13 June 2014

Review: Hacker by Ted Dekker

Outstanding YA Sci-fi

Nyah is seventeen, brilliant, and has lost everything. Her father and brother died in a car accident which left her mother brain damaged. She’s been accepted into a medical trial which is going to cost $250,000—money she doesn’t have. She has a plan, but is left running for her life after it goes horribly wrong.

Nyah teams up with Austin, the only person she’s ever met who is smarter than her. Austin’s dying of a brain tumour, but he’s got a plan … which is a cross between Fringe and The Matrix. He’s trying to find a mysterious person known as the Outlaw, as Austin believes the Outlaw will be able to heal him. In order to find the Outlaw, Austin is hacking into the most complex computer on the planet: his own brain.

The plot is fast-paced as the danger grows ever closer to Nyah. The characters are excellent and the writing outstanding. Dekker is one of the few authors I’ve read who have managed to pull off the combination of first person and third person point of view (first person from Nyah, third person from Austin and other characters). It shouldn’t work, because it’s a technique that reminds us we are *only* reading a book. It shouldn’t work, but it did.

This is only the second Ted Dekker book I’ve read. I like suspense, especially romantic suspense, but the previous Dekker I read (Three) was so full of psychological suspense I didn’t think I could put myself through that again (the only other book that’s come close was Abomination by Colleen Coble). Anyway, while Hacker was full of suspense, it was a mixture of physical and psychological, and I was better able to cope with that (although there was one scene where I closed my eyes. I don't like drills). I still don’t know if I’m brave enough to read Dekker’s older books, but I certainly enjoyed this one.

Hacker is the fourth book in The Outlaw Chronicles, but is easily enjoyed as a standalone novel. I wouldn’t call it Christian fiction—Dekker’s presentation of life and death in Hacker seems to only allow for a pleasant afterlife. Despite this possible drawback, it’s excellent YA science fiction, recommended for teens who enjoyed tech-based Sci-fi.

Thanks to Worthy for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Ted Dekker at his website.


  1. Iola, thanks for your great review. I liked this one too. If you want suspense from Dekker that is not so intense, try one of his really oldies, Blessed Child, co-written with Bill Bright. The sequel is A Man Called Blessed. I really liked those. Have a great weekend!

    1. Hi Beckie
      I've actually read (and reviewed) A Man Called Blessed—I forgot it was cowritten by Dekker. Thanks for visiting.

  2. Iola, great review. He did do the 1st and 3rd person well didn't he? I haven't really seen too many instances of it working so well as this. I really enjoyed it, too.

    1. I think I was about two-thirds of the way through before I noticed the difference in point of view. That, to me, is the sign of good writing—when they can use an unusual technique, and the reader doesn't even notice.

      I've just finished another book which used third person POV, with some scenes from omniscient. Again, the writing was so good (and the plot so strong) that I didn't notice. Thanks for visiting, Ian.