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Showing 1-2 of 2 reviews(3 star). Show all reviews
on May 26, 2005
I just finished this novel last night - and it left me with a feeling that the best has yet to come from Neal Asher.
Many interesting ideas were introduced and Asher's 'Polity' promises to be a great backdrop for many future novels - likewise the main character Ian Cormac is interesting and complex enough to star in many more adventures. For me there were two things that kept it from scoring higher than 3 stars. What follows will not spoil the plot if you have yet to read the novel - however if you would rather dive in without knowing what to expect (like I do)I'd skip the rest of this review, and just buy the book - it is well worth the read.
Firstly, the theme of Cormac being separated from the grid was never fully explored later in the book. I would have liked to see this continued throughout the novel. Asher seems to forget about it half way through and focuses on Cormac as "action hero" rather than "social misfit with no humanity". Pity.
Secondly, there are 2 main plotlines and 1 tiny one which never really crossover in a way that makes sense. The revenge theme just wraps up too easily for my tastes and never connects with The Maker storyline as I hoped it would. The Stanton story ended very poorly and added nothing to the novel for me - a real shame since Stanton was a great character - I was hoping for some real interaction between him and Cormac more than just the "why choose a life of crime" conversation they have that lasts for thirty seconds.
In the end though I thought this book was quite good and I will definitely read his other novels. I would sum up his style as half way between the noir-action of Richard Morgan (Altered Carbon) and the space opera of Alistair Reynolds (Revelation Space) - both great British Sci-Fi writers who I would choose over Asher, but then again why waffle? Just read all three and don't forget to read Iain M. Banks' culture novels as well while you're at it!
-- Ryan Buckley
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on July 19, 2005
Like the reviewer below, I had some issues with the character development and treatments in this book. Asher sets up his principal character, Ian Cormac, to be a type of futuristic 007-meets-Indiana-Jones. Yet, while he spends a great deal of time in the first 1/3 of the book dealing with Cormac's inner world, I agree with the other reviewer that the treatment of Cormac's gridlink exclusion and its effects on him was rather glossed over in the last 2/3 of the novel, odd considering the title of the work. However, I got a sense early on that this book was setting up characters, technology and worlds that would re-appear later in other works, which of course I now know to be the case, as I've also read Line of Polity.
Asher seems overly enamored of twenty-dollar words when five-dollar ones would suffice. I don't believe hard sci-fi needs to be so obdurate in its word choices - he sometimes uses obscure or almost archaic English in places. While some might excuse this of him as he is British, I've spent enough time in the UK with British intellectuals to know this isn't a universal trait.
Overall, this was an enjoyable enough summer sci-fi read that I also have consumed his other books, but I don't think he's yet on par with his peers, such as Richard Morgan. All the same, I will keep reading his works.
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