Cindy Dobrez in her review for Booklist said that "Doctorow’s novel blurs the lines between current and potential technologies, and readers will delight in the details of how Marcus attempts to stage a techno-revolution. Obvious parallels to Orwellian warnings and post-9/11 policies, such as the Patriot Act, will provide opportunity for classroom discussion and raise questions about our enthusiasm for technology, who monitors our school library collections, and how we contribute to our own lack of privacy." Kirkus Reviews described it as an "unapologetically didactic tribute to 1984", and called it a "Terrifying glimpse of the future—or the present." Publishers Weekly said that it was "filled with sharp dialogue and detailed descriptions of how to counteract gait-recognition cameras, RFID's (radio frequency ID tags), wireless Internet tracers and other surveillance devices, this work makes its admittedly didactic point within a tautly crafted fictional framework." Institute of Public Affairs says that "Doctorow, like many freedom-fighting writers before him likes his women smart and strong. Male or female, freedom-loving writers tend to like writing strong female characters, often protagonists."