> Bless Their Hearts Mom: Book Review: The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon
Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Book Review: The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this ebook, free of charge, from NetGalley for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it

The Word Exchange  cover


A dystopian novel for the digital age, The Word Exchange offers an inventive, suspenseful, and decidedly original vision of the dangers of technology and of the enduring power of the printed word.

In the not-so-distant future, the forecasted “death of print” has become a reality. Bookstores, libraries, newspapers, and magazines are things of the past, and we spend our time glued to handheld devices called Memes that not only keep us in constant communication but also have become so intuitive that they hail us cabs before we leave our offices, order takeout at the first growl of a hungry stomach, and even create and sell language itself in a marketplace called the Word Exchange.

Anana Johnson works with her father, Doug, at the North American Dictionary of the English Language (NADEL), where Doug is hard at work on the last edition that will ever be printed. Doug is a staunchly anti-Meme, anti-tech intellectual who fondly remembers the days when people used email (everything now is text or videoconference) to communicate—or even actually spoke to one another, for that matter. One evening, Doug disappears from the NADEL offices, leaving a single written clue: ALICE. It’s a code word he devised to signal if he ever fell into harm’s way. And thus begins Anana’s journey down the proverbial rabbit hole .
. .
Joined by Bart, her bookish NADEL colleague, Anana’s search for Doug will take her into dark basements and subterranean passageways; the stacks and reading rooms of the Mercantile Library; and secret meetings of the underground resistance, the Diachronic Society. As Anana penetrates the mystery of her father’s disappearance and a pandemic of decaying language called “word flu” spreads, The Word Exchange becomes a cautionary tale that is at once a technological thriller and a meditation on the high cultural costs of digital technology.


First off, I am NOT a huge fan of Sci-Fi, but this book sounded interesting, so I agreed to review it, without checking out other reviews.If I had I would have known how hard it would be to get into this book. The language is intellectually challenging, but it actually stalls the book and you have to read about 30-40% of the book before it really picks up any speed and keeps your interest. I had a hard time finishing this book, and while the premise was great, the book could have been edited down by half and still been a decent read. If you ARE a Sci-Fi fan, then the book may appeal to you more, and you may be able to get past the serious LAG. If you're looking for a light Spring read though, this isn't the one for you,

About the Author:
Alena Graedon was born in Durham, North Carolina, and is a graduate of Brown University and the Columbia MFA program. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. This is her first novel.

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