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.