Takeshi Kovacs resurfaces on his bleak home planet of Harlan's World in a novel which marks a terrific return to form for Richard Morgan after the rather disappointing Market Forces. Woken Furies mixes violent action, incredibly cool high-tech gadgetry and political philosophy in a story which is somewhat convoluted in its first two thirds but picks up and straightens out nicely later on. Great news for those of us who enjoy our futuristic toys, contains profanity and violence which may put off some. Has its thoughtful moments which lift the book well beyond the category of mere actioner. Highly recommended!
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106 of 111 people found the following review helpful
Better than a Micky Nozawa experia flickNov. 14 2005
John S. Ryan
- Published on Amazon.com
I'd been waiting for quite a while to read this third entry in Richard K. Morgan's series of Takeshi Kovacs novels. It was worth the wait, and in some respects it may be the best of the series so far. Tak travels through some dark, dark territory here.
Don't be fooled (or put off) by the pace. Where _Altered Carbon_ was a rapid series of body blows, _Woken Furies_ is more like being dragged down very slowly by a very large weight. There's a lot going on here, but quite a bit of it is in the background and between the lines. If you don't get into Tak's head pretty early on, the novel may read like a travelogue.
Not that that's necessarily _bad_. Probably a lot of us were curious about Harlan's World, and we get to see quite a bit of it here. We also finally get to put faces (the faces of their current sleeves, anyway) with some familiar names from Tak's past. All of that will probably be interesting enough to entertain the casual reader.
But if that's all you get out of this novel, then you're missing the meat of it.
The surface-level plot opens with Tak on Harlan's World in a synthetic sleeve, trying to get back into his own body. He's also, as we gradually discover, on some sort of mission, the details of which we don't really learn until some 250 pages in. And not too far into the tale, we meet someone who just _might_ turn out to be Quellcrist Falconer . . . or maybe not. Furthermore, Tak is being pursued by a younger version of himself, decanted from a backup copy he didn't know existed. Things build toward a final revelation with implications far, far beyond Quellism and the local politics of Harlan's World.
The pace, though, is generally slow. Oh, things do happen (and people start dying horribly within the first twenty-odd pages), but a lot of the action is off-screen. We spend the bulk of the novel the way we spent most of _Star Trek: The Motion Picture_: Going Somewhere.
The really interesting stuff, and the real, behind-the-narrative content of the novel, is what happens to Tak. I'm not going to give you any more clues about this; I'm just going to warn you to listen with both ears as those titular furies awaken and the possibilities of redemption come and go. There's a lot of internal turmoil going on here, and Tak isn't necessarily going to tell you about it directly. Hell, despite his Envoy training, I'm not sure he's even fully aware of all of it himself.
Readers who keep wanting recycled versions of _Altered Carbon_ will continue to be disappointed, as they were with _Broken Angels_; Morgan clearly isn't going to keep rewriting the same book for us. Now, me, I think that's a good thing.
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Ten stars, at least!Oct. 10 2005
Michael K. Smith
- Published on Amazon.com
It's always a delight to find an author who creates characters in three dimensions instead of the more usual two; Morgan seems to stretch his people to five or six. This is the third novel in the series about Takeshi Kovacs, ex-Envoy, stone killer, freelance renegade, and very dangerous man to be on the wrong side of. It's been three centuries, objective time, and Kovacs is back on Harlan's World, where he originally came from. It's also been a couple of centuries since the Resettlement, the failed Quellist revolution that gave the Harlan family oligarchy a run for its money, and Kovacs -- who only wants to continue killing fundamentalist priests (it's personal) -- finds himself caught up, first, in the attempt to reclaim the nanoware-drenched continent the revolution produced, and, later, in a new revolutionary plot. Because it's part of Quell's teachings, that when things go against you, you retreat and you wait -- for generations, if necessary. But now, just maybe, Quellquist Falconer might be back, in the flesh. But that's just this novel's top-level plot. There's also Kovacs's vendetta against those who let die the only woman who mattered to him -- Real Death, no resleeving. And there's his longstanding relationships with the several criminal cultures of Harlan's World, and with his old Envoy trainer. Not to even mention being hunted by a younger, smart-assed version of himself. And, just out of sight, there are the vanished Martians, about whom we learned a lot in Morgan's second book, Broken Angels. There's military and political philosophy here, all of it cynical, there's imaginative anthropology, there's a certain amount of gruff sex, there are some great quotes, there's considerable death (some deserved, some not), and there are breath-grabbing battle scenes like you haven't read in years. Morgan's second Kovacs novel was twice as good as his first. This one is three times as good as his second. If this one doesn't win both the Hugo and the Nebula, there's no justice. But, hey -- Kovacs already knows that.
PS -- I was astonished a previous reviewer compared this to Bester's _The Stars My Destination_. A great book, don't get me wrong (I even own a First Edition copy of it), but Gully Foyle is pretty and pale and poetic beside the dark and blistering Takeshi Kovacs!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Maybe I'm just getting oldJune 22 2011
Shane M. Mcgough
- Published on Amazon.com
But this book just didn't hold my attention. About halfway through I skipped to the end to find out what happens.
I loved Altered Carbon, and liked Broken Angels, but couldn't get into this book. I enjoyed Thirteen also, and am half way through Market Forces, which is 'ok'. (A friend of mine is a big fan of Morgan's and loaned me the books) Every character is like a bristling rabid animal. Everyone is over the top, and I guess it just gets tiring. It sometimes feels that people get angry and there is tension... but there isn't much reason for the tension to be there. Or at least, not enough reason for there to be SO much tension and anger in the scene. Not much happens in the first half of the book, maybe it got better in the second half but I just couldn't keep reading.
Compare Kovacs to say... Tony Soprano from the Sopranos. One of the interesting things about the show was that Tony would be happy and smiling and jovial for part of a scene, and then in an instant 'turn gangsta' and you would see his dark side.
Kovacs just broods a lot and is ultra serious in every scene. You would think after a few hundred years of life that people would mellow out a bit, but apparently for some teenage angst just never goes away. For an example, there is the scene where Kovacs is going to rent a boat and is talking to a kid (son of the captain of the boat) and gets angry with him because the kid is apparently more involved in his virtual world/matrix style life than real life. Kovacs is over the top as usual, but again, you would think someone with as much life experience as he has would just smile and shrug and maybe try to give the kid some advice. Getting *emotional* over it seems a bit ... melodramatic. Which is typical of the whole book, and really my main gripe with Morgan's writing overall.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
I'd give 6 stars if I couldSept. 29 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
I have to admit, I'm hooked. I can't get enough of Richard Morgan's distopian future. I was so eager to read Woken Furies that I arranged to get a copy from Great Britain (because it was released months earlier than in the US). I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Like Altered Carbon and Broken Angels, it treats you to a highly-charged whirlwind of a story centered on the activities of Takeshi Kovacs.
In this episode, a Yakuza family have hired an earlier version of himself to track him down. Complicating matters are a personal vendetta against a particularly vicious religious group, and a woman who may (or may not) be a re-embodied revolutionary named Quellcrist Falconer.
I don't want to give too much away, but I will say that you see more of Kovacs' humanity than in previous novels. NOT that Woken Furies is a "group-hug" kind of book. Far from it. In fact, Kovacs seems even more violent and misanthropic than in the first two books. However, we understand "why" a bit more and we see more of the effects 2 centuries of war and crime have had on him.
Kovacs has firmly established himself as my new favorite literary character. As in his other 2 Takeshi Kovacs novels, Richard Morgan gives us a character of suprising depth and humanity that is still capable of incredible savagery; in addition to a perfectly-realized vision of a future in which technology hasn't eliminated war or crime, but has grown with it.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Opportunity MissedAug. 29 2009
Alvin J. Daniel
- Published on Amazon.com
First, the things I thought were well done 1) Slick, terrific prologue. Sets the stage for fireworks to come. 2) Some great concepts. The decom idea is fantastic (Jurassic Park for war machines), or battling with your younger self.
I wanted to like this book, having read altered carbon and its sequel. But it falls flat on characterization, and I even prefer action to characterization in my novels. He spends 100 pages developing a core group of characters only to have them go poof with nothing more than a cursory one-liner from another character about their fates. The main story motivations for the protagonist like why he wants revenge on the church, or why he becomes angry with the neo-Quellists both turn on two barely characterized individuals (Sarah and Isa). Why are they so important? Here was material for gripping reading, but he only spends 1-2 paragraphs on each, completely out of proportion to how much impact they have on the protagonists actions. Midway through the book, yet another core group of characters get introduced. Do I care at this point? Will they suffer the same one-line fate as the first group? Really, they exist simply as props. Even the antagonists are simply not characterized. There are almost no immediate scenes with them.
Even the main attraction, the battle with his younger self is wasted. Again, this would seem to be material for intense dialog and action. Instead they trade a few barbed quips with each other at the few points when they actually do meet, hardly the stuff of drama.
There are other problems, like too much authorial intrusion to provide social commentary. I wouldn't mind if there was a gripping story, but without one I found myself skipping swaths of text to get back to the main thread.
Unfortunately, as much as I enjoyed his earlier books I don't think I will be going back to this author. There are simply too many other good reads out there.