Playing With Fire
Sherry D. Ficklin
One brilliant young hacker.
One experimental government aircraft.
One chance to keep it all from going up in flames.
Still recovering from her troubled past, Farris is no stranger to change. But when the military transfers her father across the country to an experimental aircraft squadron, settling in to a new life is the least of her problems. As a series of apparent computer glitches threaten the security of the fleet and the blame falls on her father, she decides to put her computer skills to use digging up the truth. Soon she's drawn into the perilous world of a hacker who is determined to ground the fleet--at any cost.
When all signs lead to someone close to her as the mastermind, Farris will have to burn more than bridges to get to the truth. She will have to risk her fragile new life to uncover the identity of the cyber criminal before they can escalate from harmless tampering... to all out murder.
I was absolutely enchanted with Sherry D. Ficklin's historical romance Queen of Someday. Check out my review. When I found the first book in her #HACKERS series was also free, I had to check it out.
I was pleasantly surprised with Playing With Fire. It's been awhile since something in the contemporary genre has really grabbed me. I haven't ever read a teen book that takes place on a military base so the novelty of that was intriguing, as I'm not at all familiar with that lifestyle. I was really impressed by the technical jargon but also relieved that it was all worded in a way that someone like me, who's head is consumed in a fantasy world, can understand. Sort of, anyway. I think I understood it. Something about digital portals and codes, and stuff. Either way, it made sense enough for me to follow the plot and Ferris's clever line of thought. The voice of the story was everything I've come to expect from Ficklin after reading Queen of Someday. Even though the genre could not be more different, she did not disappoint.
Military brat Ferris is a typical outcast as it comes with her calling, but the author made sure to round out her character with just the right amount of punk and girlishness. Instead of scoffing at the prospect trading in her Vans for homecoming heels, she embraced her inner princess and does a great job at being the social butterfly, which I haven't seen a lot of lately with teen rebels. I hope this means rebel and girly are starting to get along again.
I'm not really sure if what I didn't like about the book would bother very many other people. Some of the language was a bit too colorful and too frequent for me. The actual story and conflict took a long time to get going. Too much of your basic high school drama between characters and not enough intrigue and hacker hi-jinks. If it wasn't for Sherry D. Ficklin's voice that I love, I might have put it down for a bit. Thankfully, at the exact line I was thinking, I'm a little bored, things picked up immediately. The pace from there was excellent.
There's a great love triangle to follow. I personally was rooting for the guy that turned out to be a jerk-face, but I think that testifies of Ficklin's storytelling. She doesn't always follow the rules. Most of the rest of the characters are interesting enough to care about and I'm looking forward to getting more of their stories in the sequels. I'll definitely be reading the next book, partly because I won it in a Facebook giveaway! (I'm telling you, it really pays to follow your favorite authors) But honestly, I would have read the next book In Too Deep, anyway.
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