Brilliant, clever, and emotionally engaging -- Watch is definitely a book worth picking up.
I appreciated how Sawyer used science that is current today, twisted it a bit, and gave it believable life in the form of Webmind. Although there is quite a bit of jargon and sometimes Caitlyn, her father, and Matt seem to retreat into their own little world where scientific knowledge is presupposed, there's always enough explained that the science and the plot driven by said science makes sense.
In a especially good touch, Sawyer doesn't neglect Caitlyn's changes and maturing for the perhaps more interesting changes in Webmind's growth. Her shift to sight, her own idiosyncratic reactions to being sighted and how that affects how her value judgments, her ventures into philosophy with Webmind, and how her relationship with her parents changes subtly for being sighted.
For that matter, Webmind's reaction to Caitlyn's desire that he should work to make the world a better place is interesting and I especially love how he extended that desire to include Hobo. That was a touching and thoughtful sequence of events, particularly the way Webmind went about it. I did start to wonder about Webmind's near God-like status in the book though. Could one not draw an analogy between his instant retrieval of all available information to near omnipotence, his answers to all the emails akin to that of a god answering prayers, his refusal to interfere with free will oddly analogous to that of the Christian God's but somehow less hurtful because of his other more tangible offerings?
I can't wait for the next book although I shall be quite sad to see the trilogy done and I particularly can't wait to see if that promise Webmind makes will come back to haunt him. What if she requests his demise at the behest of the governmental Big Brothers? I can't wait to see.
Sixteen-year-old Caitlin Decter was born blind. But, thanks to an implant in her head, she can now see the real world—and also see webspace, the structure of the World Wide Web. There, she’s found a nascent consciousness, which she’s helped bring forth, letting it, too, see the world for the first time.
The consciousness takes the name Webmind. Caitlin’s parents know about it, and so does WATCH, a secret US government agency that monitors terrorist activity on the Web (violating civil liberties as it does so). Caitlin is convinced that Webmind is benign, but her parents are afraid the public will view Webmind—which can now crack any password and read everyone’s email—as Big Brother.
Caitlin discovers that WATCH is on to them. She figures the best way to protect Webmind is by having it prove its benevolence to the world by eliminating all the spam from the Internet.
But Caitlin’s boyfriend accidentally reveals the secret of Webmind’s structure to WATCH. Armed with that information, the government tries to wipe out Webmind. Caitlin travels into webspace, helping Webmind overwhelm WATCH’s computers by redirecting all the billions of intercepted spam messages at them.
Webmind really is trying to help humanity, but Caitlin knows that they’ve only bought a little time. The dark forces of the government—the real Big Brother—will try again to wipe Webmind out. But Caitlin is determined to triumph: she’ll show them that her Big Brother can take their Big Brother.