In the violence- and pollution-stricken world of 1999, HIV-positive publisher Jack Finnegan is drawn into the seductive web of Leonard Thorpe, who possesses a magical elixir that cures Jack and transforms his world.
However, the rest of what makes a story into a novel is missing. The characters are lackluster (at best), having no real passion or direction, and gaining none as the story progresses. For a while I was truly enthralled by the read, one page pulling me into the next until I had burned through the first three hundred pages in as many minutes.
And then it died...not in a blast, or a convoluted plot twist, or even in any way that could be defined as heroic, romantic, philosophical, or otherwise. It faded as if it had never been. The story just seems to stop (like a car stalling silently on a fast highway) the story coasts in neutral for about 150 pages, flares like the engine sputtering to life for a heartbeat, (but not really) and then sliding onto the shoulder, making you wonder why you got in the car at all!
Even if you like the occasional anticlimactic plot twist, this takes the concept a step further, where the only characters who receive any sort of finality die in ignoble, boring ways. I am also a male reader, but unlike one of my fellow reviewers, I don't need a huge hollywood style ending.
I would, however, like an ACTUAL ending.
But let's face it: it didn't relate to a large group of people. I'm a guy, and I relate to guy books. No, it doesn't have to be all about explosions and wars (but that helps). I just like the book to mean something to me, and I guess I don't relate to Elizabeth Hand. I don't relate to the characters, and therefore I thought this book wasn't worth my time.
But maybe you'd like to pick it up and try it, I don't know. I don't recommend it. I didn't feel that sense of awe...you know, when you finish something that was really great and you have to reflect on it...that was missing. And I didn't really find it entertaining, either. I just didn't like it. But I did like the cover art (that's my weak spot), so I gave it two stars instead of one.
The world is divided as to how to deal with the man-made catastrophe. Some people believe that the apocalypse is now. They use drugs and other stimulation to revel in the final days of doom as they feast on the death throes of a dying civilization. While others like John struggle to keep the decaying world out of his enclave. This is the world entering what appears to be the final millennium.
This apocalyptic fiction is for hard-core fans of "end of the world" science fiction. Though well written and exciting, Elizabeth Hand paints a depressing picture of a future destroyed by scientific haughtiness. This novel is not for everyone, but those who enjoy reading about the planet Earth imploding need to peruse this tale of dread. The novel has a haunting quality that makes it near impossible to forget and a lyrical writing (in spite of its gloomy topic) that seems almost poetic in nature.