Book Review Ayden‘s Choice (Nele Vonlanthen Book 1)

Now to something totally different .. a book review.

 

First a TRIGGER WARNING: If you are a person who tends to be triggered please don’t read the book or this review. Especially if you have problems with family violence and abuse. Really don’t read on in this case.

Link to the Website of the book: http://www.nelevonlanthen.com/

Let’s start with a little Disclaimer and then dive into the review. I got the book for free after I wrote that one of the comic panels on the twitter account to the book universe was not correct. I try to be honest while doing the review. I wouldn’t have bought the book, I normally read a lot but not from first time authors. I have had so many bad experiences with authors abandoning series, or writing bad stuff. If you watch Shads video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XF6yysxS5z8  you see there are many ways to screw up a book.

Just go to amazon and look for free ebooks. I did two literature mistakes in my life: First one reading most of Anne Rice because our crew got the idea to choose one author and then get all the books for a deployment. Second one was to grab a lot of free ebooks from amazon for my year of travel. So now I’m super picky with my reading. You could write a total „Mary Sue Type“ of story, you know the HERO is everything. You know Dragon Ball Style etc. Or if you are a fantasy author you could try to write EPIC. You know : „They rode their Blarf to the Gnarf to drink some Snayrf.“ Because riding horses and drinking beer is not epic enough. Or you can go the full Lord of the Rings style and frontload everything with some hundred pages of „world building“. Or you can have your epic story and are not able to get the epicenes over to your reader. Which is a problem if you want to build a epic series. You have to hook persons with the first book. And to be honest how many first books of a author or a series are out there which are really good ? I’m just rereading Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. To be honest he is my top 1 author. No questions asked. But the first „high fantasy“ books of the series are not really good.

Ayden‘s Choice is the first book in a world, if you look at the WEBSITE or on the twitter account you see that there are a lot of ideas still untold.

 

Sam Felix tried very hard to make a GOOD FIRST BOOK. And now I’m in a hard place. The book itself looks like a book for young adults / teenagers. Not to many pages, bigger font etc. Should I review it as a standalone young person’s book ? Should I review it as a part of a imaginary 60 Book series  ?

 

The writing and the pacing is good, which makes the book a good quick read, quite pleasing from the word crafting aspect. Not to many CYBER CYBER TECHNOBRABBEL, ok a „Use the power of the net“ pseudo fantasy lingo here and there. No Mary Sue Super Hero, good flow. So reading the book is not hard even for a person like me not being a native English speaker (who would have guessed with that bad writing 😉 )

But unfortunately the story part is another beast.

Basically Ayden’s choice is a introduction story in the „NELEVERSE“ and a origin story of Ayden. Like all the Batman and Spiderman you get a superhero origin story. With all the classical problems.

You might know WASP ? Well Lisbeth Salander from „the girl with the dragoons tattoo“ ?. You know, this super duper hacker, with the super bad family story coming out during the series ? Just imagine all the family problems in one book. 2/3 of the book are basically family abuse. Yepp just that beating and all the other bad stuff. So reading that was unpleasant even as a hacker, just knowing persons from bad family’s and not having the problems myself. So as a setup good versus bad this works quite good, to be honest too good. Well till the author had the idea to give the reader a glimpse into the mind of the villain. This works quite well if you have such a epic series like Game of Thrones. But unfortunately this is a short teenager book. So having to slog through 1/3 of the book with all the bad stuff happening just to get to the first action just to have the villain crumbling because of that is not very pleasant.  So basic story Ayden is in hell and the crew around Nele have to rescue him because he is also a hacker talent. And this is the point where the story exploded totally for me. I’m fine with slogging through a origin story even if it is such a unpleasing one. But to have such a super talented hacker crew (the author is trying to introduce them to us, super sleeper compartmentalized opsec galore crew, the social engineer is called deceptionalist) does such blunt errors hurts. They get their surveillance gear found, they never heard about signal proof bags (they are commodity hardware this days ,. rfid, mobile signal proof bags coming in duffel size now), never heard about door locks, safe driving etc. Actually the book is 2/3 family violence and abuse and around 1/3 one of this elite crew trying to fix the problems they had because of some screw up, just to finish the book with a mc guffin. And our hero leaves the book also looking like the last unforgiving asshole.  If you would spread out the story across some books, like Ayden remembering his backstory now and then and have some flashbacks and problems etc it would work. But in this way it is just hard and not very pleasant. Which is quite a pity. The writing etc is good, the idea, world and the comic are quite good. This has the chance to be better than Tom Clancy “Net and Cyber” book series. You know a realistic cool hacker book series. But because of this I really can’t recommend the book. Because I don’t know to whom. It is not a teenager-book, not a hacker book etc. While I look forward for more comics and also other books of this universe I think I can’t give it a 5 star review like the reviewers on amazon. Well that’s all for the first book review on this blog.

 

 

 

Still alive – Braindump 05.07.2017

 

Hello everybody,

I’m still there, just a lot of things going on after my OSCP finished.

I will try to blog more but based on my current assignment it will be a lot more general 😉 NDA and such.

 

What am I up to :

-Building my Pentest gear

-Playing a bit with the Hack5 Bash Bunny

-Building a Pentest “Go Bag” Backpack for travel and incident response

-Setting up the work machine

-Building a report system to make writing my reports easier (you know I LOVE SCRIPTING and Latex)

-Learning more about BURP

-Learning to build stuff using R.

-Homebackup

 

So I will post about this topics .. mostly as a mixture to remind me about my ideas  and also to have a linkdump etc for later on. So my usual rambly braindumps with random lego  pics as usual.

 

 

Topic “Go Back”

 

Three years back I was first introduced to the Idea of a EDC Kit .. so using a pouch to have all your stuff in. I got myself a MAXPEDITION pouch and was quite happy till it got stolen, including my diary and fountain pens .. OUCH.

With the new job I need to travel a lot and also carry a lot of gear (pentesting feels lick a packing mule for electronics most the time) . While working in a clients site I couldn’t get glue or scissors .. because it was a paperless office with heaps of paper .. GREAT. My Goal is to have a backpack with all the MAIN office gear I would need (Part Office EDC), all the Stuff I need to get my Job done (Pentest EDC) and all my regular stuff (Personal EDC) in a organised and modular fashion. Right now I have a “regular” backpack and it is just annoying. So back to the military gear or more specialised backpacks it is.

 

Pouches, so far ….

For the pouches I thought about the VANQUEST ones .. but unfortunately they are “§$§”$$”§$ expensive in Europe .. 100$ products and 50$ shipping + custom fees .. this is not the eve online store boys … So maybe I will find them to a good price in Europe or I will have to find another EDC puch. The nice part of the Vanquest ones is that they have staggered loops for pens, so you get more stuff in them .. great idea.

 

Backpacks so far …

Vanquest has also some interesting ideas, especially their idea to make a mixture of camerabag divided and military backpack, so that each pouch could have a own divider .. nice .. but again postal cost and dutys etc

5.11 with the all hazards prime looks like the perfect solution. Internal mole webbing would mean that I can secure my modular pouches, a lot of room for other stuff (Laptops, NUCS, etc)

Then there is also the mention of the GR 1 .. but again price …

And as a last option just go with a big “dayhiking” and just accept that my stuff is not as neatly but safe 50% compared to the “mil tech” stuff.

 

Topic” Pentesting Gear”

Well not to0 much here .. just waiting for my new work machine and thinking about getting a NUUC as a mobile lab, or also as a thing for password bruteforcing or langer scanjobs

 

Topic “Bash bunny”

Not too much also .. the normal payloads are scary enough for most demos I needed .. but I want to build a payload to run around the most common dlp solutions just for fun .. but not a priority right now ….

 

Topic “Reporting”

Well I learned that Rstudio can process LaTex and can also build the pictures while running the code . .so NICE .. basically I just combined my public report template with some statistics to make the report a bit less technical and with more charts for management

 

Topic “R”

Ok R is a beast .. so much to learn … but it is cool .. basically I got it so far that I can now dump a xls from cvedetails.com and generate my own bar graphs for the cvss score. Seems stupid  I know .. but beats my exel based workflow with ease … Only major hiccup .. you need to remember to import the score as numeric .. otherwise you will wonder why the 10.0 is not on top of the ordered stack but close to the 2.0 .. urgh …

And I buld a map of pirates .. actually I wanted to build a geo ip thing .. but with not enough ram pirates are easier .. not so many and easy t spot if you have a error in your code (not on the oceans .. maybe a error)

 

“R” Linkdump:

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/12315374/grouping-data-into-ranges-in-r

 

split(mydata,cut(mydata$marks,seq(20,100,by=10)))

https://www.r-bloggers.com/bar-plots-and-modern-alternatives/

 

https://www.r-bloggers.com/working-with-the-xlsx-package-exercises-part-2/

 

https://www.r-bloggers.com/reporters-manager-friendly-word-or-powerpoint-documents-created-with-r/

 

https://www.r-bloggers.com/programmatically-create-interactive-powerpoint-slides-with-r/

http://flowingdata.com/

https://flowingdata.com/2016/08/23/make-a-moving-bubbles-chart-to-show-clustering-and-distributions/

http://kateto.net/network-visualization

http://www.sthda.com/english/rpkgs/ggpubr/index.html

http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/wdsi/vacationschool2016/for-participants/materials/knitr.pdf

http://www.sthda.com/english/wiki/lattice-graphs

 

Topic“ Getting fit“

And I also started to use zombie run 5k to get a bit moving again .. so much out of shape .. well pentester 😉

 

General Linkdump:

https://www.reddit.com/r/sysadmin/comments/6kzywq/as_a_new_young_it_guy_in_our_office_who_doesnt/?limit=500

https://www.amazon.de/Phoenix-Project-DevOps-Helping-Business/dp/0988262592

http://blog.ukotic.net/2014/09/01/part-4-the-nuc-for-weight-weenies/

http://www.tagesspiegel.de/wirtschaft/wegen-erpressersoftware-petya-milka-fabrik-steht-seit-einer-woche-still/20013388.html

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170704-the-day-a-mysterious-cyber-attack-crippled-ukraine?ocid=ww.social.link.twitter