Twinmaker [NOOK Book]


You can be improved. . . .

Can you really change your body just by carrying around a coded note? Sure—the advanced technology of a d-mat booth will transport you anywhere instantly, but can it also make you taller, stronger, more beautiful? Clair is pretty sure the offer is too good to be true. But her best friend, Libby, is determined to give it a try, longing for a new, improved version of herself.

What starts as Libby's dream turns into ...

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You can be improved. . . .

Can you really change your body just by carrying around a coded note? Sure—the advanced technology of a d-mat booth will transport you anywhere instantly, but can it also make you taller, stronger, more beautiful? Clair is pretty sure the offer is too good to be true. But her best friend, Libby, is determined to give it a try, longing for a new, improved version of herself.

What starts as Libby's dream turns into Clair's nightmare when Libby falls foul of a deadly trap. With the help of Jesse, the school freak, and a mysterious—but powerful—stranger called Q, Clair's attempt to protect Libby leads her to an unimagined world of conspiracies and cover-ups. Soon her own life is at risk, and Clair is chased across the world in a desperate race against time.

Action and danger fuel Sean Williams's near-future tale of technology, identity, and the lengths one girl will go to in order to save her best friend.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Australian author Williams (coauthor of the Troubletwisters series) begins a science fiction trilogy set in a future where “d-mat” technology, which allows for cheap teleportation and item replication, has created a seeming utopia of plenty. Seventeen-year-old Clair, like her friends, is always in search of something new and exciting. Then she and her friend Libby run across rumors of the Improvement process, which uses d-mat to illegally improve one’s body. When Libby changes in surprising and terrifying ways, Clair is plunged into an ever-deepening web of conspiracy and danger and forced to go off the grid, guided by the entity only known as “Q.” Eventually, she discovers the secret at the heart of her world, and what she does next could save society or destroy it. Williams spins a sprawling and complex tale, built on an impressively well-constructed premise and held together with intrigue and tension. While some of the story beats are predictable, Williams’s exploration of technology and its implications fuels a fascinating story. Ages 13–up. Agent: Jill Grinberg, Jill Grinberg Literary Management. (Nov.)
Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
Booklist (starred review)
“In the masterful hands of Williams, the technology, which has eerie parallels to contemporary life, provides a solid platform for great storytelling, and teens will revel in the drama, Clair’s tenacity, and the memorable characters who discover that their utopia isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”
Alison Goodman
“TWINMAKER took my breath away. A triumph of thrilling action and vivid imagination.”
Scott Westerfeld
“A mind-blowing adventure about what it means to be human, and what it means to find ourselves.”
Garth Nix
“A gripping YA thriller, coming of age and love story that transports the reader to a future that looks a whole lot better than it really is ... Highly Recommended.”
Alaya Dawn Johnson
“TWINMAKER asks smart questions without easy answers, and presents a future so simultaneously wonderful and terrible you can only believe in it. A thrilling, existential head trip worthy of my favorite anime, I couldn’t stop reading this book. More importantly, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.”
The Horn Book
“Compelling...handily juggles ethical debates, swift action, and a well-developed setting.”
VOYA - Brenna Shanks
Clair is the sensible friend; Libby is the impulsive one. Libby's newest fad may get them both killed. D-mat technology allows people to transport from one place to another in this future world, but it has safeguards to make sure the traveler's genetic patterns are not scrambled in the process. Someone has been tampering with those safeguards. A chain letter offers the girls Improvement, the chance to use D-mat technology to re-create themselves, quite literally. Libby, who hates her facial birthmark, jumps at the chance, with dire consequences. Clair soon learns that Improvement may lead to madness and suicide, but she may be too late to save Libby or herself. She seeks help from the school loner, Jesse, an Abstainer (someone who rejects technology), while a mysterious hacker leads her deeper into the Improvement conspiracy. An inevitable love triangle between Clair, Jesse, and Libby's erstwhile boyfriend throws in some romantic tension. The plot is fast-paced, and Clair could be any teen girl (today or in the future). Themes of genetic alteration and technology abuse are adequately explored, but the cliff-hanger ending leaves things unfinished. Teens who like the Uglies series or Corey Doctorow's works may be attracted to this book. Reviewer: Brenna Shanks
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Clair and Libby, both 17, are best friends, but they couldn't be more different. Libby is impulsive and easily bored, while Clair likes to finish what she starts. The futuristic society in which they live relies heavily on dematerialization technology, machines that allow people to teleport themselves and fabricate material goods. When Libby uses "d-mat" to improve her looks, Clair starts to worry that something has gone terribly wrong. This leads Clair to uncover layers of corruption at high levels of government. Given the dystopian genre, it's not surprising that the plot contains a love triangle, lots of adventure, and an abrupt conclusion that makes a sequel seem inevitable. The science-fiction elements are complex and confusing when juxtaposed with the action-heavy plot. While the book does touch upon self-image issues, the concept of "Improvement" is tangential to the meat of the story. The title functions as a spoiler for a plot development that doesn't occur until a third of the way through the book. In spite of these issues, this novel will appeal to dystopian fiction fans who want an accessible new read. Give this one to teens who enjoy action-packed books such as Veronica Roth's "Divergent" trilogy (HarperCollins).—Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH
Kirkus Reviews
To save her best friend, Clair must uncover a terrible conspiracy in this futuristic thriller. A viral message offers Improvement, changing a person's looks, intelligence or anything else by modifying their "patterns" when they use the teleportation technology called d-mat. Few believe it can work, as it circumvents d-mat safeguards. The d-mat technology solved the energy crisis, allows people to replicate material items and provides instant teleportation anywhere--it helps to maintain world peace. But Clair's best friend, Libby, tries Improvement anyway--and claims it works. But she's struck with terrible headaches, mood swings and erratic behavior. Worried, Clair turns to the school freak, a boy whose family abstains from technology, to see if their movement knows anything about Improvement. Before learning that the Improved end up brain damaged and committing suicide a week afterward--a fate Clair must save Libby from--Clair attempts it. Her only noticeable change is gaining a mysterious hacker/digital stalker who claims to want to help Clair, even as shady people try to kill Clair. Clair comes into her own as she strategizes to survive. A tedious love triangle resolves mercifully quickly, but the later romantic storyline is predictable and obligatory. The dangers, casualties and well-written action scenes keep tensions high. Williams marries accessibly explored moral ramifications of future technologies--a hallmark of mature science fiction--with a strong, capable teen heroine and heart-pounding action (just flip past the romance). (author's note) (Science fiction. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062203236
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/5/2013
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 670,535
  • Age range: 13 years
  • File size: 644 KB

Meet the Author

Sean Williams is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of several novels for adults as well as the coauthor of the middle grade series Troubletwisters with Garth Nix. As a resident of South Australia—which he reports is a lovely place a long way away from the rest of the world—Sean has often dreamed of stepping into a booth and being somewhere else, instantly. This has led to a fascination with the social, psychological, and moral implications of such technology. When not pondering such weighty matters, Sean can generally be found eating chocolate (actually, he eats chocolate when pondering these matters, too).

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2013

    Fun read but needs a better title.

    I love this book. I love the storyline, characters and technology. Yet there is one thing I would change. The title. When I hear/see the title I think its about a birthing mother or something along those lines. The cover is what first intrigued me. I give him credit for that (and of course everything else about the book). I would certainly recommend this to someone to read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 26, 2013

    more from this reviewer

       Twinmaker is a high action science fiction that kept me guess

       Twinmaker is a high action science fiction that kept me guessing. 
        I was pretty confused at the beginning, but the mystery sucked me in despite not really understanding the technology and terminology. I figured it out pretty much as I went along, I just didn't get what exactly led society to these measures, and while there seemed to be science behind most of it, I didn't really get the hows and whys. Never the less, I still enjoyed and I liked the characters, and wanted to know what would happen to them. 
        Clair was easy to like, she was concerned about others, and really wanted things to change in a positive way. She of course, got herself into a lot of situations, but I appreciated how she responded with courage, but also with humanity. She kept others, feelings, and morals in her head, but still did what she had to do to help her friend. 
        The twists in this one were good, and a few of the things even with the build up took me completely by surprise. The secondary characters also made this one stand out for me. I really liked Jesse, the "freak" mentioned in the synopsis, and Q was absolutely amazing. She was a source of strength and friendship that I never saw coming. 
        One aspect that I didn't like was the cheating and betrayal. But then again, it was handled in a way that I could respect. Things happened in the heat of the moment, and it wasn't kept hidden. I just didn't really understand where the feelings where coming from, and why they had to be there. Couldn't it have still been the same story without the mentioned love interest belonging to another person at the beginning? I dunno. But I guess that it was a source of character development and she really showed remorse with it, and it never sat right with her, the feelings in the first place, so that makes a difference too. 
        I was surprised at some of the philosophical questions that were raised from some of the things going on in society and the reasons behind some of the resistance to using it. Most had powerful reasons not to and had been hurt or lost people that led them in their distrust and breaking away from the new norm of society. It was neat though how it took different forms, and how some of the groups banned together for the good cause. 
        The ending wrapped some things up and then with the others it just left me hanging. It was long and I can understand why that was the stopping point, but still. 

    Bottom Line: Fast paced, and action filled. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 17, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Twinmaker is a very high tech dystopian action adventure. Full o

    Twinmaker is a very high tech dystopian action adventure. Full of artificial intelligence, futuristic technology, and a way to make yourself better without any work But everything comes at a cost, including this new "Improvement" that Libby, Clair's best friend, has decided to try. This is the first step in Clair's journey into a dangerous conspiracy. 

    The book is full of action, it's almost non-stop, but it didn't ever quite get to the point where it was too overboard. It kept the pages turning fast and easy. The technology was introduced in a way that made it seem part of everyday life (which is was for our characters). This is the technology that Clair must take on head to head to try and save Libby. 

    While the strange Q wasn't the main character, she was by far my favorite. While I had figured out part of her secret early on, the author did a great job when it was time for her big reveal and made the wait to find her true story well worth it. Clair was about as dynamic as they can get. At times she seemed to be an entirely different person that what she started as. 

    I almost gave this book five stars. Q was just a little too into everything and came to save the day against impossible odds a little too easily at times. I would have liked to see them work a little harder for it sometimes. 

    *This book was received in exchange for an honest review*

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  • Posted November 12, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    3.5 Stars 'Twinmaker' is the first book in a new YA science fic

    3.5 Stars

    'Twinmaker' is the first book in a new YA science fiction series that discusses a world almost entirely dependent on technology and the devastating effects this may have. The story follows main character Clair Hill - a normal girl who goes to high school with her best friend, Libby, and crushes on guys. Everything changes when Libby admits to getting a secret message telling her about Improvement - a mysterious way to change whatever you don't like about yourself by using a code while teleporting. Libby's impulsive and does Improvement without telling anyone first. Although Clair believes that Improvement is a scam, she begins to worry when Libby starts missing school, complains of terrible migraines, and doesn't act normal. Clair is determined to figure out just what Improvement is and what it has done to Libby, so she can change her back. Little does Clair know that by questioning Improvement, she's opened a giant can of worms that will have her racing across the globe to save her own life. She won't give up that easily though, and soon Clair joins forces with unlikely allies and does things she never dreamed possible - all in order to stop Improvement and save Libby. Will she be able to get to Libby in time? Will she be able to stop Improvement before it hurts someone else?

    It's really hard to write a review for this book after just finishing it. I'm still trying to grasp some of the concepts and ideas used in the book, mostly about the technology and the details surrounding it. The world that the author created was completely fascinating and I loved learning everything I could about it, from the Water Wars to the technology that everyone used daily and how everything worked. The descriptions of everything were very detailed and vivid, so it was easy for me to imagine myself alongside Clair in this strange world. I could actually see this technology being created sometime in our world - we may have the capabilities to do it - and that made it all the more interesting to me. As I mentioned, the world that the story is set in relies heavily on strange technology and I found it confusing and hard to follow at times when the characters detailed what was happening and what would be happening during a plan. I have to admit that some of it went over my head and that did bring my interest level down a bit, but only because I was unsure of what was being said or done. It popped the bubble I was in while reading and I found it hard to re-engage with the book after that. The characters were all well written, especially Clair. We get to see her character really grow and mature in the book as she goes from normal teenage girl to a wanted rebel taking on the government almost single-handedly. The plot was really compelling and I really loved learning about Improvement and the government conspiracy behind it all. The ending left me confused and underwhelmed - I feel like there should have been more to it. Now that I know it's just the first book in a series, I feel better about the ending and hopeful that the next installment will less confusing. This was a great start to a promising series that just needs some tweaks to be awesome. I'll definitely be reading the second book to see what will happen next and hopefully get some answers to the questions left after the first book. Recommended for fans of YA science fiction and dystopia.

    Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Posted November 5, 2013

    I received an advance promotional copy of Twinmaker so was lucky

    I received an advance promotional copy of Twinmaker so was lucky to be able to read it before it hit the bookstores.

    This story was full of suspense, technology and sci fi classic elements incorporated in a modern way which makes it feel modern and not like you are reading something that is out of date.

    This book to has a fine heroine in Clair who has to get tough and scrappy fast to try to understand what is happening to her friend Libby whose vanity has led her to try some risky "improvement" in the DMat booths which instantly transport users from one location to another (Dr Who?) and even fab their food and clothes for them.

    There is a small group of Abstainers from the DMat technological wonders (which makes me think of the Amish today) who Clair must contact in an effort to help solve the riddle of Libby and Improvement.

    There is lots of fun computer and internet innovations as well in the "near future" story. Meme's and trolls and an advanced web with a super character introduced who is simply called "q."

    All this adds spice to a fine action line and drama which kept me wondering what the heck was gonna happen next.

    This is a bit of a skim job review, the best thing to do is get the book and take the adventure yourself.

    I thought it was fun being a Californian to have many scenes in the Central Valley around Sacramento, Manteca and Yuba City as these are places I have been.

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  • Posted November 5, 2013

    Unique Concept Right away this book reminded me of The Uglies

    Unique Concept

    Right away this book reminded me of The Uglies series -- there is a lot of lingo and background information that you have to catch on to by intuition and context clues.  For someone like me who has read a lot, I was able to pick up the intentions pretty quickly.  Plus I'm used to books like Feed and Uglies where there is a different set of parameters for everyday speak.  If you aren't, don't worry, you'll catch up.  It is probably the reason people said they had a hard time in the beginning of the book.

    I loved the world that Sean Williams created.  It was rich in technology and pretty vividly imaginable.  The world is now run by d-mats, or devices that will transport you anywhere on earth.  You and your best friend can live in different countries and go to the same school half way around the world together.  What an amazingly brilliant concept!  Along with d-mats, there are fabbers which can reorganize particles and create items (food, clothing, stuff in general).  The rule is once the item has been in the fabber, it can be recreated.

    Of course, with every good technology, there is a downside.  In this instance, there is the fact that you body is being particularized every day.  When Clair looks to a boy from school, Jesse, for help, we get to learn a bit more about Abstainers (or Stainers).  These are people who are off the grid and don't use the d-mats to jump.  Jesse talks about how his father believes that even going through one time actually breaks apart who you are as a person, killing you in essence and removing your soul...  This concept was pretty thought provoking and made me think on a different level about what makes us who we are.

    From the synopsis, you should be able to glean that Clair's friend is in trouble.  She is beautiful, but of course sees her one blemish as something hideous that needs fixing, so when she is offered Improvement, she takes a chance to fix herself.  This idea of body image was thrown out in the first few chapters, but I wish we could have seen a little more inside Libby's mind -- getting to the root of the body issues.  Instead, we see things from Clair's POV, understanding that she hates things like her nose, but would not try to change who she is.  She doesn't seem to understand Libby's plight against her issues.

    I read a lot of reviews before I picked this one up and a lot of people don't seem to like Clair.  I do, but not because she is some great person -- she is a real girl and her flaws just made me like that.  She doesn't always make great decisions, and is jealous of her best friend, but those are things that make her human.

    If you're looking for romance, then you should probably move to another book.  There are romantic issues, but it isn't a focus, which is pretty great because there is already a LOT going on in this book.

    There are a lot of REALLY cool things happening in this world.  There is action and a lot of the crumbling facade of the 'perfect world' our main character has come to know.  This is one of my favorite aspects of dystopian novels -- how we can build up a society and trick the people into believing the world is perfect -- and that it only takes a handful of people to knock that world on its side.

    For me the best part of this book is the science -- it's fresh, original and kept me glued to the book.  We created a world that didn't rely on economics and what should be a better society is still just as screwed up as we are.  There are people that use the technology to make life better, but then there are people that use the technology to create chaos and terrible things.  This is a great lesson for teens (and adults!) to learn.

    Rating 3.5/5 stars

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