The Extractionist by Kimberly Unger
Kimberly Unger has created a world that does not exist at this time, but one that I can suspend disbelief enough to say could exist someday. At times it felt as though I had been dropped into this world where the language was foreign-ish but familiar enough, I could fake my way through it. And technical…the story is highly technical, but luckily, I like technology and am able to suspend my need to concretely know and just go with feeling as if I had a general understanding of it. This all makes sense as Unger’s background is in creating video games and working with the cutting edge of VR technologies. This can become a stumbling block for some readers when it can be forgotten that not everyone understands the world an author spends their daily reality in.
Despite these small hitches, I was hooked and could not put this book down. By page two, I literally snorted out loud with laughter. If I would have been drinking, I’m sure some of it would have come out of my nose. Our Heroine, Eliza McKay, or McKay, as she is frequently called, is a hacker with a very unusual menu of jobs that she does. One of those jobs is to enter the Swim, Unger’s version of the internet only, so much more than just the Internet, as you learn through reading, and rescue other personalities who have gotten themselves “caught” in sticky situations. Situations that they are unable to get out of on their own. Being on the government’s unpopular list, McKay hesitantly accepts a job that is interesting but also feels somewhat on the sly. When things go awry, and she is forced to complete the job to less than her satisfaction things heat up. As you can imagine, adventure ensues. With her globe-trotting travels and some very creative characters including Spike, an artificially intelligent being she and her brother created who shows up in the Swim and helps at times. When not helping, Spike offers colorful commentary, not always appreciated by McKay, but it made this reader chuckle.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Unger’s book and would highly recommend it. I would go so far as to say, it could be worth presenting to your bookclub. We’re still doing that these days right? It’s a great book to escape with and share with your friends. With the warm weather coming up it would make a great read at the beach!