Cover Image: The Devil's Dictionary

The Devil's Dictionary

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Member Reviews

It took me a while to get into the book, and I blame that on not having read the first book. This is a very different world with empaths, some of who can bond with animals or even plants. There is genetic engineering to create new animals, plus new forms of transportation, communication, and so on. 

Lion Zorn is an em-tracker, who can also predict future trends. This is his story. Some empaths have gone missing and he is trying to find one couple who mentioned a new drug called EVO and then went missing. His life becomes one mystery after another, and his search leads him in unexpected directions.

I liked that this was a true science fiction story, plus the idea of the empaths, and the struggle between those with empath abilities and those without, and the scientific experiments. And Lion’s ability to communicate and bond with animals was fun, however, I struggled with characters that I barely cared about. I went back and read the book a second time and actually enjoyed it more the second time around.

I want to thank the publisher and NetGalley, this is my honest review.
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I really wanted to love this, but ended up being a dnf for now. I might pick it back up but this was so hard to get into for some reason. Maybe another time will be different and I'm not opposed to giving it another shot, but with all the books ok my tbr I just don't see myself doing it anytime soon. Characters lacked depth and I just didn't vibe with anything in this. 2⭐
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I was not the biggest fan. However, I can see people that are into this genre might really love the suspense.
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This book is a delight - a second book in a series that I didn't feel like I was missing major chunks of the story. The story covers many areas that seem to be in the news quite a bit now: ecology, global warming, relationships, reactions to those that are different from us, as well as what happens when people take views that don't allow much overlap with others.
Set in many spots in an altered world, this looks at not only what some changes proposed might look like, both internally and externally. There are references to many current news stories - which may serve to either date or delight readers in the future. And there is enough mystery to keep you reading.
This is a proper science fiction book - there is enough science behind the words that it rings true.
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I want to thank the publisher and NetGalley for letting me read this book. I really wanted to love this book. It sounded like something I could just eat up!

This is a world where there people that are empaths. But not exactly what you expect. Some bond with animals. If one was near a dog then that empath and the dog would share a bond. Some empathy share with fish, birds, ect. Some can track using their empathy skills. I didn't really have that many specific problems with this book, but there was something about the characters that just... fell flat. In order to enjoy a book, you have to get attached to the characters and actually care what happens to them. These characters lacked that pull.
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Everything about this book I wanted to love, but It was a real slog to get through it. The characters lacked depth, and the plot itself was uninspired - even with a really great concept.
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I had loved Last Tango in Cyberspace so I was excited to see that Mr. Kotler wrote a new book. I enjoyed reading this book, it had what I was looking for in Mr. Kotler's writing. Really well done.
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Something about this just didn't click for me. I may be willing to try again in the future but it was a DNF on my end.
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I'm going with two stars instead of one because I didn't read the first book in this series. Maybe I missed a lot of vital information about this world... Overall this story just wasn't for me.

Thanks to NetGalley for the free book in exchange for my honest review.
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A book that I wanted to love, but simply could not. The characters seem wooden and the narrative flat. Perhaps because I was unfamiliar with the world and Last Tango, the the overall experience just missed the mark for me.
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Expectations: sky-high.

Reality: meh.

I didn't really have that many specific problems with this book, but there was something about the characters that just... fell flat. In order to enjoy a book, you have to get attached to the characters and actually care what happens to them. These characters lacked that pull.

Also, I had a problem with the casual drug use in this book. I'm fine with reading about heavy drug use by minor characters, or occasional (or past) drug use by major characters when there's some kind of explanation (like grief, medical necessity, addiction, or a certain situation that requires it). But what I'm not fine with is normalized, recreational drug use by the main character who's a mature adult who should know better.
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The Devil's Dictionary
by Steven Kotler

I want to thank the publisher and NetGalley for letting me read this book. I really wanted to love this book. It sounded like something I could just eat up!

This is a world where there people that are empaths. But not exactly what you expect. Some bond with animals. If one was near a dog then that empath and the dog would share a bond. Some empathy share with fish, birds, ect. Some can track using their empathy skills.

Some empathy have gone missing and the main character, Lion Zorn,(not kidding) tries to find out why. There are the Humans First group, (probably Republicans), that hate the empathy because they love animals. There is the main thing going on in this book I should have said earlier and that is lots and lots of drugs! Marijuana helps empaths abilities so they have to keep it up. There is a new drug out too called EVO that could hamper the empathy abilities. Lion is investigating this.

If the book would have stayed there, it wouldn't have been so bad but it went way over the top! Like way over the top and I read lots of fantasy but it needs to be in context to the story! Here comes the robots, snow snakes, killer animals into a book that is already as meaty as chewing gum! It took everything I had to finish this book. The last third of the book was rough!

I characters were flat, plot was what? I liked the idea of empaths and bonding with animals! I sure wish he would redo this, flesh it out and try again. It could be great.
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Steven Kotler put a lot of wild information into this book. You should read it twice to get the full effect of the storylines. The author weaves a spiderweb of tales intricately intermingling as they lead you through Lion Zorn’s mission to rescue his missing friends, Kendra and Ibrahim. It truly does take reading it twice to fully appreciate everything he masterfully writes. 

The foundation of these storylines begins with a drug named Sietch Tabr that entered the Pharma market as a cure for Autism. It had a psychedelic effect on anyone who used the drug. People who used the drug developed an extremely acute sense of empathy for life, all life, on planet earth. There were many that formed heightened empathic abilities allowing them to emotionally connect with various other species and use that connection to communicate with those animals. Poly tribes were formed by people who shared empathic abilities with the same species. There were some among them, like Lion, that could use their empathy as a talent to track cultural shifts before they happen. 

As with any cultural change, animosity arose between the different types of humans, superior ideologies drove the founding of anti-empathy activist groups, and the division of humanity. Those who did not have heightened empathy wanted to oppress or destroy those who did. Even within the empathy enhanced humans, there was division in terms of 'we can connect to this animal’ versus ‘yes well we can connect to this animal’ egos that just undermined the concept of ‘empathy for all’ that Lion Zorn coined when he outed Sietch Tabr publicly for its incredible side effect. This break in humanity was labelled “The Splinter” and many blame Lion for it. The cultural war between groups like Humans First and the poly tribes is another encaptivating storyline in this book. 

The main storyline in this book is the rising disappearances of em-trackers like Lion’s friends Kendra and Ibrahim. They all appear to be tied to this new drug that makes you trip evolution. Aptly named EVO, this drug has a bad effect on em-trackers sense of empathy. Inhibiting their em-tracking talents for a time. The deeper Lion goes into the depths of the underworld to track down EVO dealers in hopes of finding his friends, the more daunting the conspiracy behind the drug becomes. Enemies have become allies and nothing is what they appear to be. In the end what he unveils has the potential to turn the world upside down all over again.
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So yeah, our main man is this empathy tracker Lion Zorn. As an em-tracker his brain is essentially rewired with his sense of empathy totally cranked up. It also helps him predict future trends and be a human lie-detector. Best part is that weed helps his hone his abilities, so dude smokes a ton of weed in this book. But like, he’s totally right in doing so. Weed helps me write book reviews. I’m smoking a huge fatty right now and this review is fucking great. I’m smoking a huge fatty right now and this review is fucking great… Wait, did I write that twice? Are my subconscious thoughts streaming directly onto the screen? Oh man… This is getting weird… I need to take a break.

**A bag of Cool Ranch Doritos and two ice cream sandwiches later**

Ok, I’m back, sorry about that. Lion Zorn is full of shit.

Anyways, so this world is fractured due to this drug called Sietch Tabr which cranks up the user’s empathy but also creates a sort of cross-species hive mind. So you’re tripping balls and you can feel what your dog is feeling and your dog feels what you feel. After that experience you’re bonded with this group of animals. Pretty kumbaya shit here, but this “empathy for all” divided the world into groups of those who bond with birds, dogs, fish, and the human first movement. This drug would be so rad though. I’d go find a grizzly bear and trip with it and then I’d be best bros with all the grizzlies. Although, I’d probably stumble on a root trying to get close to the bear and end up bonding with an earthworm or something lame. Dry out on the sidewalk after a big rain, dude, that would suck. Grizzlies!

Then there’s this new drug on the market called Evo which makes you trip the evolution of the life. It’s a huge draw to em-trackers due to their connection with the planet and whatnot. A couple of Lion’s em-tracker buddies go missing after finding Evo, so Lion’s like fuck this laying low shit, I’m going to go track down and save my friends. The game is on feet, dudes! 

Lion’s hopping around the world chasing clues, getting Clockwork Orange tortured, and pretty much getting his ass kicked. He eventually connects with his old Moldovan hacker buddy and they end up at the Pacific-Rim Mega-Linkage. With this increased “Empathy for all” huge swathes of land are being turned into nature preserves to preserve the ecology and save vulnerable species. But that’s where shit gets crazy as there’s these people dying at this ski resort there from snake bites. Now, I’m no Jenn Goodall, but even I know that there aren’t killer snakes up in the snowy mountains. I most definitely wouldn’t be shredding the gnar if there were killer snakes up there bro. 

But yeah, his search for his friends becomes this wild dive into genetic engineering, ecology, neuroscience, and some pretty deep philosophical questions if you want to go there. Do we as humans come first or should we strive for balance in our ecosystem? Should we be playing god with genetics with ourselves and animals? Should I smoke another joint after my last episode? Maybe?

Anyways, this techno-thriller was a blast though. The tech seems just ahead of what we currently have so it’s entirely plausible that we could see some of this in our near future. The characters may be a little over the top, but whatever, it’s drugs, killer animals, future guns, and robots. Fuck yeah, sign me up!

Anyways, that’s about all I got. Adios amigos!
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