His Own Devices: Douglas Wynne
Reviewed By Steve Stred
This is the second book recently that I snagged for review where I was completely unfamiliar with the author and his work. The previous one – Midnight In the Chapel of Love by Matthew R. Black – was fantastic.
I’d recently came across Michael Patrick Hicks posting that he was reading (and enjoying) a Wynne release, so when this one was offered, I jumped at the chance.
This isn’t a typical book I’d want to read. Sure the synopsis had some mention of occult workings, but I’m not personally a big gamer, so I wasn’t too sure how I’d fair.
What I liked: ‘His Own Devices’ follows Gavin, a kid who admires his favorite Youtuber, Rainbow Dave. At first Rainbow Dave, with his massive mohawk, is all about Minecraft, but when he launches his own game, that’s when we start to see his nefarious reasons.
Wynne had me hooked from page one. For a book that isn’t something I’d normally read, I felt tension and anxiety throughout. Learning about Gavin’s dad, stationed overseas, about his limited friends where they’d moved and how he’d connected with this “influencer” was really well done. Wynne gives us a great emotional connection with Gavin and keeps ramping that aspect up as different things arise.
Maybe it’s me currently having a 4-year old who has firmly grasped how to navigate Youtube (his fav Youtubers are Rich from Toy Pal TV, CKN Toys and T-Rex Ranch), I found I was invested in this world Wynne had created. The introduction of secondary characters was really well placed and the pacing of the book was perfect.
The ending of this is fantastic. There’s a very minor supernatural aspect to this book and I loved how Wynne carried it throughout.
What I didn’t like: I think the gaming aspect for some might be a turn-off, but for me it worked really well, so don’t let that deter you. As for me personally, I’ve always hated the “infidelity rumour” aspect of military literature, which was a very minor bit here, but still annoyed me.
Why you should buy this: This book rips along at 100 miles an hour. Wynne gave us great character depth, emotional connections and enough twists and turns to keep us guessing. The ending is anxiety drenched reading, which was really great.
Overall, I loved this one and really think it’s going to have a lot of people talking. Stunning work.
His Own Devices
In 2016 an occult cabal activates a psychic trigger in a popular video game and a countdown to chaos begins.
While her husband is deployed in Afghanistan, Jessica Ritter finds herself navigating the pitfalls of parenting on her own. That includes moderating her ten-year-old son’s screen time—an obsession that hits a fever pitch when YouTube sensation Rainbow Dave releases an addictive new iPad game. Gavin knows he isn’t supposed to keep secrets from his parents, but when his achievements in the game unlock personal messages from Dave instructing him to embark on real world mini-quests, he can’t resist.
In the aftermath of an ambush that leaves her husband missing in action, Jessica grapples with fear and sorrow while clues to a threat closer to home evade her detection. Rainbow Dave, the charismatic host of Scream Time, is America’s cool big brother—a gamer who built a video empire on the strength of his personality. He is also the focus of a shadowy conspiracy hell-bent on sowing chaos with vast technological resources. Dave’s anonymous benefactors have granted him a glimpse of paradise between the pixels, and the real world hasn’t looked the same since. Now, wired with a head full of unholy revelations and a crate full of dangerous devices, he’s on a mission to help his fans “level up” at a live event. Scream Time is coming to town, and it may be too late to stop a deadly game.
Steve Stred is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections. He has appeared in anthologies with some of Horror’s heaviest hitters.
He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with his wife, son and their dog OJ.
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