Yes, it's almost two inches thick and more than 400 pages, but that shouldn't deter readers from procuring this book promptly ... virtually irresistible, with twisty-turny, didn't-see-that-coming manipulations guaranteed to keep readers wide awake into the wee hours ... translated by Singaporean novelist and playwright Jeremy Tiang, who dexterously conveys Chan's amalgamation of prose, text streams, e-mails and blog posts complete with belligerent comments ... Chan presents what initially seems to be a linear mystery--solve the dead girl's murder--and amplifies the thriller into a multi-layered treatise on overcrowded cities and its overlooked citizens (his native Hong Kong earns character status here), the unchecked power of the Internet, the grey ethics of revenge, and the potential limits of morality in business, friendships and even among family members. Deftly controlling multiple narratives beyond the sisters' tragedy, Chan exposes high tech, high finance, high fraud, high school hierarchies, dysfunctional families, absent parents, relentless surveillance, sexual politics and rape culture. For readers, the provocative mix of urgent contemporary issues and page-turning action won't disappoint.
Chan Ho-kei has worked as a software engineer and video game designer, and his knowledge of the latest technology shines through in his new high-tech thriller ... This story could have taken place in any major city in the world, but the urban Hong Kong setting adds flavor and brings the reader into a world that expats and outsiders are rarely if ever privy to ... unlike the many 'expat fiction' crime novels and thrillers set in the city, was written by a local for a local Hong Kong readership. It’s not often that English readers have the chance to read thrillers that focus on things central to Hong Kong culture ... Chan’s choice of sexual assault is timely, but his occasional use of derogatory language to describe women seems contradictory to the message he wants to convey: characterizing women as to whether or not they look like 'supermodels' ends up distracting from what one images his point to be. He is however clearer about the disparity between wealthy and working class in Hong Kong.
...a very timely and propulsively plotted tale of cyberbullying and revenge ... Second Sister touches on universal themes like punishment and forgiveness, and it explores the gap between offline and online behavior ... Readers will savor every twist and turn of Chan Ho-Kei’s tour de force ... Second Sister is a masterclass on the vagaries of our digital age.
Their search, punctuated by hacking details and sharp-witted verbal sparring, unveils a dangerous swirl of petty feuds, cybertheft, and the existence of a predator stalking Hong Kong’s vulnerable teens. An intense but rewarding blend of technology, deduction, and flawed relationships; fans of Chan’s well-written English-language debut, The Borrowed (2016), will find even more to like here.
... a new complex and well-crafted mystery ... Most chapters begin with short text message exchanges between unidentified antagonists, adding tension and intrigue to the plot ... The story addresses timely and dark themes of society today, including teenage sexual harassment, internet bullying, organized crime, and the machinations of the digital underground ... Chan’s appealing style will hold readers’ interest, especially those who enjoy their suspense set in international locales.
... clever, twisty ... The reveals are both logical and surprising, and Chan populates the plot with realistic characterizations. Fans of hacker thrillers such as Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander books will be amply rewarded.
The premise is a pretty slim reed, really more of an excuse to examine the simultaneously liberating and corrupting potential of the internet, the anonymity it affords people to say what they want, and the temptation that comes with it to indulge in gossip, invective, and maliciousness ... The sense of fatigue with which Nga-Yee comes home from a day's work near the beginning of the novel hovers over the rest of it. Unfortunately, these threads are more interesting than the unfolding of Siu-Man's fate ... This is a novel in which the motivating mystery feels swamped by the commentary surrounding it.