Rated 4.22 out of 5 based on 41 customer ratings
(41 customer reviews)

£7.57

When Dan Roberts starts his new job at Former.ly, he has no idea what he’s getting into. The site deals in death – its users share their innermost thoughts, which are stored privately until they die. Then, their posts are shared with the world, often with unexpected consequences. But something strange is going on, and the site’s two erratic founders share a dark secret. A secret that people are willing to kill for.

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Description

When Dan Roberts starts his new job at Former.ly, he has no idea what he’s getting into. The site deals in death – its users share their innermost thoughts, which are stored privately until they die. Then, their posts are shared with the world, often with unexpected consequences. But something strange is going on, and the site’s two erratic founders share a dark secret. A secret that people are willing to kill for.

41 reviews for Former.ly

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    Neil Denham

    I really loved this story, the places described were very vividly real to me, the main characters well drawn, and the plot always twisting and turning. I genuinely believed that this social media start up could exist (and I am sure it is only time before it does, I hope Dane has protected his idea…) From the young organisations I have been involved in it all seemed authentic, and the veer to cultish behaviour (I hope that is not a plot spoiler) also very believable. The ending was a touch ‘neat’ for my liking, but overall a superb novel!

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    Sylvia Puiu

    The story was interesting and quite original in its main subject, because Former.ly is a social network for the dead. I will not unfold other details, because you will have to do that alone. The characters are interesting, but there could be an improvement in the meaning of developing all characters more. Dan Roberts is the main character, but the others are staying in his shadow. I liked Dan and the way Dane Cobain described some feelings and emotions of his or his bohemian relationship with Sarah.

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    Gemma Applegarth

    A really great read. This fast paced thriller expertly combines mystery with realistic and likeable characters. I found myself deeply involved with both the plot and its people. Dane manages to combine a unique idea with an appealing and addictive narrative.

  4. Rated 4 out of 5

    Nikki Dudley

    A great unconventional thriller for the modern day. Some great twists and turns to keep you flying through the pages.

  5. Rated 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Groves

    Thoroughly enjoyed this book. I’ve got quite a few of Dane Cobain’s books and this is by far my favourite. The characters are very well written and I found myself really caring about what happened to them. It left me wondering what was going to happen next. I got hooked on this book and after the half way point I couldn’t put it down until I finished it.

  6. Rated 3 out of 5

    Amber Adamchuk

    A good read, some spots where a little drawn out for me but overall I enjoyed the book. What people will do for fame, fortune, and the little dark secrets that come with it. A few twist and turns on the who, and why especially at the end 🙂

  7. Rated 4 out of 5

    Katie Lewington

    Humble beginnings for tech start – up Former.ly, with founder, John Mayer, giving an informal job interview to our protagonist, Dan.
    You can’t say any of the characters are Orthodox. Certainly not Former.ly, which, soon after Dan joins, moves to an office and expands into a much bigger business.
    The initial characters (Flick, Kerry, Abhi, John, Paul) are not too out of place they take over the opening chapters, and stop us from getting to know Dan, and his likable girlfriend, Sarah.
    Shit does get serious, as a journo ends up dead, and so too do, gradually, staff members of Former.ly.
    As the business gets even bigger, the founders are needing more money, investors, and become ruthless.
    The book reminds me of a Hitchcock movie, with introductions dispensed with, and the story becoming darker.
    Former.ly moves offices to California, and Dan is being run into the ground, and has little time for anything, other than work.
    Cobain knows how to use a cliff hanger, and the hours flew by as I reached the end of Former.ly in one sitting.
    (I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review)

  8. Rated 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Macaire

    Let me just say I couldn’t put this down – it was fun, techie, and littered with bodies. The narrator, an ordinary guy called Dan, is looking for a job in the beginning. He lives in London with his girlfriend, and stumbles on a startup that seems like a dream job – coding for a new company that caters to the dead. Well, sort of. It actually made a lot of sense. Imagine keeping a diary especially to be published after your death – a special diary published on a special site, made especially for giving a voice to those who have gone over to the other side. Well, you get the idea. Even I was convinced. So Dan takes the job, and is immediately submerged in the small group of techies working on this social network for the dearly departed. Startups are notorious for being short-staffed, under-funded, and fueled by caffeine (and other drugs) and this one is no different. Oh, and there are the founders – Peter and John – who demand absolute secrecy about everything, and that means keeping even Dan and the other workers in the dark.
    Dan is happy just to do his job (he loves coding), keep his head down, his nose clean, and try to appease his high-maintenance girlfriend, Sarah – who is less and less happy with Dan’s work taking over his life. Meanwhile, a co-worker, Flick (Felicity), catches Dan’s attention, but they can’t seem to get past the ‘just friends’ stage.
    Bodies start piling up soon after the two founders announce a fantastic investment in the company and decide to move to Palo Alto, in the USA. One of the company’s workers decides to bail – and ends up floating in the Thames. The police are not happy with the idea of an accident. That doesn’t stop the move to the US. But things are rapidly deteriorating. The two founders, not the most stable people in the world, can’t seem to keep it together. They get more and more paranoid, while at the same time, more people seem to be having fatal accidents – not a bad thing for a company that caters to death, right? Well, I won’t spoil it for you – you’ll just have to read the book to find out what happens. It’s a quick, entertaining read, perfect for murder-mystery, techie, nerdy book lovers!

  9. Rated 4 out of 5

    Jaffa Kintigh

    The cutthroat world of internet startups and social networks reveals its darkest side in this thriller about e-commerce and murder. Most enjoyable are the descriptions of the slapdash, duct tape protocols of the startup office–people living at the “office,” and job interviews at nightclubs.

    Dan’s a freelance coder with not enough business coming in. The relationship with his live-in girlfriend has hit the doldrums. Then he lands the interview with Former.ly, an up-and-coming, start-up social networking site . . . for the dead. Clients write their bios while alive, but it doesn’t post until they’ve died. Death = money.

    The company runs on high secrecy, sloppy logistics, and the skin of its teeth. Until a company party ends with a murdered journalist. The press is all over it.

    The quirky staff of Former.ly feel both the stress and thrill of burgeoning success as questions and deaths propel their business . . .

  10. Rated 3 out of 5

    Kristine

    Former.ly by Dane Cobain is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early October.

    A tense, techie whodunit about a website (think Facebook but with a statute of limitations) staffed by dour bunch of people, including the first-person narrator, Dan, who works overtime and on-call, and is susceptible to uneven, awkward, unstable, near-dysfunctional social experiences. They’re doing fairly well, amid lax security, possible industrial spying, lying to the media, and being late to pay bills, up until his coworkers and programmers start to die off. Ultimately, a good book to read at the end of a lousy workday.

  11. Rated 5 out of 5

    JD DeHart

    I enjoyed this story, somewhat in the vein The Circle and Ready Player One. Where this book succeeds on its own is the way Dane Cobain weaves mystery and science fiction together. The tension is very effective in this book, and I found it to be an inviting reading experience. I would recommend this book for science fiction readers, and those looking for a bridge between general fiction and this more specific genre.

  12. Rated 5 out of 5

    Silvia Puiu

    The story was interesting and quite original in its main subject, because Former.ly is a social network for the dead. I will not unfold other details, because you will have to do that alone. The characters are interesting, but there could be an improvement in the meaning of developing all characters more. Dan Roberts is the main character, but the others are staying in his shadow. I liked Dan and the way Dane Cobain described some feelings and emotions of his or his bohemian relationship with Sarah.

  13. Rated 3 out of 5

    Sally

    After a job interview involving drinks, a club (not the wooden bat), and a lack of personal hygiene, Dan starts a much-needed job as a programmer for Former.ly. The company basically runs an online, public diary, except your profile is hidden as long as you’re alive. You have to die to really use the site. That’s right, folks. They’re trying to capitalise on death.

    For Dan, the hours are long, his bosses are weird, and he never knows what’s going on. His strained relationship with his girlfriend begins to show cracks. Dan knows he needs to either drop the job or lose her. But with Former.ly increasing in popularity each day, he thinks this might be his chance to make it big. Plus he’s pretty broke.

    The problem is, there’s more than one good reason to quit. Dan’s paranoid bosses become more paranoid. Break-ins begin occurring at the company. It’s clear the company’s eccentric founders aren’t telling the whole truth. Or even part of it. Dan has to decide whether to jump ship now, or risk waiting until it hits the fan.

    The Writing: 7/10

    “I came to start my new job on four hours of sleep, nursing a hangover with a five o’clock shadow. Still, I got there at nine on the dot and was greeted by John, the young founder, who was wearing a pair of white Reebok Classics and a fluffy pink dressing gown, holding a steaming cup of coffee to ward off the autumnal chill.” -Dane Cobain, Former.ly

    Former.ly is told in first person point of view by Dan. This book was pitched to me as literary fiction, but don’t let that scare you off. I presume it’s literary because of its subtle comments on society and social media but the tone and writing suit commercial fiction quite well. Furthermore, the plot toward the end becomes something of a slow mystery.

    The writing isn’t ethereal and lyrical, as some would expect from literary fiction, but it’s straightforward, has personality, and it works. There are a few places extraneous words can be cut to make sentences snappier, but those aren’t a big issue. The themes are there, but they don’t stick out to jab you in the eye, which is great.

    The plot moves quite slowly but builds up to the climax well. It gradually accelerates as it approaches the climax, but for more impatient readers, the pace may be too slow and dragged out. During some parts, it seems as though a lot of things are happening, but the plot isn’t really moving.

    The world is their office, and their office is their playground. Although the book is set in modern London and America, the real world is in their office and online, on their computers. The offices are described well. These descriptions add to the tone and appropriately shift with the plot. As for the online world, the tech details are a nice touch, but sometimes it feels like too much. It will go over people’s heads. Certainly, it went over mine. It’s often unnecessary to know that applets are being coded in PHP or javascript so the sections with a whole slew of technical terms felt a little pointless.

    The characterisation is like a breath of fresh air. It’s subtle and the character traits are mostly shown by what they do rather than described bluntly. The people are real. Or rather, they have different sides (the main characters, at least). They’re smart, funny, lazy, jealous, sad, impatient, worried, temperamental, and they aren’t afraid to be different. With the plot moving sloth-paced, it’s really the characters that drive the book. I mean, I wouldn’t want to know any of them in real life because they’re crazy, but they’re not flat and one-dimensional.

    My Rating: 6/10

    Personally, I loved the concept but in execution, I thought it moved a bit too slowly. Parts of the book felt like walking in a circle. A very small one. A lot of things were happening, but nothing was really going anywhere. At the end, I could see better that it was a gradual descent, but that didn’t make the slow parts seem any faster.

    I loved the characters. They’re all crazy in the most awesome way.

    Just because I have to be picky, I’ll say this: it bothers me that a professional programmer doesn’t know what a keylogger does. Like, c’mon, it’s in the name. I understand it’s used as a device to explain keyloggers to the reader, but it seemed awkward and forced to me.

    At first, I was a little disappointed by the relationship between Dan and his girlfriend but in the end, it seemed exactly right.

    This feels like one of those books best read twice. In quick succession. Only then do the fine details sink in. I’m just not sure if I want to slog through the slow parts again.

    Conclusion: If you’re more into quick, plot-based books, this may not be the one for you but if you’re willing to wait it out and pay attention to the details, Former.ly is a great read with an intriguing concept.

    For more reviews like this one, check out my blog: https://quillsandroses.wordpress.com/

  14. Rated 4 out of 5

    Nikki Dudley

    A great unconventional thriller for the modern day. Some great twists and turns to keep you flying through the pages.

  15. Rated 4 out of 5

    Stefanie Michelle

    As soon as I read the premise of this book, I knew I had to read it. I’m really glad I did and I also hope by posting my review I can do my small part in helping an indie author. If you liked The Social Network I recommend you check Former.ly out 🙂 I am going to ask Dane for an interview on the blog as well, so stay tuned 🙂

    What I Liked: The concept was seriously so interesting to me. I’m the kind of weirdo who likes to know how oddly specific things work – and getting a peek behind the scenes of a fictional up and coming social network really filled a hole I never knew existed for me!

    I can’t comment on how realistic it is, but it was extremely interesting. I loved the characters – they were so well fleshed out and intriguing, even the many immoral jerks who filed the pages.

    I loved how ‘epic’ this story felt while focusing on a relatively small group of people and a single website. It felt like a very full and fleshed out world.

    I didn’t notice any spelling or grammar errors which is GREAT when you’re looking at independent books and should be more common to see!

    What I Didn’t Like: Okay, so the ending was kind of underwhelming, which is unfortunate, because the twists and turns really kept me turning pages. I just wasn’t as convinced of the motives (without giving much away!) as I wanted to be.

    I found a few parts of the book to be slow paced, and sometimes the writing itself felt like it needed more editing.

    I kind of wished for a character I could really root for – most of the characters had massive things about them that made them unlikeable and immoral in my eyes. That said, for me to care about characters while actively disliking them is a feat for a writer, so maybe I shant consider it a negative.

    Final Thoughts: I did really enjoy this book overall and I hope to read more of Dane’s books. He has very unique ideas and I’m sure the execution will only improve as he grows as an author.

    *** A big thank you to the author Dane Cobain for reaching out to me and giving me an ebook to review!***

    Content Warnings: 18+. This book has swearing, mature content, murder, drinking, drugs, etcetera.

  16. Rated 4 out of 5

    CJ

    This was an interesting read. From the first few pages you pick up that something is not quite right at Former.ly. After a few chapters I was beginning to think it was Black Mirror level of mind f**k and although the cliffhanger and reveal was bats**t crazy, it levelled out to be more on par with a Law and Order episode of the week. I think it only reached “WTF!!” instead of “OMFG!!” reaction level because some of the pacing of the story was a bit off and it felt like it dragged in a few places.

    It was a great read and I have already recommended it to friends. Will definitely be following the author and am keen to find out what he comes up with next. The descriptions of working in a start up tech company were spot on. I should probably re-evaluate my life. Power corrupts!

    Thank you to netgalley for the ARC.

  17. Rated 4 out of 5

    Laura Broadberry

    Former.ly by Dane Cobain is certainly a page turner as you long to figure out what the plot twist will be, and when it will happen. I found the story very easy to read, and it kept me gripped enough to keep turning the page.

    Dan Roberts enters a small start-up tech company, known as Former.ly, and becomes a key part as the company expands to a global level. A social networking site dedicated to the dead, which posts any updates the person privately made on the website before they died, by making the private posts public. But some shady business happens, and Dan is caught in the middle of it.

    First impressions: I really wanted to know what would happen to Dan, but I suspected the founders were part of this shady business to begin with. The ending was a bit of a plot twist, but again, I quite enjoyed seeing Dan deal with the consequences of his actions.

    What I liked: I liked how Dan was an obviously flawed character, like the detectives in crime novels, in which he’s a loner and purposefully doesn’t have anyone to be his weakness. I liked the realistic growth of the company, and seeing how the characters progressed with this growth. I liked how the story progressed, and built the tension up gradually, whilst drawing you in with the first line. I also liked that the story jumped to the relevant plot details, rather than filling in what had happened between those times. Personally, I liked how technical it sounded, because it showed the author knew what they were writing about, but if someone wasn’t in the know about computers and coding, it might not make sense in places to them.

    What I disliked: I’m all for character flaws, but having the founders and his girlfriend being erratic was a bit much. Surely the girlfriend could’ve just been fed up with the relationship and just left, because having her do what she did really felt like it was shoe horned in, regardless of whether it gave Dan a coincidental second chance or not. I felt, in places, the explanation could’ve been a little better, especially towards the end. The end, in a way, felt a bit rushed, and I would’ve liked to have seen more of the aftermath of what happened in prison, for example.
    The book itself was well written in that it was concise and built up tension, but I felt like sometimes it was too rushed or not explained well. However, I did enjoy reading it, and would recommend it to anyone who’d like a well thought out murder mystery.

    My rating: 4/5

  18. Rated 3 out of 5

    Ally

    Former.ly is a small start-up tech company that has a social media website. Think like Facebook but it is private, only the user can see and it becomes public when he or she dies. And our leading character finds himself coding here.

    Dan Roberts is the main character of Former.ly, but I could not click with the guy, which caused me many problem because I always seemed to be putting the book down to do something else. Dan is a very chill guy, maybe too chill. Nothing seemed to really faze him and it bothered me. Having girlfriend problems. Shrug. Company founders being sketchy and secretive. Shrug. Someone died for the first time. Shrug.

    When Dan finally started showing more effort and emotions about the occurrences around him is when I finally got intrigued and hooked with the story. Watching him risk his safety for the truth that surrounded Former.ly kept me gripped. Watching him from going from a loner and a guy that did not really care about anything to someone who threatens the very people who are capable of stealing his life away was beautiful.

    Unfortunately this took more than half the book. I personally enjoy complex characters that keep you wondering about who they are, and Dan did not give me that.

    Cobain writing is simple and straightforward which makes it into a quick and easy read. While it has hints of a mystery novel it does not follow a generic mystery novel scheme. It felt more that I was reading a journal, in this case, Dan’s journal as he writes out his experience with Former.ly. Having lack of explanations on certain things made sense, even when it drove me a bit mad, but like many unreliable narrators this lackness is expected. ( Kinda like Nick was super unreliable in the Great Gatsby )

    Overall, it was an interesting experience out of my fantasy genre. If you are looking for something quick/simple and set in our modern time this is a book you should give a try

  19. Rated 4 out of 5

    The Cosy Dragon

    This review has been crossposted from my blog at The Cosy Dragon . Please head there for more in-depth reviews by me, which appear on a timely schedule.

    Dan Roberts is an underpaid freeelancer trying to survive pay-check to pay-check. After an interview that requires morning drinking and a club, he suddenly finds himself working for Former.ly, a social media network that only publishes content after the users’ deaths. When people close to him die, he wonders if there is something more sinister going on behind the scenes.

    This is a nifty concept that takes advantage of social media’s continual encroachment into our lives. Why not take it one more step so it hangs around after your death? After all, you’ll be gone and not able to see the inevitable fallout! But how do you sustain money into the business when all your users die?

    I actually thought that Former.ly could have worked! The more you learn about the background, the more positive you feel. At the same time, the secrets and turns that are revealed make Dan feel worse about working there. But what choice does he have?

    I liked the ending, particularly the way that there were no excuses made for anyone’s behaviour and thus being able to get out of the inevitable consequences of crime. I never felt a particular attachment to any of the characters, so when they died, I was more like ‘Yep, ok, now who’s next?’

    I was split between giving this novel 4 or 5 stars. It kept me reading, and I got so immersed in it that I was thinking about it all the time. At the same time, I don’t think there was quite enough depth for me to reread it.

  20. Rated 4 out of 5

    Bill Mackela

    Former.ly is a book about what happens behind the scenes at a new web startup. It is told in first person, from the point of view of Dan, who is hired as a developer at Former.ly. We see everything though his eyes. If he doesn’t see it, we don’t know about it until Dan hears about it.

    It can be difficult to tell a story in first person, but Dane Cobain does a pretty good job of it. He lets us become immersed in the activities at Former.ly. But sometimes the action suffers, since we only see what Dan sees. Dan isn’t an action hero, he is a coder, but he is suspicious, and tries to find out what is really going on around him. He starts to wonder why people are starting to die around him, so he tries to find out, and that’s where the problems begin.

    I enjoyed Former.ly. I think that Mr. Cobain has a big upside. He is an interesting guy. You should check out his website. http://danecobin.com. He writes stories, poetry, and music in addition to his longer works.

    I give Former.ly 4 Stars out of 5, and a Thumbs Up! If you want to give a young British writer a leg up, you should give Former.ly a shot.

    I received a Digital Review Copy from the author.

  21. Rated 3 out of 5

    Christy

    The start of this book was amazing, as it set up the plot well and the concept of the fictional social network was really intriguing (albeit morbid). As I got introduced to the characters, including Dan, Sarah, Flik, Peter, and John, I was excited by the tale ahead.

    Sadly, the tale’s centre felt drawn out and I craved a faster pace than I was given by author Dane Cobain. He wrote the start so well that I felt myself demanding more.

    The ending (no spoilers) held a few twists and I would have liked for them to be explored more. I also would have loved an extra chapter at the end to explore more of the changed Dan.

    I’m reading another book by the same author next and will review it too. He writes very clearly and the book is well edited so it’s a smooth read that way. Overall a good book that falls just a little short of its potential.

  22. Rated 4 out of 5

    Karen

    This book introduces you to Dan Roberts. Getting a job at Former.ly seems like a good idea – at first.

    With Former.ly, Dane Cobain has created a nerdy suspense story. It is a fun and quite compelling read, drawing you into the world of programmers and social network providers. Dan is a slightly naïve guy, trying to somehow do the right thing. Dane Cobain paints a clear picture of Dan’s mind while the story evolves. I was drawn into the IT environment – it is not as clichéd as you might think. Except Dan, the characters are rather one-dimensional; this does not hurt the story as it naturally is about Dan. The story has a nerdy character and a good flow.

    This is a book for you if you like nerdy environments combined with suspense, or simply enjoy a quite unusual style of suspense.

  23. Rated 4 out of 5

    Jessica Samuelson

    Dan is in need of a job and is lucky to land a job at a new start-up social media company called Former.ly. He has no idea that this new startup will take over his life. As he works for the company people involved start mysteriously dying. He gets suspicious and starts looking into what’s going on with the company. Will he be able to find the truth before anyone else gets hurt?

    In an Oyster Shell – This is a dark, thought-provoking read that gives you a glimpse into what social media can look like from the inside.

  24. Rated 4 out of 5

    Cassandra

    I recevied a complimentary copy.

    I took off one star because of they way the book is written, not because there is any lack in detail, but it was hard to get a whole view from one person’s perspective. The author clearly can write a range of mixed emotions and kept me interested throughout the story. It is a good light suspense entwined with a unique topic, so a very good read.

  25. Rated 5 out of 5

    Gemma Applegarth

    A really great read. This fast paced thriller expertly combines mystery with realistic and likeable characters. I found myself deeply involved with both the plot and its people. Dane manages to combine a unique idea with an appealing and addictive narrative.

  26. Rated 5 out of 5

    Jackie Baldwin

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book even though I am not remotely techie. The premise was fascinating and original and really got me boggling. I loved the satirical elements and feel that books like this can sometimes stop us in our tracks before we fall off a cliff. The environment at the ‘Start Up’ was very claustrophobic which increased the tensions between the characters. The air of menace increased steadily throughout and I found it hard to put down until the end. The character of Dan was well drawn as was the all consuming implacable nerd focus. A great read for those looking for something a little quirky and different.

  27. Rated 5 out of 5

    Amazon Customer

    A really great read. This fast paced thriller expertly combines mystery with realistic and likeable characters. I found myself I deeply involved with both the plot and its people. Dane manages to combine a unique idea with an appealing and addictive narrative.

  28. Rated 3 out of 5

    Rebecca S.

    I think there is a part of that blurb that is misleading – “Then, their posts are shared with the world, often with unexpected consequences”. Having read the book – I have absolutely no idea what this is supposed to refer to. Can someone please enlighten me? I can’t recall anything “shocking” published on the site.

    Former.ly is a social network designed for users to prepare memorials for after they are gone. Beginning in a small, grubby house and gradually growing into a state-of-the-art office with full security complement, the Company seems to be going from strength to strength, but what is driving this Company forward?

    The narrative within the book itself is well presented and there is enough mystery throughout to keep the reader gripped. When Dan starts at the Company, he knows very little about the work he is contributing to; he knows he is working out bugs in code, but not what it does. Other members of staff come and go and as Dan becomes more experienced, he is able to dig deeper using the trust he has gained. The pace at which the story unfolds is good, which helps the story to flow.

    If I am completely honest, I didn’t really understand Dan’s motivation to stay with the Company at all. Not only is he working such crazy hours that it affects his relationship, but his employers are also really shifty and mistrusting all the time! I know if that was me, I wouldn’t sit well with it. There are other characters that feel the same way I do, but I struggled to sympathise with Dan for one simple reason – he had plenty of warning signs to get out of that situation sooner. Sure, maybe he did want to get to the bottom of what was going on, but I just couldn’t put myself in his shoes. That’s an entirely personal thing – not a fault of the character himself.

    Overall, I rated the book three stars, as whilst the writing and the plot was good, I struggled to relate to the characters telling the story. I also didn’t feel that much depth with characters other than the MC either, which I would have expected since Dan et al spend almost all of the time in the office (yes, anti-social hours and weekends too)!

    It was an acceptable read, even if there were parts that weren’t entirely to my liking.

  29. Rated 5 out of 5

    Natalie Ann Redman

    Former.ly: The Rise and Fall of a Social Network speaks volumes in our current society where social media go hand in hand with our daily activities. Imagine a social network though where the dead remain alive. Confused?

    The network works a bit like Facebook, you write information about yourself and any inner thoughts you have that are kept private until you die. This is exactly what Former.ly is and Dan Roberts is the latest to join the start-up company in taking it to the next level. What I love about this story is that it’s pretty close to the truth. A quick search on Google tells me that since Facebook was conceived, they predict around 10-20 million people who created a Facebook profile have died. How morbid is that?! So this novel is definitely not as far-fetched as it seems. It also reminded me of the Black Mirror series on Netflix. For those who don’t know about this series, I highly recommend you give one or two of them a watch. This novel could easily be a film version of this series as it’s looking at social media from an extreme perspective.

    WHAT I LIKED…

    The whole story flows very effortlessly and at no point did I think that it was going off on a tangent or that I was starting to lose interest. The character of Dan doesn’t really have any strong motivations but I believe this is to focus more on the actual theme/plot of the novel. I also love how Cobain kept me questioning and thinking up until the very end.

    WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE…

    The climactic ending wasn’t as final and thrilling as I would have hoped it to be. It wasn’t disappointing but I would have preferred a little something else to the final few pages.

    Overall rating would be an 8/10. Great book and definitely the perfect gift for any book lover.

  30. Rated 4 out of 5

    Amazon Customer

    Former.ly by Dane Cobain is certainly a page turner as you long to figure out what the plot twist will be, and when it will happen. I found the story very easy to read, and it kept me gripped enough to keep turning the page.

    Dan Roberts enters a small start-up tech company, known as Former.ly, and becomes a key part as the company expands to a global level. A social networking site dedicated to the dead, which posts any updates the person privately made on the website before they died, by making the private posts public. But some shady business happens, and Dan is caught in the middle of it.

    First impressions: I really wanted to know what would happen to Dan, but I suspected the founders were part of this shady business to begin with. The ending was a bit of a plot twist, but again, I quite enjoyed seeing Dan deal with the consequences of his actions.

    What I liked: I liked how Dan was an obviously flawed character, like the detectives in crime novels, in which he’s a loner and purposefully doesn’t have anyone to be his weakness. I liked the realistic growth of the company, and seeing how the characters progressed with this growth. I liked how the story progressed, and built the tension up gradually, whilst drawing you in with the first line. I also liked that the story jumped to the relevant plot details, rather than filling in what had happened between those times. Personally, I liked how technical it sounded, because it showed the author knew what they were writing about, but if someone wasn’t in the know about computers and coding, it might not make sense in places to them.

    What I disliked: I’m all for character flaws, but having the founders and his girlfriend being erratic was a bit much. Surely the girlfriend could’ve just been fed up with the relationship and just left, because having her do what she did really felt like it was shoe horned in, regardless of whether it gave Dan a coincidental second chance or not. I felt, in places, the explanation could’ve been a little better, especially towards the end. The end, in a way, felt a bit rushed, and I would’ve liked to have seen more of the aftermath of what happened in prison, for example.
    The book itself was well written in that it was concise and built up tension, but I felt like sometimes it was too rushed or not explained well. However, I did enjoy reading it, and would recommend it to anyone who’d like a well thought out murder mystery.

    My rating: 4/5

  31. Rated 4 out of 5

    Amazon Customer

    I wish I could give this book 3.5 rating. It is a good read but has the potential for so much more. It kept me constantly wondering ‘What the hell is going on?’ but the ending could have been better. I think it explains ‘too much’ and all the excitment you feel throughout the book simply vanishes, leaving a ‘meh’ sort of feeling. Once you finish the book, it is done – You are not wondering what else can happen, you are not likely to give a second thought to the story and that is a shame. That obviously is my personal view and some people will not agree with this. You should read the book anyway.

  32. Rated 3 out of 5

    Nicedi

    The story was good, but I kept feeling like the characters were being glossed over… Like they hadn’t been fleshed out.

  33. Rated 5 out of 5

    Pardip Basra

    From Angels in his debut novella, Cobain takes us into the afterlife, digitised and repackaged for our social media obsessed era. Former.ly’s premise is clever and Cobain handles it with skill. There’s a shift in tone and pace that marks out this offering from the previous one. Whereas No Rest For The Wicked was somber and reflective, Former.ly bounces along gleefully and recklessly. A great thriller

  34. Rated 4 out of 5

    Clive Whitelock

    This is a gripping read and despite my knowing nothing about the world of computer technology I was driven by the plot and the characters to read as much in one go as I could. Ha! you say 4 stars and not 5! This is because it could and should have been longer. No sooner was I in the world of ‘Former.ly’ than I was obliged to leave it. Unfair I say! Nonetheless I do highly recommend it.

  35. Rated 5 out of 5

    Miss R Groves

    Throughly enjoyed this book. I’ve got quite a few of Dane Cobain’s books and this is by far my favourite.
    The characters are very well written and I found myself really caring about what happened to them, it left me wondering what was going to happen next.
    I got hooked on this book and after the half way point I couldn’t put it down until I finished it.

  36. Rated 4 out of 5

    Donna Woodings

    Took me a little while to get into the story probaby because I am not very computer literate. Once I did, I found the story unfolded at a good pace and I found it difficult to put down. Great idea for a story and certainly got me thinking about the implications

  37. Rated 5 out of 5

    Sarah Mcloughlin

    It’s not often that I can find the time to read a book, so when I do it needs to be a good one. Former.ly was just thrilling enough to keep me turning the page but not so much so that I had nightmares. I look forward to reading more from Dane Cobain.

  38. Rated 5 out of 5

    Gari Hart

    Great read! I enjoyed every page of this book. It grabbed me instantly and I couldn’t put it down the further I got into it. Well written with a story that feels both classical and fresh. Definitely looking forward to reading more from this Cobain.

  39. Rated 4 out of 5

    Bookwurm

    This was a very interesting book about what goes on behind the scenes of a startup web site. It is also a murder mystery. I liked the concept of the web site and the story was good, though it did get bogged down occasionally. I look forward to reading other books by this author. I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book, through Reading Deals, so I could give an honest review.

  40. Rated 5 out of 5

    Angela

    I enjoyed reading this book. I received the book from the author and less than a week later I am finished. It starts off kind slow, but then takes right off. The first night I had to make myself put it down on the night stand. The more I got into the book the more I found I had to know what was happening next.. There are several twist and turns throughout the book.

    Definitely will read more from Dane Cobain

  41. Rated 4 out of 5

    Shmurf

    The author doesn’t waste time getting right into it. Former.ly takes you on a thought tour, inside the mind of a web developer and company full of hopefuls who put up with too much for too long.

    Fans of business A to Z stories will enjoy this tale for what it is. And although a bit sloppy at times, the author does a solid job of wrapping things up in a way that makes sense at the end of the day.

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