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Vienna Blood [Paperback]

2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

2.4 out of 5 stars
2.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Too bad Dec 1 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Ouch. This is a case where all the main ingredients necessary for a solid book - a combination of interesting premise, characters, plot and setting along with an obviously intelligent author - seem to be in place, yet the result is hardly worth a reader's time. In particular, the main shortcomings of Vienna Blood are:
1) The author's stilted writing style. Mathews' choice of words seems entirely at odds with the story he is trying to tell, and serves only to annoy the reader.
2) Poor use of Vienna as the novel's setting. The description of the city often consists of little more than place-name-dropping (This, incidentally, is often marred by typographical errors, especially in the second half of the book, when it seems as if the editors have also lost interest. Actually, this is too bad, since Mathews' writing definitely improves as the Vienna Blood goes on). To this he adds rehashes of old quotations about the Viennese mentality. It is hard to shake the impression that the author does not know the city as intimately as he would like to have the reader believe.
3) The lack of a credible futuristic atmosphere. Certainly, there are all sorts of techno-gadgets and glimpses of life in 2026-27, but nearly all of the cultural references made by Vienna Blood's characters are to people, places and events of the 20th century. These characters, therefore, come across as likely inhabitants of the present day, not the 2020s, destroying whatever suspension of disbelief has been built up.
Unfortunately, these shortcomings are rather major, making it impossible to recommend Vienna Blood. While not a complete disaster, there are far better and more satisfying ways to spend an evening.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Heavily overrated Nov. 24 2000
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
R917L@aol.com aus Köln, Deutschland Good beginning--but the plot falls apart Vienna Blood begins very promisingly, with rich description and an intriguing premise, but the plot disintegrates in the last third. Vienna Blood ultimately fails to live up to its initial promise, as an intriguing premise falls apart in the later stages of the story, leaving a lot of potential unrealized. Instead of questioning the morality of genetic and racial engineering, Mathews plumps for a pat ending where, suddenly, every villian turns out to be not so bad after all, leaving an unpleasant aftertaste lingering with the obligatory happy end that seems to endorse the very premise the author purports to attack. Given a re-write or two, this might have been a brilliant book, but, as it is, it seems to be a near-miss at best.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Overwrought and overrated June 23 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A columnist in Vienna gets pulled into a possibly murder by the pregnant wife of a man he only met once. Genetic mystery set in the future, full of intrigue and politics.
I found the language irritatingly florid-- Mathews seemed to be writing from some obscure rule that required using the most obscure word possible for any given possibility. And I can't imagine that I was the only person who found the ending quite distasteful-- what exactly was he trying to say?
Some nice Vienna atmosphere, but unless you're really bored, I'd skip this one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Used as biotechnological narrative March 15 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In his article, Ethnographic Critique and Technoscientific Narratives: The old mole, ethical plateaux, and the governance of emergent biosocial polities, in Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry (25: 355-93. 2001)Michael M.J. Fischer uses this book as a juxtaposition to ethnographic descriptions of bio-ethical realties. It's rather interesting and may possibly add some insight into the novel
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2.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't get into it Sept. 30 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The characters and plot didn't compel me to get more than 1/4 of the way into the book. While the tone of the novel is cyber-punkish or noir-ish, that alone wasn't enough to keep me going.
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