as her life collapses Jan must use all her tech savvy to bring the perpetrators to justice before she becomes the next victim.

My Review

This is a groundbreaking young adult novel. It handles characterization in a whole new way. Janus, our technologically savvy heroine, splits her 16-year-old personality into multiple social media outlets. She calls her new family Shadownet. She sits in her basement surrounded by computer monitors each displaying a different avatar. They tweet, blog and update their Facebook statuses automatically. She interacts with them as if they were real.

But they did start off real. Janus' mom owns a computer shop accepting discarded models for destruction, but Janus swiped a few for her own use. Scouring the hard drives looking for details about their previous owners, Janus recreated them as digital profiles she can control. Her father abandoned them, her mother is wheelchair bound and she has no friends at school. Her utter loneliness prompts her to fashion an online fantasy world driven by her imagination, but available for the world to watch in real time. It's like Sybil meets Lisbeth Salander.

Shadownet includes:

A cartoon version of Janus, black straight hair, overlarge dark brown eyes, pale complexion, pointy chin, but without the zits.

Her conscience, grandfather, confidante, and Magic 8-ball. This computer is so old, it's pre-Internet, but Janus trusts the advice that he spits out like a fortune cookie. His monitor doesn't display an avatar, just a blinking dash.

A set of screaming lips. She's a tough cookie—33 years old, single, baby clock ticking, no relationship prospects. She serves as the release for Janus' anger and frustration. She constantly heckles people on her Twitter feed.

A doll head from Janus' childhood. She's 10 years old, naive and startlingly innocent from a rich, white, urban Canadian family. She replies to spam emails asking help winning a lottery prize or collecting an inheritance.

A cartoon version of Janus' classmate, Jonny. He's a graffiti artist who's infatuated with her, but she rebuffs his advances.

Chewbacca the Wookie. Modeled after another of Janus' classmates, Harry. Teaches Janus how geeky, late-to-puberty boys think. A great online chess player.

Modeled after Janus' arch rival at school, Ellie. Janus tweets in Ellie's voice through Tule and allows everyone to trash her online.

Michael F. Stewart is an author to keep an eye on. His mix of social media awareness and today's youth culture is fresh and cutting edge. His exploration on how a teenage girl handles abandonment and an above average intelligence is smart, funny and authentically real. It's a fascinating look at how Janus tries to hide behind the anonymity of technology while discovering more about herself, and the effect she has on others.


Assured Destruction can be purchased at:
Amazon (paperback), Kindle

Prices/Formats: $2.99 ebook, $8.99 paperback
Pages: 185
ISBN: 9780981269948
Publisher: Non Sequitur Press
Release: March 22, 2013
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

About the Author

After crewing ships in the Antarctic and the Baltic Sea and some fun in venture capital, Michael anchored himself (happily) to a marriage and a boatload of kids. Now he injects his adventurous spirit into his writing with brief respites for research into the jungles of Sumatra and Guatemala, the ruins of Egypt and Tik’al, paddling the Zambezi and diving whatever cave or ocean reef will have him. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers and SF Canada, and the author of the Assured Destruction series, 24 Bones, The Sand Dragon, Hurakan, Ruination and several award winning graphic novels for young adults.

Links to connect with Michael:
Web Site
Blog Tour Site

About the Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Wow, what an amazing review. I am so honored. Thank you. And thank you for spreading the word too!

  2. Connie, thanks for the review! So glad you enjoyed it :)

  3. YIPPEE thank you so much I got your email and emailed you back