In the city-state of Easton, an augmented reality known as Veneer has spread to every facet of daily life. It has replaced computers and televisions, books and paintings. Those who can control the veneer live in a constant state of redefinition, of the world and of themselves. Those who cannot are forced to stand by and watch the world change without them.
Deron Bishop wants to live in the augmented world, but reconciling the veneer has always been a challenge. Already resentful of the one thing he could never master, Deron doesn’t realize how much he needs the veneer until a violent run-in with a childhood rival robs him of his virtual sight.
Now able to see the world as it truly exists, Deron must choose to abandon Easton or fight his way back to the veneered fantasy of his previous life–a fight not everyone wants him to win.
Available in print and for Kindle at Amazon.com.
Cover artwork by Jonathan M. Foerster. atleastwedream.com
Marlena P Norman – 7/26/2014 – 4 Stars
Don’t Trust a Veneer
I'm not actually sure if I like this book or not... it's not all happy endings and good triumphs. Actually, it's.... rather violent and painful and downright crappy at times. That being said, it was incredibly *readable*. I finished it in one sitting. If you're looking for a sweet, empowering tale, move on. But, if you're looking for gritty and under the surface, this is the book for you.
Brenda Ayala – 5/29/2014 – 3 Stars
It was so close to being great. So close. There is a very real ability to write, a way of describing the futuristic aspects without being overindulgent. Perhaps this is because the idea of the veneer is one that is easy to relate to. Everyone knows about smartphones, about how we are making it increasingly easier for media to pervade every facet of life. So upon reading this book, I can honestly say it felt like a very real potential future; one in which the platforms for media cover every inch of our world.
The author brought to life some behaviors that felt chillingly real--a bit too realistic, and a bit too close to home. Because Steb's twitchy fingers after playing his videogame, the restlessness that he exhibits with the lack of visual stimulation, seems far too truthful. Everyone reconciling their veneers so that they can be the best parts of themselves was far too graphic, given the fact that everyone would change parts of themselves if given the opportunity. And the lack of self-worth and self-identity was far too accurate too. The world has learned to live behind a beautiful facade--how do you come back from that? How do you go from seeing the best version of yourself everyday, to seeing the mediocre version, at least in your own eyes?
It's incredibly intelligent world building. It stems from very real issues we face today, particularly the obsession with ourselves that is so prevalent in my generation. Really, this world was terrifically clever and I was impressed by the writing ability.
Maybe you're wondering why I gave it three stars, if I was so impressed? Because it deteriorated into schoolyard antics and romances. Schoolyard bullies who have no reason for the hatred. I suppose it works in that Russo, the bully, was ostensibly a psychopath and a sociopath. He goes so far as to kill two people and to attempt to kill another; even his failure not serving as a deterrent. It made for a damn good villain, but I still had a hard time reconciling this dastardly asshole with the image of a schoolyard bully. It didn't make it any less believable, only took a little of the enjoyment out of it for me.
What really killed me though was the whole romance part of it. I really don't have any clue what point Ilya had to the novel, aside from being a nice little side venture while we're waiting for Deron to return to Rosalia. The tryst between Ilya and Rosalia, at least as far as I could tell, really didn't hold any value to the plot other than maybe popping some tents for the reader. Which is fine and all, but it just drove me crazy! You've created this awesome world that actually makes sense and you instead choose to focus on a girl being raped by another girl?
Given the opportunity, I would tear out all of those excess pages and just stick with the meat of the book. It was such a strong, fundamentally engaging idea. And after it was over, it was still a fundamentally engaging idea, just with a little less power in the punch.
David Gaughran – 5/9/2014 – 5 Stars
An unexpected gem
I had zero expectations going into this book. It had been sitting on my Kindle for ages and I remembered nothing about it. Anyway, I'm glad I started reading because it's FANTASTIC.
A lot of SF theses days seems to congregate around certain themes and tropes, but Veneer is something very different indeed. It takes an emerging idea (augmented reality) and runs with it into the distant future. The writing is really tight, the story grips you right from the start, the characters are fully realized, and the central conceit of the book (which I won't spoil by going into) is very, very smart.
Matt – 4/17/2014 – 1 Star
I was extremely disappointed to find that this book was homophobic. It is also disappointing to see that the other reviewers had no problem with an author and book with a homophobic agenda. It supports bigotry. If reviewers has warned about the homophobic bigotry, it would prevent people from wasting money on offensive books.
Utenzi – 3/9/2014 – 5 Stars
Incredible futuristic cautionary tale
I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads: First Reads.
I really enjoyed Veneer quite a bit. It was very original and Daniel Verastiqui has created a realistic and very futuristic setting for the story. The characters really came alive due to Verastiqui's eloquent writing and apparent insight into the minds of teenagers.
The book isn't a casual read but it's well worth learning the lingo used in the book because it's a very compelling story. As a cautionary tale for what might come in our future, it's chilling---but also hopeful since having the Veneer technology would be really wonderful--and dangerous in the wrong hands. Technology often presents a double edged sword.
There's violence in this book and it's a testament to Verastiqui's skills that you feel so bad for the victims. The violent scenes are used to demonstrate the dangers of this future world and it works. You really wonder whether it's better to buy-in or scram and go back to nature.
This is an incredible book, and the paperback version has an amazing cover. I love the graphic design. It's a true work of art.
PattersonReichsAVI – 3/2/2014 – 4 Stars
Lovely Novel by an Author that Shows Great Potential
I was lucky enough to have been given a free copy of this book through Goodreads: First Reads, and did not purchase this novel.
First off, I will say that I did enjoy this book quite a bit. It was pretty original, and Daniel Verastiqui did a lovely job of creating an intriguing, futuristic setting for the story. The characters were realistic and easy to relate to, which definitely made me wish to read more about them, even after I finished the book. Beautifully written, the story hooked me from the first page and kept me interested until the very end.
I've read my fair share of sci-fi futuristic novels, though not many of them have pleased me as much as this one did. Daniel Verastiqui certainly has a knack for writing for this genre, and in my opinion, has some much-needed creativity that many other authors lack. For this kind of book to work, and be enjoyable, the author has to both be imaginative and able to bring their thoughts to the pages. Luckily, this author can do both of these things quite well.
But, despite the book's greatness, it also had a few things that require improvement. One of those things is language. The author curses many times over the course of this novel, despite the fact that he really doesn't have to. This gives some of the writing an immature feel, and was slightly annoying to have to read. Also, Daniel Verastiqui used the words "reconciled" and "veneer" WAY too many times during the course of the book. I understood that they were part of the world he created, but I felt as though he could have swapped them out a few times to seem less redundant.
Grammar and spelling was great, and I found only a typo or two in the entire book. The formatting was good, and the author used nice sentence structures that kept the story flowing smoothly. The vocabulary used was irritatingly advanced at times, however, for the most part, it was good. There was little confusion or jumps in the storyline, and the ending was crafted beautifully, which makes me hope that there will be sequel coming soon.
Overall, I read the book in record time, and was quite pleased with it. I will certainly be looking into reading more of the author's books, and will be giving this to a few of my friends for them to read.
I would recommend this novel to any fan of futuristic novels or stories involving advanced technology and its consequences. Any fan of Sci-fi and action would probably enjoy this book as much as I have.
Veneer is certainly worth reading, and I am happy the author gave me the opportunity to read and review it.
Aggie Reader – 12/20/2013 – 4 Stars
Believing is seeing… and reading
The story follows Deron, a high schooler, his friends and enemies through daily life in Easton. All of the dramas of today’s teens still exist even with the power of the ever-present veneer -- where believing is seeing. But when the veneer begins to break down for Deron, and he can truly see, he can’t believe it.
Verastiqui does a good job of describing the technology core to the story, but not dwelling on it. And the idea of the veneer is contagious. As I was reading, I found myself looking around and imagining the veneer in my own environment. Through it all, the author is telling a human story influenced by cool technology, not a technology story with a few humans thrown in for dialog. The characters are just like people you probably knew in high school. This gives the book an authenticity that keeps you turning pages to see what happens next as things begin to move faster and faster as Deron’s eyes are opened to the world and secrets that surround him. And what are the secrets? You’ll have to see it to believe it.
JungleFrog3 – 10/4/2013 - 5 Stars
Excellent, well written book
I had read another book by Mr. Verastiqui and had enjoyed that one well enough, but this one was absolutely wonderful. The ideas he presents in this book are not only novel but well thought out and explained, bringing to mind the implications of living in such a world and how it might operate. Overall I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it to others.
alp44 – 08/20/2013 – 3 Stars
The book had a very interesting concept about the world and how we see it. However, I thought it was lengthy going the backgrounds and past lives up until now. I was able to skim through a lots of pages and go onto the interesting parts (to me anyway) which is why I was able to finish the book. Definitely a good read just too lengthy for me.
N. Kerr – 07/09/2013 – 5 Stars
Beauty is only skin deep…
. . . or so the old adage goes and in Verastiqui's "Veneer" it's perhaps never been more true and more false at the same time. To understand why I feel this way, you'll have to read the story though; I try to avoid spoilers of any sort in the reviews I offer.
The premise for this tale while not entirely new, builds on the concepts popularized by William Gibson, or for the more graphically inclined, "The Matrix" series of movies. The main characters who drive the storyline are all young adults but the themes of the story do surpass that age group and I doubt that YA readers were the intended audience here, despite another reviewer's indication that Amazon apparently recommended the book based upon other YA selections. There are themes within the story that some parents might hesitate to share with young children but I didn't find that there was anything that would discomfit a well adjusted teen.
The characters are all well developed and most readers will be able to recall someone in their own past that fits loosely into the general mold they initially portray; however, Verastiqui does a good job of developing the characters throughout the story and not letting the characters become caricatures of the various teen archetypes. In fact not only do the characters each have their unique voice within the story, Verastiqui develops a distinct narrative style for each of them that allows the readers to get a futher insight into the characters and their viewpoints on the experiences that shape the story. It's subtle enough to not disrupt the flow of the narrative but to give each of the narrative styles a flavor that adds to the readers enjoyment. The pacing was good and the story itself intriguing, making it difficult to find a natural point at which to stop sometimes; I often found myself saying, "Just one more chapter and then I'll sleep."
For those that read Verastiqui's earlier book, "Xronixle," there are tie-ins to that work as well and Verastiqui appears to have an overarching setting and/or timeline that these books take place in, much in the same fashion that Asimov had tie-ins between several of his works that were not otherwise initially related in content; think of the original "Foundation" series and the R. Daneel Olivaw stories. The two books though are self contained and you need not have read one to enjoy the other. For the full effect and to get the couple of inside or internal references, read "Xronixle" first and then "Veneer," but don't hesitate to read "Veneer" first if you've got access to it; you can always go back and read "Xronixle."
In short: I found this to be a good, well written story, that will likely leave you wanting more. Thankfully, it appears Verastiqui is already hard at work on another installment, so the wait will hopefully not be too long.
Jennifer – 07/04/2013 – 4 Stars
I really enjoyed this book. I was worried as it started out great with the elementary school scene, and then started up with high school and I thought I hope this stays as good as it was. Thankfully it did. I loved it. I found the world that was created was really interesting and instead of a lot of long drawn out explanations of what things are and do, they are shown to the reader instead which I loved! I did like reading the different chapters from different characters POV, some evil people some good people some of everyone. I loved it. I really would like to read more.
Gregory A Haley MD – 07/02/2013 – 5 Stars
Good rainy day read
Good premise, perhaps not explored deeply enough. Perhaps he'll do so in the following books? Liked, and felt engaged by the characters
Deanne Littlejohn – 05/17/2013 – 5 Stars
Loved this book
Really interesting read - and the 'veneer' is fantastic. Author explains the concepts well and I found I was interested and compelled to read to the last page. Waiting for the next one!
Great49er – 04/22/2013 – 4 Stars
Very interesting concept. Surprisingly well done.
At first I was not sure what to make of this book. It seemed like a blend of the Matrix, with Star Trek holodecks, written by Christopher Pike. At times I thought it would become disjointed but it always came back to the main thread. By the end of the book I was very surprised, in a good way.
It would be interesting if a sequel were written, there is arguably a great deal of storyline left since the bad guys got away and are working to undo everything that has happened...
Lynne A. James – 04/04/2013 – 3 Stars
I started to read this book once and did not feel like this was a book that I wanted to read. I came back to it later. Once I got past the part about the kindergartners, I started to enjoy it. I found that I liked it more and more as I read. This goes to show that one should not give up on a book too soon. I am giving this 3 stars only because the beginning did not hint at the great story that followed.
Jeba - 04/03/2013 – 4 Stars
A really enjoyable piece of near-future sci-fi
The premise of this book is fairly simple - somewhere in the fairly near future, society has collapsed and rebuilt itself with the addition of the "veneer", the supposedly innate ability of the people to shape their world to look like whatever they want it to look like. When a young man starts to see underneath the veneer, he starts on a track that leads him to attempt to take down the system. Helping him are his girlfriend and best friend; against him, an entire system of secret agents, plus his childhood nemesis.
The main question here is an interesting one. What would the world be like if we could shape it to suit our desires, like we can online now? The veneer is a means of control for the corporations - things look pretty, so no one questions what the world is like without it. A single corrupt company essentially controls the world, and their agents enforce the control using deadly force, if necessary.
The young characters are well drawn and strongly motivated, whether they're good or evil. I do have some issues with how the author treats homosexuality, but overall I was really engaged by the writing and the book as a whole.
Adam’s eyes – 03/24/2013 – 4 Stars
Love the concept of the veneer - it seems we're only a few years away from this becoming reality. This book was very enjoyable - a mix of dystopian future tech with paranoid big brother/government control, and throw in teenage angst/romance/sexuality. It seemed like teen fiction to me, but marketed as adult - I guess due to the sexuality and what I thought was excessive and gratuitous violence. The violence may be hard to stomach if you're sensitive - I know I wanted it to end.
Great read, quite a page turner. I look forward to the sequel.
Joyce – 03/15/2013 – 5 Stars
I found the story line intriguing and it kept me reading. Though the beginning was a bit slow and I almost gave up. But am glad I kept reading. The ending left me hanging. So is there a second book.
dee – 03/14/2013 – 4 stars
Really good read (and I’m an adult)
I enjoyed this book so much that my main complaint is that I didn't realize it was only part of the story. The ending left some huge questions unanswered which, I suppose, is a good marketing ploy to get people to buy the next book, but I felt cheated at the end and like I was being manipulated.
On the other hand, the only reason I care about that is because the story was engrossing and perfectly paced with realistic teen characters (I remember!) and a mind-bending view of a world where you only see the projection of the reality people wish was there, and not what is. So interesting! I do want to read the next one, and will most likely buy it once I get over being annoyed.
Ramona L. Voight – 03/08/2013 – 3 Stars
never caught my interest
I have to be honest and say I never read very far into it. It didn't interest me enough to make me want to read further.
Bogart – 03/06/2013 – 3 Stars
Worth the read at the price I got the book.
It was a good read on a pretty cool world. I am not interested in the next in the series as I have all of the world that I can take for a while.
On the bright side, teens should get this as a book report because there is a lot teens having sex in it.
rowens70 – 03/02/2013 – 5 Stars
A very well written and imaginative story. I can't wait for the follow up book. We all have a Veneer.
Kathleen – 02/27/2013 – 4 Stars
I got this as a free download and have to say that it was a pretty interesting concept for a book.
K. W. – 02/22/2013 – 5 Stars
I honestly didn't expect an amazon prime book to be this good. I loved the concept behind this book and it had a very engaging story. I know this author has another book that is available on prime for free. I will definitely check it out.
Jane – 02/20/2013 – 3 Stars
Interesting story line, wish it hadn't been written for teenages and there were a few holes - I would have liked some things explored more but it was okay and lasted me a few nights.
Jared Kuolt (Seattle, WA) – 02/12/2013 – 5 Stars
Honest, well-conceived science fiction
First, I'd like to say that I was worried about Veneer because it's a self-published title. Perhaps I'm being a bit crass, but I find that most self-published books I've attempted to read are poorly written, or have awful (non-existent?) plots, or thin plastic characters. Quite often it's all of these.
Veneer, however, is quite a good book. It could have used a bit of an editor's red ink but otherwise I found it to be highly entertaining and unpredictable. There were times when I got through a portion of a chapter and thought "Why the heck did that happen? Is the author just filling pages?" but then was surprised to find a real reason, one that relates to the plot or character development. My low expectations were often confounded this way.
If I were forced to give an idea of the flavor of this book, I'd say there's a little of both The Giver and Brave New World, with a tiny splash of The Matrix. The ending was a bit confusing, though that did not diminish my level of post-climax satisfaction (yikes, did I just write that?)
If you're on the fence about this book, give the author a chance. Being self-published is not easy. If you find that you don't like the book after reading this review, feel free to berate me.
Avandec182 – 01/31/2013 – 4 Stars
Everything was great…except the ending.
Book was really good...fast paced, good character development...but the ending disappointed me (hence knocking one star). I understand writing with a sequel in mind, but some resolution is expected. Also, as other reviewers have stated, this is definitely not YA in my opinion.
GregAusTex – 01/30/2013 – 5 Stars
Imaginative premise well executed
I enjoyed the story line and the core premise, the idea of Augmented Reality. I can't help but think that it really isn't much of a stretch.
A lot of sci-fi is based on imagined possible technological advances far in the future. This one only requires the normal sequence of incremental advances that you would expect to see in less than a generation from today.
In a very real sense businesses and governments augment our reality already and do so in a way that is appealing enough for us to accept but that serves their interests. If that ability to Augment in a controlled manner is dramatically improved (and it will be), the world of Veneer is a credible result if society doesn't advance in other ways at the same time.
A fun well written story I highly recommend.
MOlivo3335 – 12/14/2012 – 5 Stars
Take the plunge into an Augmented Reality – Great Read!!
Veneer: a well written sci-fi book witha good imagination that makes you invest in the characters, their lives, and others actions towards them. This book takes the notion of being plugged into the web to a whole new realm where the world as we know it is solely dependent on the Intranet.. Where agents are above the law and when common citizens learn to really manipulate the veneer the justice system and societies dependence in being linked in are put to the test...
Everett – 10/09/2012 – 5 Stars
Fascinating science fiction
The augmented reality presented in this book is almost plausible, building off of the idea of creating a "perfect" image for yourself and the world you live in. The shifting perspectives in the narrative gave you a different way of looking at the characters and the story. Overall, a well written book with an ending leaving you wanting more.
Bob – 09/08/2012 – 5 Stars
Perception is reality, but not really!
I planned to read several books in parallel during my vacation, but ended up reading straight through this one - just had to see what happened! The desire to mask one's true self and hide behind a veneer is common to all humanity. Skip forward into the future and see how powerful, high-tech veneers change the world and everyones reality. The veneers are powerful and different, but people are the same - they use veneers to hide, control and to take advantage of others. This story is full of surprises, technology and conflict that drew me in, and is set in a high-tech future that really made me wonder if this kind of world might someday become a reality. Very thought provoking and creative! Be warned - the sex, language and violence definitely makes this an adults-only book.
Lauren Ellis – 09/04/2012 – 5 Stars
A unique view on augmented reality
It is a rare thing to come across good science fiction these days, but Daniel Verastiqui's Veneer certainly stands out from the crowd. He writes a very plausible view of augmented reality where anyone can reconcile what they want onto anything, be it their car, wall, or even their own face and body. Veneer explores the never satisfying desire for perfection, even at the cost of losing reality.
As some reviews have said, there is a lot of language, violence, and some sex. Although the main characters were under the age of 18, I think this book is more for adults than young adults.
But other than that, it is a great addition to any sci-fi lover's library and a must read.
C. Stevenson – 07/28/2012 – 4 Stars
Young Adult Fiction?
This book was recommended by Amazon following my purchases of the Hunger Games trilogy for my teen-agers. The Hungers Games got my 13 year old reading for the first time. I read the Hunger Games as well, enjoyed them and figured I would follow the recommendation and hopefully find another book to offer to my daughter.
The Veneer is interesting idea and I wish the book had been written for adults. Instead, the writing pitched at a teen audience yet includes grisly, violent scenes and some sex. I must be too old fashioned, because the writing isn't good enough to overcome my reluctance to expose my kids to the sex and violence depicted.
Nageltr – 05/12/2012 – 2 Stars
Another writer who can not end a story
There was a lot to like in this book. But after a long, drawn out post-climax section, the story suddenly concludes with no real resolution. It is obvious that a sequel is intended but a story should still have a conclusion. There was also a weird element of male homophobia running throughout, while lesbianism is presented positively. That in particular gave a real immature feel to the writing.
Sam – 03/14/2012 – 3 Stars
This was a pretty entertaining story. The futuristic world and technology was intriguing with just the right amount of mystery.
Elena Reinoso – 02/22/2012 – 2 Stars
This book had a lot of borrowed themes. It was almost too much Matrix and Minority Report thrown in. There were some interesting ideas: Would you stay if you knew your whole world was a sham? Would love be the same if you looked differently that what other's thought? Although, I could really get into the "why" of the characters. What really drove them? That being said, I read the whole thing.
Jess B – 02/20/2012 – 3 Stars
I read this book because I downloaded a free copy for my Kindle and the description left me very intrigued:
After reading Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson my mind was primed for an alternate reality. In that sense this story didn't disappoint. The development of the world where "veneer" hides the reality of everything that exists and people can be anything they want to be left me enthralled. However, the characters fall short of making me really care.
Amy Cox – 02/10/2012 – 5 Stars
Changed my views on writing good characters
I loved every single thing about this book. It was seamless, well-orchestrated, well-researched, the lingo was slick (unlike a lot of harder science fiction), the characters, the cities. AHh! It was just so very well put together like an intricate puzzle and worked out perfectly in the end.
The most powerful part, for me, is how it's changed my views on how to write a good character. perhaps it's because I was just reading a poor example this evening, but I realized that what a character looks like is inconsequential MOST of the time, and yet so many writers drag on and on about it.
Veneer changed that for me because the *veneer* is the important part. I can't say much without giving away spoilers, but hopefully you'll experience that shift as well.
And one aside, I didn't notice if this was intended as a young adult novel, but the main characters are about 17 years old. There is crude language, violence, and sex. Just a heads up if that's not your thing, or you don't want *your* young adults reading that.
Todd Pruner – 01/25/2012 – 5 Stars
Veneer is my kind of science fiction book because there are many aspects of Verastiqui's vision of the future that seem not only possible, but probable. Veneer's characters are well developed, and they show us a future where the virtual world dominates the real one to the point that we question the very idea of 'reality'. The suspense of the story makes you want to keep reading, but Verastiqui's unique take on how we may soon interact with each other sets this novel apart.
Travis Holmes – 01/22/2012 – 4 Stars
Fascinating Ideas, Great Read
There are some powerful ideas at work in this story. Anyone who's spent much time on social media is familiar with the idea of people presenting different versions of themselves online. This book takes that concept and brings it into the realm of the physical in a world where it's commonplace to reconcile imagery onto surfaces, including buildings, walls, and even one's own face, all with a thought and a touch. The main characters are high-school students, serving to further heighten the stakes since there are few creatures more obsessed with appearance and presentation of self than the high-school student. This is the kind of book that reminds you why science-fiction is such a powerful genre - a glimpse into a possible future that reflects upon the very real present.
ForrestC53 – 01/03/2012 – 5 Stars
Forget drugs. These books are a trip!
I first read Daniel Verastiqui's other book, Xronixle. I was surprised at just how realistic the characters seemed and how intrigued I was to find out what happened next. And trust me--there were some wild turns! Only a half crazy, half genius mind could write a book like that. No sooner was his next book, Veneer, out than I had a copy in my hands. Not surprisingly, the first page I read established that this book was not only going to be another "can't put it down" experience but also that things were going to only get crazier and that Daniel Verastiqui was not going to pull any punches with this book. Whether you're normally into sci-fi or not (it's usually not my main pick) this is one book that you'll share with your friends and keep on your bookshelf.
R. Van – 10/5/2011 – 5 Stars
Never read a Science Fiction book before... but I have to say, I could not put this book down. I loved the creativity.. I have my husband reading it now and he has a hard time putting it down also.. I look forward to reading more of these books from Daniel Verastiqui.
jen – 09/29/2011 – 5 Stars
Read this book!
I generally hesitate to try books from authors that I haven't read before, because my leisure-reading time is extremely limited. I'm really glad I took a chance on this book. It's one of the most engaging books I've read in a long time. I got completely sucked into the story and ended up staying up all night to find out what happened. There were lots of twists and turns- while the story did flow logically and naturally I didn't find it predictable. I thought the characters were very real, flawed, entertaining, and intriguing. I enjoyed the shifting perspective and the fact that the characters were quite multifaceted.
I found the concept of the veneer fascinating and quite a scathing and insightful commentary on modern society. It wasn't too heavy-handed or preachy, but very thought provoking.
I also liked that it was really easy to picture and understand the world's constraints. If you're not familiar with the genre (as I'm not), sometimes it can be hard to remember a particular reality's "rules," but in this case I didn't have any trouble visualizing the "world" because the writing flowed so naturally; besides, I felt that the veneer was really an extension of the world we live in today. I feel that Verastiqui struck a great balance of providing detail and background without being overwhelming.
Overall this was one of the top three books I've read in the past year. Get it now, you won't be disappointed!
KirbyLane7 – 09/29/2011 – 4 Stars
Veneer is Snow Crash mixed with The Matrix mixed with Degrassi High…
...if the kids of Degrassi Street swore and engaged in R-rated activities.
I've been a fan of Verastiqui since reading his first novel, Xronixle, and I'm happy to say his sophomore effort is just as exciting and suspenseful, if not more. Veneer had me from the very first sentence, which if you read the preview you'll get an idea of Verastiqui's sense of humor. He masterfully blends elements of science fiction, the coming of age of adolescents, and a suspenseful story line with multiple twists that will make you laugh and question your reality at the same time. I found myself letting loose a hearty guffaw on one page, while on the very next page I was murmuring a "holy cow!" whilst raising my brow, which leads to those rare "I must finish this chapter" moments.
While Veneer uses typical Cyberpunk themes (gritty technology gone awry, what-is-real-what-is-not-ness, evil ethereal-like corporations hell bent on the destruction of the protagonist), Verastiqui peppers in brilliantly-written sarcastic teenage characters that have the ability to change reality with their mind and, well, I can honestly say I've never read anything like it. An epic quest for redemption? Death? Sex? Check, check, check.
The only reason I'm rating this 4 stars is because Verastiqui still has room to grow in his writing in order to be held in the same regard as upper echelon Cyberpunk authors like William Gibson and Neal Stevenson - a feat I wholeheartedly think he can achieve. Get this book.
Lee Moody – 09/29/2011 – 5 Stars
Things not as they appear…
Veneer depicts a future where kids learn at a young age to manipulate their surroundings. Nothing is quite as it seems. If someone doesn't like the way their face looks, they veneer it. Old buildings are veneered to look new again. And on and on. Everything looks great, but obviously there are cracks beneath the surface. What happens when someone loses their ability to see the veneer at at all?
I'm not even that big on sci-fi normally, but I really enjoyed this book. Veneer has a very creative concept that is a reflection of our society today. With the constant Photoshopping of everything these days, this setting hits uncomfortably close to home, in a good way. The characters, several groups of high school students, gradually put together the pieces of what's going on, and I was right there with them wanting to know what happened next. The kids have typical problems of students: long-standing rivalry with a violent bully, whether to manipulate an unrequited love into being with you, how to free yourself from just being someone's sidekick. The author provides the story from different perspectives so no character is just a cipher or cliche. Their individual struggles fit in well with the larger plot of figuring out the things that are amiss with the veneer and in life as they know it.
Veneer is futuristic fun with a good amount of sex and action, but it's also got deeper messages about society which in my opinion is good sci-fi. I recommend it!
TonyWebb – 09/23/2011 – 5 Stars
A totally captivating read!
This young author is cut from the cloth as many the most creative authors of our modern society. Veneer was exceptionally well written; inspiring many alternative concepts of the world around us. The Authors ability to paint a picture of "masked" reality was fascinating and original. Can't wait for his next project!
Faloi – 09/22/2011 – 5 Stars
Interesting take on the progress of technology
This book is a well thought out and well written take on the march of technology; told against the backdrop of overwhelming corporate control over daily life and the struggle of a group of adolescents to come to grips with what, exactly, is real. Considering that people today can point their phone at a building to get information about it, the Veneer portrayed in the book isn't too far fetched. Interesting questions are raised about what level of control society might allow a corporation, what happens when the technology starts to break, and what happens to the people that want no parts of it.
The story is compelling, and the questions raised in the undercurrents are no less compelling.
Timothy Thomas – 07/19/2011 – 4 Stars
Sex, Violence, and Augmented Reality
Verastiqui's book was a fascinating take on the myopic world of teenagers. He imagines a world in which everything is a computer generated facade (veneer in the books' parlance) over concrete blocks and real people's visages, that can be easily changed with just a thought. Teenagers are able to look like cartoon characters or any other way they want. A fight between two teenagers leads to a glitch in the system that makes all the characters deal with what reality really means. Fascinating ideas about the identity of who we are vs. the way people perceive us.
Just Jane – 07/02/2011 – 5 Stars
Veneer Forever Changed
You will never think of furniture when you hear the word Veneer again. This book so creatively changes that paradigm and reveals new conclusions! You find yourself rooting for the different characters, all easy to identify with. Scorching fast read. When is the sequel coming out?
James Dollar – 06/02/2011 – 5 Stars
Loved the shifting perspective
It kept me guessing to the end! The shifting perspective and in-depth character development kept me glued to the screen way past midnight.
I even found myself experiencing my own veneer as the book went on.
Another excellent sifi